When Ponder didn't do well last year fans were quick to point out that he was only a rookie.
This year the hope was Ponder had more upside than Webb & was expected to improve, but we didn't see a whole lot of that. In some cases we saw regression rather than improvement, especially with his mechanics.
You don't bench your starting QB when your team is on the playoff bubble based on some "maybes" about a QB-turned-WR-turned-QB-again.
Obviously I don't have access to the 22 film, but I do have all of the games recorded, and when I go back and watch, I have a hard time finding open receivers from the ones that are in the frame. I think we are taking Harvin's comments (which were made in frustration) and blowing them up a bit.
There ARE two or three plays each game that I can pick out an open receiver that was not targeted, and I think that is what Harvin is talking about. Sometimes Ponder targets somebody else who may be more covered, sometimes he holds the ball, a few times there were defenders in the backfield quickly and Ponder is scrambling. FYI, if Ponder if being flushed to one side of the field, it doesn't matter is a WR is open on the other side - throwing across your body while being pressured is a great way to get picked off. Every pop warner QB (and Brett Favre after 2009) knows that lesson.
It isn't like there are open receivers every down that Ponder is just missing. Referring again and again to Harvin's comments a few weeks ago as evidence that "Receivers are already open now with Ponder" is misleading at best. Our WR corp honestly is not very good outside a couple of individuals. And right now our QB isn't very good either. Either the QB or the WR corps needs to step up their games (preferably both).
My guess is that Wright actually was getting open and Ponder felt comfortable throwing to him.
On most any play in any game in the NFL there will be receivers who think they are open. In some cases they are right and the QB doesn't find them and other cases the coverage is setup to make a play that the reciever is unaware of, and in most cases the receiver thinks that no matter how well he is covered, he can still make the play.
Ponder does miss open receivers no doubt, especially when pressured. One of the announcers on a game or so back (Steve Young maybe), mentioned how a lot of west coast QB's are taught to focus on half of the field as it is too difficult to take in the whole field on precise timing patterns. This is especially true for young QB's. This could still be an emphasis with Ponder at this point in his career, don't know, but the point is, there is a lot more to the concept of open recievers than a comment made by a disgruntled receiver.
I'm not sure I would throw it to Simpson right now if he was wide open if he can't figure out how to use his hands to catch the ball.
And your right, many folks are still on the fence with Ponder and not necessarily for or against him at this point.
One big exception I do make to the post however, is that I don't think every player should necessarily be given the same treatment to form an opinion on his worthiness. Player evaluation is very subjective, both by coaches and by fans. In many cases, it is hard to completely qualify in words exactly what you like or dislike about a player, but if the guy doesn't pass the eye test to a particular individual, then he will lose faith in them. Many times the eye test is more accurate than any other analysis you try to make on a player. But again, it is very subjective.