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Christian Ponder's passer rating improved from 70.1 in 2011 to 81.2 in 2012.
In this world of instant gratification, there is no longer any patience to allow a quarterback to develop. A lot of that also has to do with the immediate success of several young quarterbacks in recent years. It started in 2008, when Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco, the first two quarterbacks selected in the draft led their respective teams to the playoffs.
Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez, first-round draft picks in 2009 played well enough to lead their teams to the postseason—Sanchez led the Jets to consecutive AFC championship games in 2009 and 2010. Stafford led the Lions to the playoffs last season.
This year, Christian Ponder is one of six quarterbacks drafted in the last two seasons that has his team in the playoffs. In fact, of the 12 quarterbacks in the playoffs, only three of them are over 30, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Matt Schaub, with Aaron Rodgers at 29.
When you look at these four quarterbacks, only Manning started his rookie season. Brady didn't start until his second season and Schaub and Rodgers not until their fourth season.
In his first full year as the starter, Ponder finished 10-6. And while it was not always pretty, when you compare his record over the last two seasons to that of Manning's or Rodger's, it's not that bad.
After only winning two of 10 games last season, Ponder has a 12-14 record. During Manning's rookie season, he finished 3-13 and followed that with a 13-3 record for a 16-16 mark through two full seasons.
During Rodgers' first year after replacing Brett Favre, he finished 6-10. He followed that up with an 11-5 record for a combined 17-15 after two years as the starter.
With some additional talent around him, Ponder will continue to get better, and whether he wins or loses against the Packers in the playoffs, it will be good experience for the young quarterback.