Leslie Frazier says he could bench Christian Ponder: Why won’t he?
The Vikings were able to fend off the Chicago Bears and keep their playoff hopes alive, but their Week 14 victory isn’t what’s making headlines; Adrian Peterson’s quest for 2,000 yards isn’t either. Instead, the media and fans are growling just a little louder about Christian Ponder’s role as the team’s starting quarterback.
Head coach Leslie Frazier has addressed Ponder’s status in recent weeks. According to a report from the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, Frazier stated that the decision on whether or not to start Ponder was essentially up to him. He reiterated by telling the media that the Vikings’ management has given him the go-ahead on roster decisions in general. So why hasn’t he benched Ponder yet?
Unfortunately for Frazier, it’s not as simple as watching Ponder play poorly and then pulling him from the game. Although his comments may suggest it’s that easy, there is no doubt an immense pressure from his higher-ups in the Vikings’ organization. Christian Ponder was the team’s number one draft pick in 2011 as the 12th overall choice. While the expectation to perform at a high level is on Ponder, the pressure to not look incompetent is on the Vikings’ front office. If they, or Frazier, decide to bench Ponder this week they might look foolish for not doing so earlier. However, if they choose not to bench him this year, they will look even more foolish when the Vikings end up missing the playoffs again.
Leslie Frazier knows what’s at stake. Remember when former Vikings’ head coach Brad Childress released Randy Moss without running it by team owner Zygi Wilf? Leslie Frazier does too, and he also wants to keep his job. Maybe Frazier is “allowed” to make the call on Ponder, but it’s impossible to understand why he hasn’t done so yet unless there are other factors involved.
Even with Adrian Peterson’s Herculean performances, the team’s offense can not win big games without at least a little help from the passing game. Leslie Frazier has a big decision to make, and his team’s winning record has nothing to do with good quarterback play. With very little to lose, he should do the right thing and bench Christian Ponder.