The Joe Webb experiment is over. It failed.
When the Minnesota Vikings spent a sixth-round pick on Webb, he was expected to transition to wide receiver in the NFL after playing quarterback for the UAB Blazers. Coaches saw him throw the ball around during training camp, though, and decided that developing him as a passer would be a better option.
In his first year with the Vikings, Webb played in five games in a reserve role. Although he failed to throw a touchdown, he completed passes when they mattered most and used his athleticism to move the chains and put points on the board. The passing abilities, however, were still extremely raw; Webb was a work-in-progress as a quarterback.
Heading into the 2012 season, there was still some hope for Webb. He stepped in for Christian Ponder against the Washington Redskins in Week 16 of the 2011 season and connected for two touchdowns on only five passes while picking up another six points on the ground. Webb showed the dynamic playmaking that was becoming an intricate part of the quarterback position in modern football.
The 2013 Wild Card Round was the final straw for Webb, though, who spent the entire 2012 regular season on the bench. With Ponder sidelined due to an elbow injury, Webb was forced into the starting lineup as the Vikings took on the Green Bay Packers.
While some believed that he would be an x-factor, the third-year quarterback floundered instead, completing only 36.7 percent of his passes for 180 yards, a touchdown and an interception while also taking three sacks. Webb seemed overmatched and unprepared, which led to a heartbreaking 24-10 loss that bounced the Vikings from the playoffs.
His pitiful performance was a manifestation of three wasted years of coaching and hoping.
Throughout his three-year NFL career, Webb has completed 88 of his 152 passes (57.9 percent) for 853 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions. Despite respectable numbers, the dynamic runner has struggled in the passing department. Webb lacks accuracy, as his throws regularly fall off of the mark. He too often throws into coverage, evidenced by his five interceptions in only 152 passes. If it wasn’t for his dual-threat capabilities, there would be no value in Webb whatsoever as an NFL quarterback.
The Vikings gave Webb three years to prove that he could develop into an NFL-caliber quarterback. It hasn’t happened yet, and it most likely never will. It’s time for the team to move on and explore other options who can fill the backup role behind Ponder.
Unfortunately, as long as he’s still on the roster, the dreams of Webb being a starting-caliber quarterback for the Vikings will live on. Time to wake up, folks.