Leslie Frazier on Donovan McNabb Losing his Job for Being Lazy: “It is so far from the truth. He has been great.”November 3, 2011 – 8:45 am by Steven Cuce
Leslie Frazier didn’t expect his Minnesota Vikings squad to be 2-6 going into the bye week, but he has got to be encouraged by the strides his team has made in the last two weeks. The Donovan McNabb experiment may not have been a success in the Twin Cities, but it at least led to Christian Ponder getting a shot to perform sooner rather than later. Ponder, the No.12 overall pick in the 2011 draft, has definitely made his head coach look good for sitting McNabb in favor of him, and has showed some promising signs in his first two career starts. Although he hasn’t been as nearly good as Andy Dalton or Cam Newton, he sure looks like a solid fit to take control of and lead this Vikings offense for the rest of 2011 and beyond.
The first game coming off the bye week won’t be easy for Minnesota when they take on Green Bay next weekend, but Frazier has to feel confident that his team may be taking a turn for the better in the long run after a solid road victory over the Carolina Panthers last week.
Leslie Frazier joined KFAN in Minneapolis with Dan Barreiro to discuss Jared Allen’s outstanding start to the season, , Christian Ponder being the future of the Minnesota Vikings, if he’d categorize the acquisition of Donovan McNabb as a failure, the rumors of Donovan McNabb not being on time to meetings or workouts, and Adrian Peterson becoming more of a duel threat after his efforts against the Carolina Panthers.
What has been the biggest difference between this year and last year for Jared Allen? He seems to just keep performing this year despite the team playing poorly again?
“I think a lot did have to do with the fact that how our season was going overall, but also there were a lot of this things in the offseason leading up to the season that may have affected his play once we got into the season. I remember talking to him once the lockout had ended and just prior to the lockout and he was so disappointed in his personal performance and of course where our team was a year ago. He was really a guy on a mission in his training sessions this offseason. He came back with a totally different mindset about the 2011 season and how he wanted to approach it. It is one thing to talk about it. It is another thing to do it. Boy I tell you he has backed up some of the words he told me once the lockout was lifted and how he was gonna play. Just the combination of a great athlete who really had the mindset that things are going to be different for me in 2011 and it sure has been.”
Do we know enough yet to say Christian Ponder is the guy for this team?
“I think we are seeing signs that this is the guy. That was our intent when we took him with the 12th pick in the draft that we wouldn’t have to yearly wonder who is going to be our quarterback. That was the whole point. He is showing signs that hey this is going to be the guy. When we get ready to draft in 2012 we are not going to have to be looking at another quarterback. We can move onto other positions that will help our team.”
I thought the Donovan McNabb move was the right move. I am wrong about that now? Are you wrong?
“No. I know why we made the decision and I don’t have any regrets. I really firmly believe that we did it for the right reason and it didn’t work out from a win or loss standpoint and we are in this business to win games, but I think in the long run hopefully we’ll look back at it and say it was beneficial to Christian Ponder and our football team as well, but we are doing some good things. We are headed in the right direction. It didn’t work out. We were 1-5 when we made the switch.”
There’s been a lot of national speculation regarding Donovan McNabb not putting his nose to the grindstone or going above and beyond the effort for this team in the meeting room. Can you address those rumors? Is that what made you make the switch to Christian Ponder?
“Not at all. That had nothing to do with it because Donovan McNabb has been on time for meetings. He’s early for meetings. He’s at practice on time. He’s where he is supposed to be when it comes to the weight room or treatments. No, he’s been a true pro throughout. Where those reports came from? I have no idea. It is so far from the truth. He has been great. Even with the change that was made he has handled it extremely well. He’s been very supportive of Christian Ponder. He expressed it to me when the change was made that I want to help Christian Ponder just like Doug Pederson, the guy he replaced in Philadelphia helped him. Why those reports were made or those statements were made? I have no idea. It is so far from the truth.”
Why has Adrian Peterson not been more of a duel threat this season? Can you gain off the momentum from the last game and use him in that regard?
“Well we would like to be able to utilize his pass catching abilities because he has really worked on his hands and really improved his pass catching ability, so it is something we want to continue to build on based on what happened this past weekend, but we got some coverages in that game that we weren’t see as much of in other games. They began to back up a little bit because of the completions that we made, so that helped us. It wasn’t man-to-man on our backs because they are playing so much man coverage. Now they begin to drop back in the zone a little bit and Christian Ponder had the awareness if that is what they are going to do guess what? Adrian Peterson is catching the ball at 5 yards a gain and another 10 or 15 yards is just as good as throwing it down the field. It was just great awareness by our quarterback in making plays that the defense was giving us.”
Listen to Leslie Frazier on KFAN in Minneapolis here [Interview begins at the 24:40 mark of the podcast]