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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Greg Jennings says Christian Ponder is not on the hook for pick-six


An early theme has emerged two games into the Vikings season: Players and coaches don’t always agree on who goofed up. Whether it’s a matter of wanting to keep things in-house, or protecting players or whatever, we seem to hear a few different explanations of breakdowns, depending on who is asked.

That was the case again Wednesday. This time, the discretion was over Christian Ponder’s interception that turned into a Bears touchdown going the other way.

This isn’t to suggest it’s all a bunch of finger-pointing inside that locker – quite the opposite in this instance.

Ponder addressed the media Wednesday morning and said the pick was his fault.

“I got there probably a little too early,” Ponder said. “They were in a blitz-zone, so they were probably expecting the ball to come out a little quicker and it did. [Cornerback Tim Jennings] made a great play on it. Next time, just try to throw it away or don’t want to give them a chance to pick it and get some points.”

But later in the afternoon, after watching film and practicing, receiver Greg Jennings said it wasn’t Ponder’s fault.

“After watching the film, I can’t put the interception on him, it wasn’t just him. It was a play that wasn’t really executed well across the board. We addressed it. … When a guy throws an interception, a guy who is pretty critical of himself, you want to let him know.”

Greg Jennings later told the quarterback: “Christian that wasn’t on you, that one’s not you. We own that one.”

So, it’s a little strange that in defending Ponder, Jennings tacitly faulted receiver Jerome Simpson. But that’s the way it goes, it had to be someone’s mistake. And watching the play again on tape, Simpson ran a crummy route and then gave up on the play once Tim Jennings jumped the route.

But the receiver’s larger point was that Ponder played considerably better in Sunday’s second half than he did in week 1.

“I thought his play in the second half – even in the first half – was pretty good. We all have room to grow, but I thought he put us in position to be successful, put us in position to win the ballgame. We didn’t do it. … He shows resolve, he’s very resilient. Any time you have a guy that can bounce back from a low game or a poor performance and play to the level that he was able to play on Sunday, it shows his resolve.”

Given the comments out of the locker room following week one, I’m not yet sure what to make of this inverse version of the blame gam. It’d be nice if all explanations were consistent.  I’m genuinely curious, readers: What do you make of it?


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