Alright, we are approaching the end of the third week of the preseason and with that; we all will get too witness and hopefully enjoy this Sunday's primetime exhibition rematch of week three where the Vikings this time will travel to San Francisco to play last year's second best team; the 49ers. The 49ers in many eyes are already much more superior than the Ravens now though, and won't give much thought to this game against Minnesota even though Minnesota convincingly defeated San Francisco in the last meeting in the regular season. (And for the record; Minnesota and San Francisco's all time record is exactly even, and the preseason record will be too if Minnesota can manage to pull out there first win of the preseason this year).
When looking at this 49ers' team; it is a lethal one, and seemingly even more so now than last year. I was speaking with a couple of 9er fans last night I met at a local bar. (And yeah, they are as die hard as most of us, the guy's wife has the 9ers' logo tattooed on her leg). It is nice to speak with individuals that are true fans of the game that respect the game and players and are educated thoroughly as well. So many times I've been exposed to the 'your team sucks because they just suck, and my team is great well because uh, I like them.' And I just can't communicate with those types and yes I know we have our fair share in our fanbase as well, but one thing that was revealed to me, and I take people by their word until proven differently, is that Keapernick(I know I misspelled his name), apparently has put on some 40 pounds for the obvious same reason as Christian Ponder had put on his extra close to thirty pounds last off season, and for his sake I hope Ponder has added even more. Though, I thought-wow 40 lbs; if he did indeed do that, of course that reveals he is a lot more serious and mature than I had previously thought of him. And to be honest; most of the running quarter backs we are witnessing of late, in my opinion are little more than flash in the pans and cannot remain successful in the long term. And that is all of them in my opinion. I do not believe Newton(although I am very impressed by how far he can throw the ball), RG3, Wilson or even yes Keapernick can ever have long term success once there is one year of film for the entire league to study their play and the only way for any of them to have any real impact in their overall careers will be inside of that pocket and the fact of the matter is; I think I would have already seen more of that from them if they all were indeed capable of being or becoming some of the elite passers in the league. The closest thing to be a somewhat proven success is Micheal Vick, and his career has been up and down to say the least, and have not seen anything out of any of the newer mobile QBs that indicates any of them will ever be as good or even better than Vick; if I had to put money on any of them though; it would be Cam Newton, but I would still rather have a more traditional pocket passer. Maybe I'm wrong, we will all see, but to sum it all up; I think we all have witnessed the best year we will ever see out RG3 in the NFL last year in his rookie season.
So, now what abut our own? Here we are, two years later with Ponder entering his third year and none of us can say, 'yes, Ponder is our guy,' only the 'I think' and 'well, if,' comments can be heard echoing almost redundantly, trying to convince ourselves he is indeed our guy. This is something I do not want to write, but the first half of the game against the 49ers Sunday is likely going to tell us exactly what we have in Ponder and what he is going to be for pretty much his entire career, whether how short, or long. It has been very disappointing this preseason, and we all can sugarcoat it all we want with, 'well, it's preseason,' but it really is discouraging to see absolutely no progress whatsoever from Ponder at all. Nothing in his poise, accuracy or leadership, and for me to hold out anymore hope that he will indeed become more than even average in his career; I will have to see Christian Ponder put up 200 yards, 2 TDs, 0 Ints against one of the, if not the best defense in the league and make them pay for cheating up on the line, loading the box and blitzing repeatedly-yes, that is the basic formula to beat us, and will be used by every team week after week until Ponder and the Vikings expose that specific strategy, or another quarter back whether Cassle, MBT(whom I feel has a good argument for second string), or someone else. There is no other option, and I have to see this from Ponder tomorrow night for me to believe that he still at least has a chance to be that 'QBOTF' for the Minnesota Vikings.
We all know what's coming, San Francisco knows and in a primetime game-which the Vikings have also had a lot of difficulty doing well in for the past several years,everyone watching knows that San Francisco's defense is going to load the box, send numerous blitz packages and not just dare, but make Ponder either beat them with what skill he has as an NFL quarter back or take sack after sack, throw the ball away and only complete checkdowns to receivers that could bail out his stats by padding them with yards after the catch. If Ponder is our guy; I have to see him throw for 200 yards, 2 TDs and ZERO Ints in the face of adversity in this meaningless exhibition game, because to me, it is meaningless as far as our record for the 2013 season, but this outing could be one of the biggest games of Ponder's entire life. I believe he will either rise up in spite of the micromanaging of Bill Musgrave to face arguably the league's most dangerous defense and become the leader he has the capability to be and lead this team to the most exciting and best statistical half of the preseason, or we will see basically what we have last week and the week before. I really hope he can and will light it up and finally acquire the confidence in himself and in turn his teammates will subsequently look to him as this team's undisputed leader because I really do not want Monday to become another day of 'well, the O-line,' or 'the friggin' OC,' or 'well, if this, or if that,' that is over and done; we will know by halftime Sunday night who Christian Ponder really is. We already have a team that can make it to the playoffs without a quarterback; we need a quarterback that will take us to the Super Bowl.