Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 8/15/12
MANKATO, Minn. Joe Webb's physical talents have always had the Minnesota Vikings' coaches wondering how to best utilize him in their offense. Two years and three training camps into his NFL career, Webb is still being groomed. But Minnesota's current set of coaches is sold on his potentialat quarterback. Now Webb needs to show the Vikings he is progressing as a quarterback. Following the 2011 season, Minnesota committed to Christian Ponder as the starting quarterback and said Webb will be the backup, dedicating two young players to the most important position on the team with each set in his role. No longer was Webb going to have his time split between quarterback and receiver. He was given a full offseason to develop as a quarterback. When Webb took over for Ponder early in the second quarter of last week's first preseason game, he looked more the raw athlete than polished quarterback. Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave noted much of Webb's performance Friday, where he ended up leaving the pocket often, was due to breakdowns along the offensive line. "We know as quarterbacks sometimes you've got to throw when you can't step into it," Musgrave said Tuesday. "We're doing a bunch of drills this week to help Joe in that regard. I just think Joe will get better and better." Webb finished the game 4 for 11 passing for 20 yards and didn't complete a pass to a wide receiver. He had two carries for nine yards as well andshowed off the athleticism that has been his calling card. Yet, the Vikings have seen Webb's strengths as a runner and know he can be dangerous outside the pocket. The coaches want to see his improvement as a passer, in the pocket. "We know what Joe can do," Musgrave said. "We've got to make sure we can enhance Joe's limitations in the pocket. He doesn't have a lot of time on task playing quarterback in the pocket and we want to make sure that we don't just paint him into a corner where he can only do this. Joe's tall. He has a good release. We think he can be more effective in the pocket than he has been in the past." Webb has provided a spark at times the past two seasons with his athleticism, but it's mostly been as a runner, averaging 6.8 yards-per-carry. He has completed 57.9 percent of his 152 career passes. Last year, mainly coming off the bench after Ponder injuries, he was 34 for 63 passing for 376 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Working inside the pocket was a point of emphasis for the coaches with Ponder as well. To help the process, Minnesota tried to upgrade its offensive line during the offseason by drafting left tackle Matt Kalil No. 4 overall, moving last year's left tackle Charlie Johnson to left guard and changing right guards, where second-year player Brandon Fusco is likely to win the starting job. Ponder looked strong in the first preseason game behind the new-look offensive line. Webb didn't get the same chances, playing his snaps behind the second and third-team linemen. "It was an up and down performance," coach Leslie Frazier said. "Part of what he dealt with was, so many things so many guys in front of him were not able to do, and that affected some of the things he wanted to do at the quarterback position. We fully expect him to keep progressing at the quarterback position. He's probably the least experienced of all of our quarterbacks as far as playing the position over a long period of time. You just have to continue to let him get reps and let him development. Joe is a big play guy as we all know so he'll make his share of plays." Webb was drafted in the sixth round in 2010 out of Alabama-Birmingham, where he was the first player in NCAA history to throw for at least 2,000 yards and run for over 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. His athleticism was always the draw though. He spent his sophomore season in college as a receiver and, despite playing quarterback his final two years, the Vikings drafted him with the idea of moving him back to receiver. That was until then coach Brad Childress saw him thrown in training camp. Since then, Webb's had to deal with being alternated between receiver and quarterback. Webb feels he's improved this offseason since the Vikings told him he could concentrate solely on playing quarterback. "Just focusing on this one quarterback position instead of going back and forth, really got better," Webb said. "I think I improved from the past when I first came in. So I've still got a long ways to go though." And most of that work is becoming more confident in the pocket. "I'm still working on it," Webb said. "Day-by-day, just trying to get better each day. Progressing through my reads, sitting in the pocket when I need to sit in there and deliver the ball, and that time will come when I need to pull it down and run. So that's just my focus right now; just going to keep working on it." Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Vlade Divac indicates DeMarcus Cousins’ agents killed other deal

Report: Julius Thomas traded to Dolphins

Joe Mixon likely to go undrafted in April?

Belichick officially updates boat’s name to ‘VII Rings’

Canseco warns humanity about robot takeover in Twitter rant

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Rick Ankiel drank vodka before pitching in 2000 NLDS

Kings throw shade at Cousins in press release announcing trade

Report: Jets tampered with Revis through private phones, secret meetings

Calipari shoots down talk of him leaving Kentucky for Pelicans

Report: Carmelo prefers trade to Clippers or Lakers

Report: Kings blowing up roster, putting Darren Collison, Ben McLemore on block

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Too much to Process: Can Simmons match the Embiid hype?

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

Is the NBA All-Star Game worth saving?

Movies you can stream now to get your football fix

The Rewind: Michael Jordan's last All-Star Game

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

We got our hands on the new Nintendo Switch, here are our first impressions

Top 10 second basemen in baseball for 2017

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher with 200 or more wins since 1961

Baseball movies you can stream now to hold you over until Opening Day

There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki

Movies you can stream now to get your football fix

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker