You might think that the optimal landing spot for Christian Ponder would be in Tampa Bay, after releasing Josh Freeman ... but you'd be wrong. In fact, there is a mid to lower round draft pick available ... that might be had for Ponder... if we played our cards right. Most importantly ... it can be had quickly ... if we act now.
The marketplace is now ripe, with the movement of both Trent Richardson and Josh Freeman ... where organizations are clearly indicating their willingness to move ... to act in the best interests of their organization. After all ... this is a business. The key distinction is that the Vikings franchise has always moved in the best interest of its players ... if feasible, which gives them the proper image, that they are so desperate to preserve. This franchise has done very well in this regard.
In the past, this franchise has been frozen in regard to changes of this magnitude ... in that they were willing to be patient ... to make 85% certain that they've made the right moves ... but that has all changed now. The reality ... tough as it is ... has firmly set in. They've made the plan clear ... they've set attainable goals ... they made their intentions clear ... and they made the end game potential clear. Now ... the door to opportunity has opened. In other words, when your destination is up-wind, which is a good analogy for winning an NFL championship, you must tact (change course and direction), to get to your destination ... otherwise you may be lost into the abyse. We all wish the decision was made sooner but there is no sense in fretting about lost time ... as you can never get it back.
Sam Bradford and Jeff Fisher are still in transition. At this juncture, Fisher is leaning toward starting with a clean slate as Sam Bradford, at times, has struggled mightily. Within the organization, the key decision maker is convinced that Sam Bradford is, and will be, an eventual franchise quarterback ... however it is firmly believed that Sam Bradford has never been in the right situation. Ponder had Peterson ... Bradford had very little ... and now they have a bunch of new draft picks to evolve into what they hope will be a dynasty. Their franchise quarterback is in place, but his confidence and proficiency is not yet up to par.
It general ... it's always easier for the coach to start with a clean slate ... as it gives him time to develop personnel that he selected. On the other hand, Jeff Fisher was selected by St. Louis for a specific purpose ... a man with clear insight ... when to fish or cut bait (cutting Vince Young) ... or to bring out the very best in Bradford. It's the later that will bring opportunity to Rick Spielman and this franchise.
If Christian Ponder is given his outright release ... he will have little control on where he ends up ... which just might be in the chaos down in either Jacksonville or in Tampa. Ponder should be desperate to fill a very valuable role and continue his quest toward re-establishing himself as a starter. Jeff Fisher can present that opportunity to him. In short ... Ponder will clearly see himself despartely wanting to be in St. Louis ... especially in what might occur there next year ... thereby having a leg up on all the other competition as that organizations #2.
With Christian Ponder behind Sam Bradford, Bradford gains may potential benefits. The first ... and most important of all ... is that old Sammy-Boy will have a fire blazing under his hind quarters as Ponder has established himself as a starter in this league ... well at least he has posted numerous starts. If Bradford flounders ... Ponder can provide, at the very least a stop gap patch to get the Ram's to the next draft. Ponder can also win games in the backup role ... or again, at the very least, make the Rams look presentable during a loss.
Where Ponder shines for Jeff Fisher is that he's a very intelligent quarterback ... maybe the smartest in the league ... where history has shown that if a proper bond can be formed ... these new set of eyes can make Bradford into an elite quarterback. Ponder is also a premier practice player, in that he's polished. The proof is that Ponder has snowed this organization for 3-years in the practice role.
The most important role presented by Ponder for Fisher is that as a warm-up-horse. Bradford has a superior skill set as compared to Ponder. Bradford, as an elite quarterback is still lacking in confidence ... and at times does not engage ... or better said ... is confused and unclear. The warm-up male horse, gets the female horse all worked up. Once the foreplay is completeed, the warm-up horse is pulled from the paddock where the starter Sam Bradford can then execute the job for which he was intended to do. To be direct, Sam Bradford is superior to Ponder in every regard ... or in other words, Old Sammy Boy can compete with Ponder without fear of losing his job to him. Unless the Rams pull that trigger on this deal, Sam Bradford will have little or no chance of success in St. Louis as Jeff Fisher does not yet have his most important tool. It's not time yet to pull the plug on Old Sammy Boy and the message within this Rams franchise has to be both correct and clear. Ponder gives both Fisher and Bradford the one tool that can bring it all together. The Rams are now drooling over that waiver wire with the addition of Josh Freeman up in Minnesota ... but they'll never see Ponder for free.
As for Ponder, he does have a very well paid role in this league, but he may already realize that it may not be as an elite quarterback in this league. He may prove us wrong ... in the long run ... but it is clear that the sands of time have run out on his egg timer. What is clear is that Ponder has no near future in Minnesota where a change in venue is apparent and is the best move. The issue is the landing spot.
Do not worry about a bottom roster cut ... even if you lose that player ... as the future draft pick will prove to be much more important to this organization. Just be 100% certain that this player is not Joe Webb as his roles and values are still evolving within this organization.
Ponder is the perfect #2 ... but not in Minnesota ... as there would be just to much conflict and friction.
The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: October 7, 2013