Louis Villaume

Louis Villaume, a lifelong Minnesotan, has been a Vikings fan since the late 1960s. He's also the seventh grade football coach in Rockford and works with the school's varsity team.

Villaume: Ponder or Cassel?

Posted by: Louis Villaume Updated: September 25, 2013 - 8:04 PM

Six NFL teams have started the 2013 season 0-3. Many of the names are shockers, like the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Giants and the Washington Redskins. Some are not, like the Jacksonville Jaguars. Our Minnesota Vikings lie somewhere in-between.

There are nine teams that have a worse point differential than Minnesota. In fact, the Houston Texans are only three points better, yet they are 2-1. The three losses have been close. In each game Minnesota appeared to have a legitimate chance to win. Final touchdown drives have been the nail in the coffin in back-to-back weeks. 

These games that could have gone our way did not. Blame is to be had. First on fans' lists is Christian Ponder, the 3rd year quarterback who has plainly struggled this season. Ponder currently ranks 30th among quarterbacks in passer rating with a 65.9 (that is really bad). Only rookie Geno Smith of the Jets, injured Brandon Weeden of the Browns, and the deposed Josh Freeman of the Bucs are lower. That is unacceptable.

A look at the other quarterbacks struggling this year is an impressive one. Outside of the top twenty best QBs ratings includes: Robert Griffin III, Joe Flacco, Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Palmer, Eli Manning, and Colin Kaepernick. There is not a single soul in Minnesota who would not want to trade for any of these quarterbacks over Ponder. And yet they are not playing well. For example, Kaepernick and Brady have virtually the same yards per game as Ponder.

But 0-3 is 0-3. Fans are not willing to wait for Ponder. They want someone else.

That someone will be Matt Cassel. 

If Cassel is given the helm because of Ponder's "rib injury", it may provide an immediate spark. Cassel has more experience, and will probably see the field better than the young Ponder. Add to that the all important return of Jerome Felton and Minnesota might have enough impetus to finally close out a game. Being that this 'home' game is in London, and the Steelers are also 0-3, a lot of national attention will be placed on this game that otherwise might not. One of these teams will be 0-4.

I cannot help but be skeptical that replacing Ponder is the solution.

It was only a few months ago that many fans were screaming for Joe Webb and then there was the playoff game in Green Bay. One difference, Matt Cassel has taken two teams to the playoffs, which is very un-Webb like. Cassel learned under Tom Brady, and must still be in some contact with him, because it was Brady who recently leaked that Cassel may start.

Cassel also led a lesser team to the playoffs in the Chiefs. Unfortunately, Cassel's magic ran out and he was booed much like Ponder is now.

Short-term, playing Cassel seems to be the right move. Maybe the offensive line will start to care more about their quarterback's welfare, as after the Browns game that is unclear? Maybe the defense will hold an opponent under thirty points? Maybe the coach will know the rules and help the officials that do not? Maybe the other coaches will prepare for trick plays? 

But long-term things look bad. The offensive line that was supposed to be one year better, is not. The linebacker trio had been a step short on most plays. Special teams have not been very special, save for a single Cordarrelle Patterson return. Coach Leslie Frazier does not have the fans feeling confident, and now it appears the players feel the same. Even the defensive secondary looked bad last Sunday, mostly after Chris Cook's early exit. This despite three interceptions of the Browns' newly 29th-passer-rating-ranked Brian Hoyer.

Times are not good. A change must be made soon, or at least a concession.

Here's to hoping Felton make Adrian Peterson feel like Superman again.

Skol.

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Houston 23 FINAL
Pittsburgh 30
San Diego 10/23/14 7:25 PM
Denver
Detroit 10/26/14 8:30 AM
Atlanta
Buffalo 10/26/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
St. Louis 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Houston 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Minnesota 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Seattle 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Baltimore 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Miami 10/26/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Chicago 10/26/14 12:00 PM
New England
Philadelphia 10/26/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Oakland 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Cleveland
Indianapolis 10/26/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh
Green Bay 10/26/14 7:30 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 98 FINAL
Cleveland 107
New Orleans 88 FINAL
Washington 84
Milwaukee 120 FINAL
New York 107
Philadelphia 88 FINAL
Brooklyn 99
Charlotte 114 FINAL
Atlanta 117
Sacramento 99 FINAL
San Antonio 106
Memphis 103 FINAL
Dallas 108
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Arkansas State 7:00 PM
Louisiana
Connecticut 10/23/14 6:00 PM
(18) East Carolina
Miami-Florida 10/23/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
So Florida 10/24/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 10/24/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
BYU 10/24/14 8:00 PM
Boise State
(6) Oregon 10/24/14 9:00 PM
California
North Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Rice
UAB 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Arkansas
Rutgers 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
Maryland 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Wisconsin
Texas 10/25/14 11:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
Minnesota 10/25/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Memphis 10/25/14 11:00 AM
SMU
North Carolina 10/25/14 11:30 AM
Virginia
San Jose St 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Navy
Northern Ill 10/25/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
(25) UCLA 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Akron 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Ball State
Massachusetts 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Toledo
Ohio U 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Western Mich
Ga Southern 10/25/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Kent State 10/25/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Oregon State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Stanford
Fla Atlantic 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(23) Marshall
Louisiana Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(1) Miss State 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Georgia Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Pittsburgh
(22) West Virginia 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(10) TCU
Michigan 10/25/14 2:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Boston College 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Central Mich 10/25/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo
Vanderbilt 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Old Dominion 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Western Ky
UNLV 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Utah State
Temple 10/25/14 4:00 PM
UCF
(15) Arizona 10/25/14 5:00 PM
Washington St
Texas-El Paso 10/25/14 6:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Wyoming 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Colorado State
Syracuse 10/25/14 6:00 PM
(21) Clemson
Texas State 10/25/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(3) Ole Miss 10/25/14 6:15 PM
(24) LSU
(4) Alabama 10/25/14 6:30 PM
Tennessee
So Carolina 10/25/14 6:30 PM
(5) Auburn
(13) Ohio State 10/25/14 7:00 PM
Penn State
(20) USC 10/25/14 9:00 PM
(19) Utah
(14) Arizona State 10/25/14 9:45 PM
Washington
Nevada 10/25/14 10:59 PM
Hawaii
Montreal 10/24/14 5:30 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 10/24/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Hamilton 10/25/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/25/14 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

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