Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC North [Print without images]

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
ChatWrap: Christian Ponder's uneven camp

By Kevin Seifert

Tuesday's SportsNation chat turned into a spirited, mostly healthy exchange of ideas, and in some cases differences of opnion, on what I've written thus far about Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder in training camp.

My simple intent was to write what I saw without making any final, long-range conclusions. Over the first three days of camp, Ponder had enough inaccurate throws to merit a portion of coverage. Some of you agreed. Others thought I was manufacturing a trend.

I'll have more in my official Camp Confidential later this week. For a preview, here is h how the Ponder discussion went in Tuesday's chat:

Droog (McCanada)

Do you think there is really an open competition between Ponder or Cassel? Do you foresee Cassell being the started for the season opener if Ponder continues to look shaky in practices?

Kevin Seifert (2:21 PM)

No. It is not a competition. Cassel's role is to be there in case Ponder is either hurt or so ineffective that he merits a benching. Neither is the case to this point. My points on Ponder have been not that he was terrible, but that he still has these wild ups and downs where he makes some great throws and then some throws NFL quarterbacks shouldn't make. Can't have that.

Doc (Montana)

You hear some players have huge work ethic and others not so much. How about Ponder

Kevin Seifert (2:23 PM)

I don't think work ethic is the issue. It's accuracy.

Gator Hater (The North)

You said "... he still has these wild ups and downs where he makes some great throws and then some throws NFL quarterbacks shouldn't make." If this were the $64,000 Pyramid starring Dick Clark, I would guess the category you were describing is "Things you say about bad quarterbacks". Simply stated, bad quarterbacks make more good throws than good quarterbacks make bad throws.

Kevin Seifert (2:34 PM)

To me, bad quarterbacks make mostly bad throws. I think there are a lot of things Ponder does well. But there are enough head-scratchers that his future is tough to predict.

Aaron (Eight-12 Restaurant)

Your description of Ponder "he still has these wild ups and downs where he makes some great throws and then some throws NFL quarterbacks shouldn't make." Can this be applied to all QB's, even say Brett?

Kevin Seifert (2:35 PM)

A perfect example of how the things I write can be wildly interpreted. Either I'm not a very clear writer, which is quite possible, or people read what they want to read. I don't think, in practice, I saw Brett Favre make many wildly inaccurate passes. Same goes for Rodgers and, really, Stafford and Cutler. Ball doesn't hit the ground much when there is no rush or a limited rush.

Jim (Minneapolis)

By what you've seen so far, does it look like Ponder has improved at all from last season?

Kevin Seifert (2:36 PM)

From what I saw, no. But I haven't seen much.

TK (Newport)

I heard winds in Mankato were more than 'strong'. An excuse for Ponder or legitimate claim?

Kevin Seifert (2:48 PM)

The first day it was windy. But after that, no, I don't think it was.