ESPN's Adam Schefter suggested on NFL Live that Christian Ponder will be in danger of losing his job this season if the Vikings begin to struggle.
"There are enough people around the league that believe Matt Cassel is good enough to challenge Ponder," stated Schefter, adding that Cassel "could unseat Ponder at some point this season." Although Schefter confirmed Ponder won't lose his job before Week 1, he called it a "situation that bears watching." Ponder endured a brutal nine-game stretch last season (Weeks 7-16) where he completed 140-of-245 passes (57.1 percent) for just 1,267 yards (5.17 YPA), and a 7:8 TD-to-INT ratio with two lost fumbles. Ponder was serviceable to solid (67.2 percent, 7.01 YPA, 11:4) in his other seven starts.
Barring any injuries between now and late July, the Panthers will head to Spartanburg mostly healthy. The biggest health concern is running back Jonathan Stewart, who missed all of OTAs and minicamp recovering from offseason surgery on both ankles.
Gettleman would not speculate on whether Stewart would be ready for the start of training camp, saying: “We’ll see. Time will tell.”
Franchise rushing leader DeAngelo Williams, who restructured his contract during the offseason, got plenty of reps this spring, as did fullback Mike Tolbert. The Panthers did not run a lot of zone read during OTAs, and it appears the option package will be de-emphasized under first-year offensive coordinator Mike Shula.
In the passing game, Newton demonstrated great timing with tight end Greg Olsen throughout the spring. Former Giants wideout Domenik Hixon missed minicamp with a hamstring injury, although receiver/returner Ted Ginn Jr., another free agent acquisition, got open deep several times to haul in Newton passes. - Link
Mangold’s backing of Sanchez for the starting job was enhanced, he said, by what the veteran lineman saw during offseason workouts and last week’s minicamp. “I think Mark is a fantastic quarterback for us, and I think he can do some good things,” Mangold said. “He showed some good flashes in the spring, getting [new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s] system down and commanding the offense way that he should be.
We’ll see how training camp plays out, but either way, the competition will make him a better player.” Mangold indicated Smith has a ways to go before the second-round pick from West Virginia is ready to be an NFL starter. “Mark had a little bit better idea of the ideas and of seeing things, which are things Geno is going to have to work his butt off on,” Mangold said.
But Mangold also defended Smith, saying he has seen no evidence of the “diva” tag that was applied after Smith caused a brief stir at the NFL Draft, fired his agents shortly afterward and then hired rap star Jay-Z’s new agency to replace them. “He can be a good player for us,” Mangold said. “He’s a hard worker, and he’s asking questions. He’s taking the coaching and taking the advice to heart, and I think he’s doing some good things.” - Link
It’s worth noting that Vernon Davis participated exclusively with the wide receivers, not the tight ends, during the 49ers’ past mini-camp.
Do you think that means Davis will play more wide receiver this year?
The Niners probably need him to play more wide out because their best receiver, Anquan Boldin, is a much better slot receiver than outside receiver at this stage in his career. During team drills, Boldin lined up in the slot the vast majority of the time.
The 49ers need an outside receiver who can stretch the field, like Randy Moss and Mario Manningham did last season. Davis may be the best candidate on the roster to fill that role this season. - Link
Interesting? Rotoworld is enamored with the 49er's Offensive line.
With Michael Crabtree (Achilles') out until at least Week 12, Anquan Boldin only capable of playing the slot, and a host of question marks battling at X receiver, we knew Davis was going to have a big pass-game role. By learning to play wideout, he'll have more scheme versatility on Sundays. Davis can line up as an in-line tight end, move tight end, in the slot and out wide. The 49ers' dominant line frees him from too many blocking responsibilities. They'll remain a run-first team, but when they pass expect Davis to be featured.
Seriously? Profootballfocus likes em too. But it ain't cause they are good at Pass Blocking :)
49ers Dominant Offensive Line?
PFF Grades 2012 cumulative Pass Blocking on the regular season:
- OL Joe Staley - 18.5
- OL Anthony Davis - 7.5
- OL Alex Boone - 4.1
- TE Delanie Walker - 2.4
- HB Frank Gore - 2.3
- OL Jonathan Goodwin - 1.1
PFF Grades for the Kansas City Chiefs 2012 Pass Blocking Grades:
- OL Branden Albert - 16.2
- OL Jon Asamoah - 3.7
- OL Rodney Hudson - 2.4
- HB Jamaal Charles - 2.2
- TE Tony Moeaki - 2.0
- TE Anthony Fasano - 1.9, yep well we got him now.