Found January 06, 2013 on
Fox Sports North:
Joe Webb's size and athletic ability tantalized former Minnesota Vikings' coach Brad Childress, the type of talent that can tease NFL coaches and is hard to give up on. Minnesota drafted Webb in the sixth round of the 2010 draft out of Alabama-Birmingham and had decided to turn the former college quarterback into a wide receiver.
The 6-foot-4 Webb is big, strong and fast and was the first player in NCAA history to pass for 2,000-plus yards and run for 1,000-plus yards in back-to-back seasons. Childress' infatuation with Webb was adopted by Vikings' fans after Childress was fired with six games left in the 2010 season and interim coach Leslie Frazier fueled the fire, unexpectedly, after Webb led Minnesota to a big win at Philadelphia.
The calls for Joe Webb had maintained since then. The clamoring for Webb among fans hit a fever pitch this season as Christian Ponder -- the chosen franchise quarterback by the Vikings' new regime -- struggled and Minnesota's playoff hopes seemed to slip. After a promising start to his second season, Ponder, the first-round 2011 draft pick, seemed to regress before the fans' very eyes.
Turnovers mounted for Ponder after he went without a turnover the first four weeks. Twice in three weeks, Ponder finished with 63 passing yards or fewer. His once sparkling completion percentage and quarterback rating plummeted as Minnesota lost four of five games.
Fans wanted to see Webb. Minnesota's brass and coach Leslie Frazier never relented. Frazier reiterated his support of Ponder.
And now we all know why.
Webb was a backup for a reason. Even as the season seemed to be slipping away, Frazier stuck with Ponder and was rewarded as his play rebounded while winning the final four games of the regular season to earn a playoff berth. Meanwhile, Webb stayed on the bench, only taking three snaps all year in a big early-season win against Tennessee in which he had two handoffs and a kneel-down.
Everyone that had wanted to see Webb earlier in the year got the chance to see him in another critical season-saving spot on Saturday. Playing for an injured Ponder, in Saturday night's playoff 24-10 playoff loss at Green Bay, Webb looked confused, indecisive and not ready for his latest chance. Once believed a savior, Webb faltered in his biggest spot.
The fans that called for him were ready to see someone else -- namely little-known and inexperienced third-stringer McLeod Bethel-Thompson -- as Webb went 3 of 12 for 22 yards passing in the first half Saturday night as the Vikings playoffs appeared over as soon as they started. Finally, the desire to see Webb, the fascination with his physical gifts was over.
One certainty from Minnesota's loss Saturday night is that there will be no more calls for Webb. Ponder's reputation and following amongst the fans rose with each Webb misfired pass.
Frazier and general manager Rick Spielman didn't need Saturday's game to entrust their future, for now, to Ponder. But fans know understand why the Vikings never gave up on Ponder. Even in the depths of his struggles, Frazier and Spielman knew Ponder gave Minnesota its best chance at winning.
Now the fans know too.
Did Frazier and Spielman know what they truly had in Webb? Were they still enamored with the physical gifts of the third-year player? Did they believe he was a capable backup, which looks incorrect based on Saturday night's performance? What did they see in Bethel-Thompson?
Now longer is the question whether Webb deserves his chance at starting. The Vikings season ended because they didn't have a capable backup to Ponder. One has to wonder whether veteran Sage Rosenfels, cut following the preseason, would have been better suited to backup Ponder. This was largely, from outsiders' views, expected to be a rebuilding season. Minnesota lost the chance to continue its unlikely playoff appearance because of the lack of a suitable backup. Rosenfels might have served the Vikings better -- especially after Webb was seldom-used in the regular season -- in a road playoff game.
What is clear is the calls for Webb have been silenced. Fans know why Ponder was never benched and the question now involves what the Vikings do this offseason to backup Ponder. After wishing for Webb, fans might be ready to voice their opinions again if Webb is the backup next year. And not in the way they've called his name in the past.
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BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Yes, clearly the Mark Sanchez butt fumble is still 100 time worse than this, but this play is easily #2 right? Why would you even think about throwing that? Don't coaches tell you in pee wee football to take the sack at this point??? No way that pass was ending up in a positive play. I thought Webb would at least put up a fight last night, but Sanchez #2 made the game...
From Midnight to Six in Thirty Minutes:
Well, that's being pretty generous. My playoff boner went from solid to flaccid in much less time than that. In fact, I'd probably say it took all of 15 minutes, or by the end of the first quarter, for me to feel like ****. The boner was gone at the end of the first quarter, the drinks stopped flowing by half time. You tell me which...
GREEN BAY, Wis. The intrigue for the Minnesota playoff game Saturday night against the Green Bay Packer was amplified once starting quarterback Christian Ponder was declared out and backup Joe Webb would be leading Minnesota.
Unfortunately, the Vikings' offense didn't receive the same boost. Playing more than just a few snaps for the first time all season, Webb was unable...
After a brief warmup before Saturday night's game, Christian Ponder was ruled inactive due to an elbow injury sustained last week. Joe Webb will make NFL history by getting the start.
Joe Webb has been slated to start at quarterback Saturday night vs. Green Bay.
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The Minnesota Vikings were soundly defeated by the Green Bay Packers 10-24 and the biggest truth the game proved is the continued decline of the value of franchise running backs in the NFL. Adrian Peterson was the biggest story going into the game, because he was only 9 yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single season record with 2,097 yards after coming back from major knee...
The Minnesota Vikings got absolutely leveled during their lopsided NFC Wild Card loss to Green Bay on Saturday, 24-10. Backup quarterback Joe Webb was forced into action after starter Christian Ponder was unable to play. The results were painful.And such was the case for Minnesota reporter Lee Valsvik, who got pancaked on the air by one of her camera man as she was trying to deliver...
Even though NBC tried very hard to pretend that Joe Webb is super awesome to sell this playoff game that they’re broadcasting, it is great entertainment to watch the Webbslinger throw the ball. The first attempt was a one-hopper to a receiver on a 3rd down in the red zone. The second was a desperate heave on a 3rd down on the next drive that went straight up and was somehow not...
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Ponder is suffering from bursitis in his throwing elbow, an injury which takes weeks to fully heal. Despite the bumpy season Ponder has had he did manage to save his best performance for last with the week 17 victory vs the Packers.
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Just in case you were wondering why Joe Webb got the start for the Vikings on Saturday, take a look at this photo. What was being described as a “deep tricep bruise” held Christian Ponder out of Minnesota’s Wild Card match-up with the Packers Although there are no doctors on staff here at BC we can confirm that this bruising is not normal.
*FULL SIZE PHOTO HERE*
We all know...
The Packers prepped all week for the wrong quarterback – not that they knew. With Christian Ponder a late scratch, Joe Webb gave the Vikings little chance of leading an upset in the first round of the playoffs.
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This Was Also A Dull Game
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