With training camp slowly but surely getting underway, Tiki, Brandon, and Dana welcome Vinny Cerrato to The Morning Show to talk football.
NFL preview conversations tend to focus on quarterback play, and this one was no different. From the disappointments to the greats to the unknowns, Cerrato has a stance on the gamut of quarterbacks.
“I’m just not sold on Christian Ponder,” he says of the Vikings’ lackluster quarterback.
Though Minnesota made a surprise playoff appearance last season, Ponder was little more than a game manager. The Vikes ranked second-to-last in both passing yards and yards per attempt in 2012, leading only the anemic Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals, respectively.
“I mean, they were 10-6 last year and Adrian Peterson had a phenomenal year. I know they added two receivers with Patterson and Jennings, but I just don’t know that Ponder can get it done,” Cerrato argues. “Can they win 10 games? No.”
On the other hand, the former Washington Redskins general manager by no means believes that Robert Griffin III was a fluke in his rookie campaign; he simply shares the football universe’s concerns about his torn ACL.
“You got to take it slowly,” he cautions. “You got to walk with kid gloves — just because of all the things, how it went down. Mike Shannahan’s got to be very tentative in what he does just because of the way things were handled last year.”
However, Cerrato clarifies that he doesn’t expect his old team to safeguard its franchise quarterback by keeping him off the field entirely, but rather by limiting what he does on it.
“If he’s ready, I think he starts. But I think they will be protective in that first game. I don’t know that they let him run and do a lot of things.”
“They’ve got to preach to him about playing smarter,” he adds. “You don’t have to win it with your legs; you can throw from the pocket. That is the big thing they have to work with him on, preach to him on, is play smart. Play smart — you don’t need to take hits. And if they can get him to do that, then he’ll play.”
“But I think it’s going to be very tentative here at the beginning. He’s not going to get hit or touched for a long time.”
Peyton Manning faced even more dire recovery concerns last summer; it was a mystery whether he’d be able to regain his arm strength at all following a series of neck surgeries. He has since been named the AFC Offensive Player of the Year, a first-team All-Pro, and the Comeback Player of the Year, dispelling any and all concerns for 2013.
“I was going to say he’s going to be better this year,” Cerrato proposes. “Just because he didn’t have all the offseason stuff where he’s rehabbing. Now he’s just been working and training. And he’s got Wes Welker, he’s got another outstanding slot guy. He’s worked with Thomas and Decker for a season.”
“I think the offense is will be better because they’ll all have been together for a year,” the former exec adds. “Year 1 to Year 2 is where you make great strides, so I think this offense will be better.”
“I don’t know if they’ll win 13 games, but they’ll score more points this year.”