The biggest roster decision Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly will make this year is deciding who his quarterback will be. Though most people believe it will be a draft pick, there are others who think it will be Michael Vick or Nick Foles.
I’m going to throw another possibility into the mix…Joe Webb, the backup Minnesota Vikings QB.
Every time I hear that name I have to shake my head a little bit. You see, I was at the Linc back in 2010 when the Eagles played the Vikings on a Tuesday night in frigid temperatures after a snow storm forced the game to be rescheduled from Sunday.
A first round playoff bye was on the line in that game and we had an underwhelming Vikings team limping into the Linc and starting a rookie backup quarterback. It should have been an easy win to keep our hopes of a bye week in tact.
However, nothing is ever easy in Philly. In the end, Michael Vick was out-played by a rookie and the Eagles lost the game, 24-14.
Joe Webb. I remember thinking “who in the hell is this guy?” We lost to Joe friggin Webb?! I sat there in arctic temperatures trying to do everything I could to stave off frost bite in my fingers and toes only to watch us lose to the Joe Webb-led Vikings?
He completed 17 out of 26 passes for 195 yards and no picks while rushing six times for 31 yards, one touchdown and a couple of back-breaking first downs.
All I could say at the time was W. T. F!
But I digress, that’s all in the past now. And now, as a matter of fact, I’m starting to look at Webb in an entirely different light.
Webb will be entering his fourth season in Minnesota as the backup. He hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire out there which is why he shouldn’t cost too much in a trade. He was drafted in the 6th round, so his trade value shouldn’t be much more than a fourth-rounder, if that.
Some of you might be saying to yourself “no way, I don’t want Joe Webb” right about now. But, hear me out for a minute…
We essentially have to view Webb as if he were a rookie coming out this year, except with three years of NFL experience. At UAB, Webb played both wide receiver and quarterback. He was the starting QB for his last two seasons there (2008 and 2009).
In his senior season, he completed 162 passes out of 279 attempts for 2,299 yards, 21 touchdowns and just eight interceptions. He ran a whopping 226 times for an impressive 1,424 yards and 11 touchdowns.
That performance ranks him as third all-time in single-season rushing yards by a QB in NCAA history!
Over his two seasons as the starting QB at UAB, he totaled 2,445 yards rushing and 22 rushing touchdowns. His passing was consistent, if unspectacular, and had close to a 60% completion percentage while significantly cutting down his turnovers from 2008 to 2009.
In other words, his QB performance trended upwards from his junior to senior season.
Furthermore, he ran a no-huddle, spread offense at UAB which would considerably help ease his transition to the offense Kelly wants to run.
Webb has excellent size at 6′ 4″, 220 lbs. When he was preparing for the draft, he actually thought his best chance of making it in the NFL would be at wide receiver. He wasn’t invited to the combine, but he had an off-the-charts pro day at UAB.
At his pro day, he put up better numbers than anyone who attended the combine that year in two categories: an 11.5 inch broad jump and a shuttle time of 3.91 seconds.
He put up the top vertical jump of 42.5 inches and bench press (21 reps of 225 lbs) compared to the entire group of wide receivers at the combine. Then, everybody’s favorite combine or pro-day stat — the 40-yard dash time — Webb clocked in at very nice 4.43.
Considering his size, that was a great time and overall impressive performance on his measurables.
Webb most likely slid in the draft because he was more-or-less viewed as a player whose NFL position was questionable (wide receiver or quarterback). It was then coach Brad Childress who decided to make him solely a quarterback upon entering the NFL.
Since then, he has served as Brett Favre’s and Christian Ponder’s backup and could be available for trade, according the price is right. Webb’s performances in the NFL to date aren’t anything to make him a hot commodity like we’ve seen with other backup quarterbacks.
However, looking at it under a new light, we could make the argument that he is a square peg trying to fit in a round hole in Minnesota. We have to keep in mind that many players look better or worse than they are based on the scheme they play in, and right now the Eagles with Chip Kelly look like a much better fit for Webb than the Vikings.
If Webb were coming out of college this year, he’d certainly be on our radar as a potential draft pick. But now he is a nice, under-the-radar trade target that could pay huge dividends for Kelly and the Eagles.
I do not think Mike Vick will be with the Eagles much longer. He’ll most likely get cut before he’s due the $3 million bonus three days after the Super Bowl. You can argue that he’s a good fit for Kelly’s offense, but I’ll argue he’s too old, injury-prone and just overall not a good-enough QB any more.
And no matter what Kelly says, I seriously doubt Nick Foles will be his first choice to run his offense. In order to run the offense that he wants to, he needs a QB who has at least the threat of being able to run. Nick Foles is not that guy.
That leaves finding a QB either in the draft or via trade.
Much ado has been made about the Eagles talking to multiple quarterbacks this week at the Senior Bowl, including E.J. Manuel and Ryan Nassib. However, just like every team, the Eagles will be talking to numerous players as they evaluate players for the upcoming draft (i.e., due diligence).
In all likelihood, Kelly will bring a new QB into the mix this year to compete for a starting job. Joe Webb is arguably one of the most attractive options when you consider the lot of quarterbacks Kelly has to choose from.
He has the athleticism, size, youth, and experience in both the NFL as well as running a similar offense to what Kelly wants.
What makes him even more attractive is that he should cost very little in a trade, leaving the Eagles’ higher draft picks to use on other areas of need.
The only question is whether or not Webb will actually be available in a trade. If he is, the Eagles should seriously consider pulling the trigger.
In case you’ve read this far and I’ve intrigued you with the idea of getting Webb, maybe this will help solidify that notion. Check out his highlight clip…there’s some good running and nice throws in there (of course, it’s a highlight clip, duh!)