Updated: 07/22/2014 6:59 PM
Created: 07/22/2014 5:25 PM KSTP.com
By: Chris Long
Christian Ponder has a very different point-of-view as he enters his fourth season in the NFL.
"It's different when you're the starter and when you're not," Ponder says. "There is going to be a different feel to it."
After losing his starting job to Matt Cassel amid struggles last season, Ponder faces a training camp without a likely shot at starting for the first time since his rookie season.
"People say they'll approach it the same, but you can't. If you're not starting, you can't approach it the same way," he admits.
Despite shifting down the depth chart, Ponder is still preparing to fill whatever role the team needs.
"It's a way to get better," he says. "I'll learn from the coaches, watch Matt (Cassel) and Teddy (Bridgewater) and always be prepared. It's a crazy game. You never know what'll happen as the season goes."
Shifting to backup QB isn't the only new challenge for Ponder this preseason.
He and his wife Samantha welcomed their first child - daughter Bowden Sainte-Claire a couple weeks ago.
The first name is an obvious nod to his college coach, former and legendary Florida State mentor Bobby Bowden. The middle name matches Samantha's, which is also a tribute to her grandmother.
"He actually called me when he heard about it," Ponder said when asked if he'd talked to the elder Bowden about the tribute. "It was actually (Samantha's) idea."
"Fatherhood's great," Ponder beamed. "I may not be getting as much sleep as I'm used to getting but it's been awesome."
As he prepared for that role, the words he used almost fit perfectly with preparing to take the field as an NFL quarterback.
"It's funny," he laughs. "You try to prepare as much as you can - I think I've read three books already - but until you're in there changing diapers yourself?"