We have done a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth in VikingsLand about the quarterback situation over the last couple to thirty years. I think the last QB the Vikings had that most everyone really liked was Fran Tarkenton, just sayin'.
And since Daunte Culpepper got traded to Miami, the Vikings QB position has been, with the exception of 2009, pretty much a train wreck. Now, we have two guys that are vying to be the future face of the franchise, and how they do Thursday will largely determine who will be the primary back up to Donovan McNabb in 2011. Kent Youngblood of the Strib reports that Christian Ponder will start on Thursday, with Joe Webb getting plenty of time as well.
And you know what?
It doesn't matter who the #2 guy is coming out of pre-season. Let me 'splain, after the jump.
As most of you know, the NFL has changed the rule this year regarding the third, or 'emergency' quarterback. In years past, if the team had to insert the third quarterback, it was because the first two guys were hurt, and neither of them could return to the game, unless the emergency quarterback was hurt and unable to continue.
Well, that was a stupid rule, and the NFL changed it. Now, if you bring the third guy in, the other two can come come back in whenever the coach wants to do so. So that means, Washington Redskins fans, you'll see approximately 46 quarterbacks roll through your team this year, probably six a game or so. It'll be fun, really. Well, for us it will be.
But I get off point too easily. So what this means for the VIkings is that it really doesn't matter how the Vikings construct their depth behind Donovan McNabb this season, and when they name either Webb or Ponder the #2 guy, let's not have a civil war break out between Team Spiderman and Team Ponder, okay?
Frankly, I really like both guys. In my opinion, Webb should be the #2 guy, because I really think the Vikings are working on some exciting packages that will utilize his freakish ability. I mean, think about this for just a second--as a fanbase, we've been wetting our pants with excitement over the playcalling of our new offensive coordinator.
In the pre-season.
The pre-season. Where all teams run are straight up vanilla packages. If we're this fired up over an empty backfield shotgun formation from the 2, imagine what Bill Musgrave is cooking up in his mad scientist laboratory with Webb's skill set:
If that's the case, I would think Webb would be the #2 guy by default as he would naturally see the field more, no? And that's not a bad thing for Ponder, either. I am of the opinion that the only way you get better is by doing something, and not watching somebody else do it, but the latter strategy worked well for Aaron Rodgers, so it does work.
But really, at this point, it's just a number. If McNabb gets hurt...and with his track record of injuries, that's not out of the realm of possibility...Webb could easily slide into the #2 role. Or, if the Vikings have a ridiculous mismatch with Webb out of the Wildcat, they can throw Ponder in and keep Webb's set of plays untouched, and keep that part of the gameplan in, if, for example, they had Webb lined up wide or something.
The new rule gives the Vikings options, and that's a good thing.
The bottom line for me in all of this is twofold: Both Ponder and Webb want to win the job, but they're also being good teammates about it, and whoever loses will be gracious in defeat and help the other guy as best as he can.
And moving forward, the quarterback position is in good shape long term.
Whoever that may be.