Frazier: Ponder will continue to start at QB
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — With quarterback Christian Ponder's confidence seemingly shaken, Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier on Friday fully backed his second-year starter.
A day after another uneven outing from Ponder -- 19-of-35 passing for 251 yards, one touchdown, one interception and three sacks -- in Thursday's 36-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Frazier said he's sticking with Ponder as the team's starter and won't be making a move to backup Joe Webb.
"Barring injury, Christian's going to be fine," Frazier said Friday. "We have complete confidence that he's going to do a good job for us. We'll keep working as a group to improve as a whole, but I don't foresee that situation."
Ponder appeared ahead of the learning curve during the first month of the season while leading Minnesota to a 4-1 start, and he was among the league leaders in completion percentage and quarterback rating. He also was the last starting quarterback in the NFL to throw an interception this season.
But as the Vikings have lost two of their past three games, Ponder has wilted. In the past four games, he has thrown seven interceptions and lost a fumble. And he's been sacked 10 times in the past three games.
"I don't think his confidence is shaken to the point where he can't succeed, at all," Frazier said. "I think he'll bounce back from any ups and downs that he has. But we've got to help him, though. We've got to do some things around him offensively that will help him be more productive."
Ponder now owns an 85.8 quarterback rating, which ranks 17th in the league after being in the top 10 in the category for the first month of the season. He has completed 65.3 percent of his passes -- which is the ninth best mark -- for 1,743 yards and 10 touchdowns. After going four games without an interception, he now ranks 19th in the league with seven.
"It comes down to me," Ponder said after Thursday's loss. "I have to play better. I think that's obvious to everyone."
But Frazier's confidence in Ponder, the No. 12 overall pick in last year's draft who has started 18 games as a pro, hasn't wavered. He believes this is the normal path for a developing starting quarterback.
"When we drafted him with (general manager) Rick (Spielman), myself and the scouts all talked about the person that we would select and that was a part of ascertaining if that's the guy that you'd want to take because there are going to days like this, there are going to be games like this, there are going to be sometimes even seasons where you have to be resilient at that position," Frazier said. "You have to be mentally tough. We think he is, and he's shown that he is. I think he can handle some of the things that are dished out, but he's going to have big days for us. We know that. He's done that, and he'll lead our team to success."
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