What About Joe Webb?
I love watching Minnesota Vikings’ players vastly exceeding expectations on the field, especially rookies who were seen as huge projects before the beginning of the season. That was exactly the case for Vikings’ rookie quarterback/wide receiver Joe Webb(notes) in 2010. After sitting for the majority of the season, Webb saw action in the last five games and proved that he was a more-than-capable starting quarterback.
Apart from his rare athleticism, the thing that really impressed me about Webb was his poise. Ignoring all of his doubters, Webb stepped up to center and took control of the Vikings’ offense in ways that it seemed veteran quarterback Brett Favre(notes) couldn’t do at times throughout the season. Although his stats weren’t eye-popping, the finesse and cool that he displayed on the field looked nothing like that of a rookie.
In his first NFL start against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football, he came out with a revving motor that wasn’t going to be slowed. He completed 17 of his 26 passes for 195 yards . Although he didn’t throw a touchdown, he did manage to find the end zone with his feet and helped lead the Vikings to an impressive 24-14 victory.
Throughout his five appearances, including two starts, he completed 54 of 89 passes for 477 yards and three interceptions. He also added 120 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. It seems a bit disappointing that he threw three interceptions and no touchdowns, but that will change as he becomes more accustomed to the speed of the NFL game and the quarterbacking position.
Going even further back than all of that though, it’s inspiring to know that this kid initially came into rookie minicamp as a wide receiver after being drafted out of UAB as a quarterback. The Vikings’ staff felt that he was too raw as a quarterback to compete at the NFL level, and instead decided to use his athletic abilities to bolster their receiving corps.
That all changed when Webb was casually asked to throw the ball during the final day of rookie minicamp. He displayed a tremendous arm and immediately earned himself a red practice jersey (given only to quarterbacks). After training camp, the Vikings felt that he was talented enough of a quarterback to work as their third-stringer, giving them enough breathing room to trade away 2009 third-string quarterback Sage Rosenfels(notes) to the New York Giants.
Now we’re coming up on the 2011 NFL season and things could be doing a 180 on him yet again. With the Vikings investing a first-round pick in Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder(notes) and another veteran gunslinger more than likely to join the team if the lockout ever ends, Webb’s future as a Vikings’ quarterback is looking dim. Whether he stays at quarterback and is given the chance to earn a third-string spot, or is moved to wide receiver to help the soon-to-be depleted position, the Vikings have a raw talent that has the potential to be molded into an elite weapon.
I still think Webb deserves a chance to prove himself as an NFL-caliber quarterback, but whether head coach Leslie Frazier agrees with me is still to be determined.
MNVikingsBlog.com Analysis: Joe Webb is a gifted athlete no doubt. Unfortunately, Webb was thrown to the wolves last season with Favre being off and on injured. We saw flashed of what Webb can do, especially with his feet. Unfortunately, its still obvious that Webb needs some work before he can be a starter in the NFL. It’s not likely that Webb will get a true shot at competing for the starting spot for next season. Look for the Vikings to sign a veteran QB to compete with Ponder this off season.