Hartman: Gannon experienced QB controversy, too

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 24, 2013 - 12:54 AM

Rich Gannon knows what Ponder, Cassel and Freeman are feeling, having gone through it before with the Vikings.

Former Vikings quarterback Rich Gannon went through a similar three-quarterback situation when he used to play here, just as Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and Josh Freeman are dealing with it now. The NFL MVP in 2002 and four-time Pro Bowler made it clear in a recent conversation that the situation is far from ideal.

Now that Freeman has suffered a concussion and might be out for some time, the Vikings are down to two healthy quarterbacks, and Ponder will get another chance to start and see how good he can be.

“You hate to go into a season and you’re only six games into it and you’re on your third different quarterback,” said Gannon, who does color commentary on Sunday CBS NFL games, before the Vikings’ 23-7 loss to the Giants on Monday Night Football. “I would tell you that I’ve done some of Freeman’s games over the years, and at times he has looked really good and at times he has had his problems. The thing with Freeman is he has to be able to avoid the four or five bad plays that creep into his game.”

Gannon talked about when he went through similar turmoil with the Vikings.

“You know, it’s tough [being in that situation],” he said. “I was with Wade Wilson and I was with Sean Salisbury, and a bunch of different guys. A couple seasons it wasn’t so much Salisbury, it was Wade and I. Then in 1992 when Denny Green came in, I was the starter for the first 11 games and then I was sat down for Salisbury.

“The problem is that, [former NFL coach and analyst] John Madden used to say, ‘If you have two quarterbacks, you don’t have one,’ ” Gannon said. “I was talking to Matt [Cassel] the other day and he said, ‘If you have three quarterbacks, you don’t have one.’ That’s the problem right now.”

But with Freeman out, it’s clear that if Ponder plays well, he will shut up all of the media types who have said his career in Minnesota is over.

Need leadership

The Vikings have to hope Ponder can step in and take some stress off the rest of the team and the coaching staff by being a reliable option at quarterback. Otherwise, as Gannon pointed out, the season will continue to spiral downward.

“It’s a mess,” he said. “If you don’t have a quarterback that can play for 16 weeks, it’s hard. If you go back and look at statistics, teams that have had multiple quarterbacks have a much more difficult time making the playoffs than a team that starts Week 1 and goes through Week 17 with the same quarterback. The numbers bear that out.”

Gannon said that after being part of QB controversies in Minnesota and Kansas City, there was never any doubt who the starter was once he got to Oakland in 1999 and he flourished.

“We won three straight AFC West titles, we went to two AFC Championship Games and we went to a Super Bowl,” he said. “You have to [have one quarterback]. You have to have a guy that … the team believes in, that gives you production and consistency each week. If you don’t, it’s too hard to make a living in this business.

“They just run guys off. They run players off, they run coaches off, they run general managers off. If you can’t get the quarterback position right, just look around the league. Every team that fires head coaches, they don’t have a quarterback and that’s a telltale sign. You better get that thing figured out or you’re going to have people out of work.”

Sizing up the two QBs

Gannon was asked to compare Freeman and Ponder.

“I remember talking to [Jets coach] Rex Ryan when Freeman was a rookie,” he said, “and Rex Ryan said that he reminded him of [Steelers quarterback] Ben Roethlisberger: big, strong, he can be physical, good mobility, throws the ball down the field, but he has been inconsistent.”

And what does Ponder need to do to regain control of the team?

“I think he hasn’t taken the steps that they thought he would,” Gannon said. “When you go from year one to year two, you see growth. Then the way he finished last year when they won four in a row and he played some of his best football, and I think people thought you’d see that carry over into this season and it didn’t happen. Unfortunately we don’t have the patience that we did back in the ’60s and the ’70s and even the ’80s. Once the salary cap came around and the rookie wage scale, we draft these kids and if they don’t work after a couple of years, heck, we just kick them to the curb and we find somebody else.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Kansas City - LP: B. Finnegan 4 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 11
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
Washington 10/27/14 7:30 PM
Dallas
New Orleans 10/30/14 7:25 PM
Carolina
Buffalo 2 FINAL
San Jose 1
Boston 4 FINAL
Toronto 1
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
Montreal 3
New Jersey 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Dallas 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 7
Detroit 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Chicago 2 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL
Nashville 0
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Minnesota 7
Florida 1 FINAL(OT)
Arizona 2
Washington 3 FINAL
Calgary 1
So Florida 17 FINAL
Cincinnati 34
Troy 13 FINAL
South Alabama 27
BYU 30 FINAL
Boise State 55
(6) Oregon 59 FINAL
California 41
North Texas 21 FINAL
Rice 41
UAB 17 FINAL
Arkansas 45
Rutgers 24 FINAL
(16) Nebraska 42
Maryland 7 FINAL
Wisconsin 52
Texas 0 FINAL
(11) Kansas State 23
Minnesota 24 FINAL
Illinois 28
Memphis 48 FINAL
SMU 10
North Carolina 28 FINAL
Virginia 27
San Jose St 31 FINAL
Navy 41
Northern Ill 28 FINAL
Eastern Mich 17
(25) UCLA 40 FINAL
Colorado 37
Akron 21 FINAL
Ball State 35
Massachusetts 35 FINAL
Toledo 42
Ohio U 21 FINAL
Western Mich 42
Ga Southern 69 FINAL
Georgia State 31
Kent State 3 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 10
Oregon State 14 FINAL
Stanford 38
Fla Atlantic 16 FINAL
(23) Marshall 35
Louisiana Tech 31 FINAL
Southern Miss 20
(1) Miss State 45 FINAL
Kentucky 31
Georgia Tech 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 28
(22) West Virginia 34 FINAL
Oklahoma State 10
Texas Tech 27 FINAL
(10) TCU 82
Michigan 11 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 35
Boston College 23 FINAL
Wake Forest 17
Central Mich 20 FINAL
Buffalo 14
Vanderbilt 14 FINAL
Missouri 24
Old Dominion 51 FINAL
Western Ky 66
UNLV 20 FINAL
Utah State 34
Temple 14 FINAL
UCF 34
(15) Arizona 59 FINAL
Washington St 37
Texas-El Paso 34 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 0
Wyoming 31 FINAL
Colorado State 45
Syracuse 6 FINAL
(21) Clemson 16
Texas State 22 FINAL
ULM 18
(3) Ole Miss 7 FINAL
(24) LSU 10
(4) Alabama 34 FINAL
Tennessee 20
So Carolina 35 FINAL
(5) Auburn 42
(13) Ohio State 31 FINAL
Penn State 24
(20) USC 21 FINAL
(19) Utah 24
(14) Arizona State 24 FINAL
Washington 10
Nevada 6 3rd Qtr 10:30
Hawaii 10
(2) Florida State 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 10/30/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Memphis
Purdue 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(16) Nebraska
(17) Oklahoma 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa State
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(11) Kansas State
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:00 AM
(22) West Virginia
Texas 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Texas Tech
Northwestern 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Iowa
Maryland 11/1/14 2:00 AM
Penn State
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(18) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Texas State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico St
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
(20) USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(5) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(3) Ole Miss
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(1) Miss State
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(6) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(7) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(15) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(19) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(14) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Los Angeles 0 FINAL
Seattle 2
D.C. 1 FINAL
Montreal 1
Toronto FC 0 FINAL
New England 1
Portland 2 FINAL
FC Dallas 0
Colorado 0 FINAL
Vancouver FC 1
Montreal 23 FINAL
Ottawa 17
Saskatchewan 27 FINAL
Calgary 40
Hamilton 24 FINAL
Toronto 26
Brt Columbia 28 FINAL
Winnipeg 23
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

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

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings do Sunday in Tampa Bay?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close