When will Vikings make a move at QB?
Every week, the experts of "FOX NFL Sunday" reveal their observations and opinions as they prepare for football's top-rated pregame telecast — seen each Sunday at noon ET/9 a.m. PT. We'll share some of the highlights from Curt, Terry, Howie, Jimmy and Michael grabbed from their weekly conference call with insider John Czarnecki.
Czar: Who should it be in Minnesota, rookie Christian Ponder or Donovan McNabb?
Jimmy Johnson: Here’s the problem with it. I know Terry talked about benching McNabb a couple weeks ago, but why isn’t Leslie Frazier thinking about it? At some point, because they are 0-4, they probably will play Ponder at some point in this season.
Terry Bradshaw: By starting the rookie, it just tells everybody that the season is over.
Curt Menefee: If they do start Ponder, I don’t see them going to back to McNabb.
TB: The problem is that Frazier has to think of a way to address the media and his football team and say this kid is ready and we need a spark. You brought McNabb in, but Ponder is who you are really going to rebuild the team with. I mean, you just can’t keep bringing in old quarterbacks to rebuild your team.
Michael Strahan: We are talking about a quarterback change, but I bet the players are already discussing it in the locker room. I don’t think he would shock the players if he would make a change. They see the same thing that we see.
TB: It could be that Frazier thinks that McNabb is playing better and it’s not necessarily his entire fault and that’s why he isn’t making the change.
Czar: What are your thoughts on the Giants? They are kind of a quiet 3-1 team.
MS: I do agree that they are a quiet 3-1 and there’s not a lot of talk about them because they don’t have a quarterback like a Michael Vick or a Tony Romo, somebody that grabs everybody’s attention. Yes, they are at the top now, but I think a lot of people aren’t sure right now they will stay there.
CM: I know that they haven’t been turning the ball over in the fourth quarter and Eli does have great stats these last three games, but I don’t know if anyone really wants to start defending Eli Manning as a top five quarterback. Off of that, though, isn’t this the perfect Tom Coughlin team scenario?
MS: How’s that?
CM: When everybody counts them out, when it looks like they have no chance, they tend to rally. But when the expectations are high, they don’t play as well.
JJ: People, let’s not get too carried away. They beat St. Louis and then Arizona by four points. And the Philadelphia game, well, the Eagles just screwed up. Now, yes, they do have Seattle, Buffalo and Miami over the next three weeks, which will really help them. But let’s not get carried away with them and say they are world beaters right now. They have beaten some bad teams. And the third team they beat is a talented, but screwed up team. The Giants will be in the mix, but I don’t know who I like to win the NFC East right now. Any one of the four can still win it. They are all in the pot.
TB: If it wasn’t New York City, I don’t think anybody is really blown away by the Giants. But I do like the way they are playing. And I don’t care who they beat. They did win those games and you build off of that. The confidence you get from winning those games serves you well. I don’t know when I am going to write off Philadelphia. I still think the Eagles are the most talented team. And Dallas, well, we just don’t know what’s going to happen there. The Cowboys simply have to learn how to run the football and win games.
MS: I guess these wins, being 3-1, will be a confidence builder for the Giants so that when they do hit the tougher side of their schedule they’ll be confident enough to believe they can win those games.
JJ: I was bored the other day because I couldn’t go fishing and I watched that Philadelphia game again. It is absolutely ridiculous that they lost that game to San Francisco. It is unbelievable what they did in the fourth quarter. Vick is taking them up and down the field, they missed a couple of chip-shot field goals, fumbled the ball. It’s terrible that they lost that game. It was almost as big of a collapse as the Cowboys losing to Detroit.
Czar: The Jets are playing in New England. But who is the best team in the AFC?
TB: I like New England at home.
MS: The Jets just got manhandled by the Ravens. Their quarterback looks like he’s lost and offensively they don’t look together like they have in the past.
JJ: Watching last Sunday night, Ed Reed is something else. He’s such a great player.
MS: Reed is great and Haloti Ngata is such a beast. Baltimore has such a great defense.
JJ: New England still has some problems on defense. I wouldn’t pencil them in just yet.
MS: Ray Rice running the ball and catching it, too. Joe Flacco still has some work to do, but Baltimore is an awfully good team right now.
Czar: What do you think about the Saints?
TB: They have three pretty good running backs. They are running the football well, and Sean Payton is doing a good job and they cranked it up on the road.
JJ: And running the ball is helping their defense.
MS: We all know they have been winning, but it’s really been quiet. You see them on the highlights and all, but they are quietly doing it under the radar which I think is nice for them.
Czar: Big game in San Francisco, two 3-1 teams. Bucs or 49ers, which do you like?
JJ: You have to give some credit to Jim Harbaugh for turning it around with the 49ers. He didn’t have a full offseason and he has Alex Smith playing better. He has his team hanging in there every game. I mean, they could have won the Dallas game and then they would be undefeated. Right now, they are the consensus pick to win the NFC West.
TB: Who is going to catch them?
JJ: Everybody wants to discount the Bucs, too. But Josh Freeman and LeGarrette Blount, they are awfully good. Freeman makes so many great decisions; he’s extremely talented. Then they have a battering ram like Blount to finish the game like they did against the Colts. Once they got the lead they just started hammering with Blount and you just can’t get the ball away from them.
MS: The South is a really good division. I know Atlanta won last week, but they seem to have lost their way a little. They have a big game against Green Bay. The Packers look unstoppable on offense.
TB: We are only four games into the season. It’s okay to struggle early in the season if you are a good team while you’re working out the kinks. So you win ugly, who cares? The point is everybody wants to start out like Green Bay did. But that’s not necessarily always the way it is. The key is to have your team in position in the 10th and 12th weeks to start moving and start winning. I don’t mind winning ugly early while you’re putting together all the parts you need to finish strong at the end. The hardest thing for a coach is to have your team come together at the right time while you are still in the hunt. That can be a fine line. I have to think that Green Bay won’t stay this high. They will have a little collapse.
JJ: The only team that Tampa lost to was to an undefeated team and they did beat Atlanta, last year’s division champions. All I’m saying is they are good enough to make the playoffs as a wild card because I’m not sure they are as good as New Orleans. They are better than I thought they would be.
CM: Let me ask this, which team has a bigger must-win case this Sunday? The Eagles at Buffalo or Atlanta against Green Bay?
JJ: I’m not sure that it’s a must-win for either team. I do believe that Philadelphia is going to fix things. The Eagles, even if they lose to the Bills, can get on a run because they have so many great offensive players. They can score a lot of points. They just have to solidify their defense and they could get on a pretty good run. I’m more concerned with Atlanta. There is something missing with Atlanta. I just don’t know what it is.
TB: Jimmy is right.
JJ: I mean Atlanta has more 10 play drives without scoring than any team in the league. They hold onto the ball and move it down the field, but they are not scoring points.