I was reading Judd Zulgad at 1500 ESPN this morning and he had a good post about the coming Vikings-Jaguars game and how it will serve to show us a bit of how far Christian Ponder has come this offseason. Zulgad points out that Ponder and Gabbert had similar rookie seasons and face similar challenges.
I think I made an offhand comment yesterday about how it was interesting that Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder face each other in Week 1 (and on a more general note, how the Vikings and Jaguars face each other as well).
The connection is pretty self-evident to me—here are two quarterbacks who had rough rookie seasons, were thrown to the wolves before they were ready and have in many ways been written off by many fans and media outside their home states and towns.
Writ larger, it's the same case for the teams—it's assumed the Vikings and Jaguars will not amount to much this season.
It's been said many times, but a full offseason will make a huge difference for both these quarterbacks, and really, you can see it already.
It makes for an intriguing matchup this weekend even if, as Zulgad points out, they don't directly play each other.
ESPN Chicago's Micheal Wright says the heat is on the offensive line to step up this year.
B/R's Ernest Shephard says that we should give Brian Urlacher the benefit of the doubt in how he is dealing with his knee injury.
I love that commercial.
Birkett also gives you his three storylines to watch for this season.
Chris McCosky talks about Suh's increasing comfort levels with Head Coach Jim Schwartz's expectations for him, over at the Detroit News.
Over at ESPN Wisconsin, Jason Wilde writes that the Packers know they face a stiff challenge in the 49ers defense this weekend.
Pete Dougherty of the Press-Gazette says that despite the slow preseason, the offense isn't worried.
The Daily Norseman's Ted Glover talks about the potentially impending Battle of the Backups between the Jags and Vikings.
The Star-Tribune's Mark Craig talks about the Vikings' young secondary and how it has time to develop.
Vikings.com's Mike Wobschall writes about the three first-round picks set to play in this Sunday's game: Matt Kalil and Harrison Smith for the Vikings and Justin Blackmon for the Jaguars.