Can Christian Ponder Get Back on Track?
The biggest concern after the Vikings' 30-20 loss at Seattle Sunday is the performance or lack there of from quarterback Christian Ponder. Ponder looked tentative, apprehensive and lacked confidence. How do the Vikings and Ponder fix these problems? I don't believe in switching to Joe Webb just yet so lets see if Ponder can be fixed.
1) Generate some confidence - Defenses are expecting the Vikings to throw the ball in the flat to Percy Harvin, drop it off to a running back or throw a fly route to Simpson or Jenkins.
2) Throw some slant routes. Defenses haven't needed to defend the middle of the field because Ponder appears to be afraid to throw it there. Slants are timing routes. Hit Rudolph, Harvin or Simpson and let them run.
3) Crossing Routes - These a similar to slants but multiple players can run them at once. Don't force throws down field but give Ponder a chance to go quickly through check-downs.
4) Come-backers - Insert some quick come back routes which allow for clear difference to the slants and crossing routes. This works on timing and forces Ponder to get the ball out quick.
5) Take some chances deep - Ponder doesn't need to complete all of these passes but he needs to attempt them to keep the defense from cheating up to the line up scrimmage and jumping short passing routes.
The Vikings could already be encouraging this but Ponder doesn't appear to be confident enough to take some chances. If he doesn't improve for the season is over the Vikings could be thinking about drafting another quarterback. Matt Barkley anyone?