Donovan McNabb: I should "absolutely" still be starting quarterback
Donovan McNabb knows he should still be quarterback -- did you know that?
Christian Ponder has lit up the Minnesota sports scene, which had been starved for anything but darkness and pain.
But, as Minnesotans heat their ice-blue hands on the warmth of Ponder's youthful glow, not everyone is celebrating the new guy in town.
For example, Donovan McNabb, who was reportedly the Minnesota Vikings quarterback as recently as earlier this month, is not sure Vikes coach Leslie Frazier made the right decision. Asked by NFL Network reporter Andrea Kramer if he should still be the starting quarterback, McNabb gave an answer that's blunt, candid -- and unpopular.
"Absolutely," McNabb said. "Absolutely."
In his NFL Network interview, which was broadcast yesterday, McNabb gave a few roundabout answers when Kramer pressed him on his struggles in Minnesota. It was sort of the interview equivalent of the way McNabb used to dodge oncoming defenders, back when he was a pro football player.
McNabb said that everyone focuses on the position of quarterback, who either gets credit for wins or blame for losses. He said that, given the way the team was performing, the Vikings should be "4 and 3, 5 and 2, whatever." (As a reminder, and to pour salt in the wound, the team is actually 2-6, and nearly mathematically eliminated from the playoffs already. Anyway, you were saying, Donovan?)
"We had games that we should've won," he said. "But we just didn't."
Right. Minor detail. But therein lies the problem.
Then Kramer asked if McNabb should still have the top job, to which he responded in the definitive, affirmative tone quoted above. Kramer interrupted him, asking why, if he should be quarterback, did coach Leslie Frazier (finally) bring in the rookie, Ponder.
McNabb said that he and Frazier had talked about "a lot of things that we've got to keep in-house," but alluded to the fact that there were problems all over for the team. Kramer said Frazier had told her the same thing, but had also said, "I think we have a better chance of winning with Christian Ponder at quarterback than Donovan McNabb."
"That's something I think that provides support for Christian from the other guys," McNabb replied. "But if you look at the things I was doing, I mean, statistically, I wasn't playing bad."
Fair enough, Donovan. You weren't playing all that not-bad, either, and the team was 1-5. The next week, in Ponder's first NFL start, the Vikes nearly toppled the undefeated defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, and yesterday they beat the Carolina Panthers. At this point, Ponder has the same number of Vikings wins as McNabb did after six weeks.
Also, it's worth pointing out McNabb's curious assertion that Frazier said Ponder was the better option in order to give him "support...from the other guys," referring to his Vikings teammates. What McNabb is saying, it seems, is that Frazier is endorsing Ponder just to help him out, when in fact Frazier believes that McNabb would be the better option... Frazier just chose to knowingly and deliberately go with Ponder, the worse option. Right?
Do you know what won't do much in the way of "support...from the other guys," Donovan?
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.