Wonderful. The calendar just turned to October, and the Minnesota Vikings still don't have a quarterback.
With incumbent Christian Ponder out with a rib injury and also a "performing badly" injury, veteran Matt Cassel stepped into the starting role against the Steelers and totally, without question … Played some football. His performance certainly wasn't great for a quarterback, and honestly, it was barely even GOOD … But it was just so much better than anything Ponder seemed to have offer, that it this decision is a no brainer, right?
Well … Not quite.
Pro Football Focus checked out Cassel's stats in this week's Re-Focus feature, where they grade out different players in a given game with some more advanced stats than things like "the eye test" which is obviously super reliable usually.
But they found that Cassel didn't really play all that much better than Ponder this last week, instead, he just kind of got lucky. Cassel should probably have had two interceptions against the Steelers, but didn't. Somehow, Ponder probably would have, we all know this. In fact, they mention the only difference between Cassel and Ponder is that 1) Cassel led the team to a win, I guess, because he was quarterbacking during the one game the the defense didn't totally boner up, and 2) he got rid of the ball a bit faster than Ponder does. Like, .41 seconds faster. Is that good? Well, I'll tell you .41 seconds is DOUBLE what I can last in the bedroom, so I'm assuming it is.
Point being, even though Cassel apparently has the support of the team because he led them to a win (Remember Peterson's question from yesterday?), if I were coach Frazier, I'd still keep Ponder in all season long and let him seal his own fate. Of course, I'm not the one who would lose my job by doing that, so it's a tough sell.
Also, can Ponder do this? The answer is no. So if you'd like to see this every week, than maybe you should instead start Cassel. Whatever.