Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder has been the target of much criticism this season, but his quarterbacks coach, Craig Johnson, has some words for him: "Suck it up." According to Tom Pelissero of USA Today, Johnson said that Ponder is no different from any other quarterback, in that a lack of wins means the blame falls on his shoulders, whether he likes it or not.
Ponder has led the Vikings to an 0-3 start to the season. Sure, the games have been close, but close losses are still losses. Ponder's Vikings fell to the Detroit Lions by 10 points, the Chicago Bears by one point and the Cleveland Browns by four points in their own home.
In each of these games, Ponder has thrown at least one costly interception (he threw three costly interceptions against the Lions in Week 1, and if it weren't for a sudden aversion to scoring, the Lions would have blown them out of the water). He's led the Vikings to the No. 24 passing offense in the NFL with 215.7 yards per game, and has completed 59.0 percent of his passes.
Johnson said that he doesn't "feel any different now than I did before," regarding Ponder as his starting quarterback. The fans may be calling for Matt Cassel, but Ponder has the support of his coaches for now. Those coaches just believe that Ponder needs to have a thick skin if he's to rebound and have any success this season.