I read a long thread on Ponder the other day where two stat junkies dissected and bisected Ponder in a hundred different ways. Some key stat categories Ponder looks good (as Marrdro usually highlights) and some key stat categories Ponder looks bad which Singer generally finds. He gets harped on a lot on his lack of long completions (as he should), but the area I found most revealing was his complete failure in the 20-40 yard category where he was 4/33. 40+ he was 2/3. Rodgers was one of the best hitting 19/47. Over 40 yards he was 0/6. If Ponder can even get to 30-35% completions at that range it will change the way defenses play us.
Receivers no doubt were part of that equation as was the way Musgrave/Frazier wanted to call a conservative game. Nonetheless, Ponder took 33 shots and only completed 4. I hope this is a point of emphasis in the offseason and we see more success in this area. If Ponder continues to struggle with these throws, then I would guess the coaching staff will get antsy.
I don't think the strength of his arm is the issue. I think it is mostly confidence related and is a maybe the most technical aspect to playing in the NFL. When you see a QB like Brady, Peyton or Rodgers get into a rhythm, it is a thing of beauty, especially when you get camera angles that show it from their perspective. They are playing with a ton of confidence. One thing those guys all have in common I am quite sure is that it is a point of emphasis and a large part of what they practice. Not so sure that is the case with MN. Especially as this team was being revamped over the last few years with the intent to create a long term successful franchise. The focus has been on building a well rounded team in all three phases with an emphasis on physical play. I think we have made great strides in the last couple of years to that purpose, addressing a number of weaknesses. Going into this year I think most would agree that our biggest weaknesses were in passing offense and passing defense. Both of these areas were upgraded in talent IMO, now they need to see it pan out during the season. For Ponder, if he can't develop success in the 20-40 yard range, his time as a starting QB will most likely be coming to an end.