FanPost

Analyzing Joe Webb


First off, let me say that this is only 1 game for Joe Webb. It's a little unfair to overly analyze this performance from Webb given the circumstances. That said, his job is to be the backup QB and always be ready to step in at a moment's notice and lead the offense. And at that, I think it can safely be said that he failed to do his job last night. But fairness aside, I'm still going to break down Webb's performance and see if there are any glimmers of hope, or if we should simply move on at the backup QB spot.

First, a little context. Joe Webb is in his 3rd year in the NFL, and this was his 3rd career start in the NFL. It can obviously be said that he lacks experience. That said, he has seen time in 17 real NFL games in his career and prior to last night's performance had the following career numbers:

Att

Comp

%

Yards

YPA

TD

INT

Rsh Yd

Rs TD

QBR

Rat

152

88

57.9

853

5.6

3

5

273

4

52.1*

66.6

This is decidedly average to bad for a QB in today's NFL. His rushing ability boosts his Total QBR rating for sure, but his abilities as a passer look quite a bit worse than Ponder (granted, it's a limited sample size and only includes passes from his first 2 seasons). Never-the-less, Webb has never shown himself to be a consistent and elite talent at the QB position during his limited opportunities in the past. But this off-season and regular season the coaching staff had him practice and develop his skills solely as a quarterback.

Like most of you here, I watched the game last night and my initial "eye test" assessment was that Joe Webb showed most of the stuff that Webb fans like: dynamic athleticism, able to improvise when plays break down, and rush for big gains when the pocket collapses. He has a rocket arm and is able to easily chuck the ball down the field. I think he did all of those things last night, and I didn't really see much from him that we haven't already seen. But more importantly, I didn't see anything new either. I didn't see some magically transformed and developed QB talent, despite having an entire off-season and regular season to focus on developing nothing but his abilities as a QB. I saw wildly off-target throws, and a panicked pocket presence. I saw multiple throws to wide open receivers that either hit the dirt, or were 10 feet over their heads. I also saw some of the worst decision-making in the face of a getting a sack that I've ever seen. At the end of the day, Webb was directly responsible for 2 of the team's 3 turnovers last night. While the Packers jumped out to a huge 24-3 lead to open the 2nd half of the game, when we needed the offense to answer they couldn't do it. Our defense actually did their job after that point forcing FIVE consecutive 3-and-outs of Aaron Rodgers and company. But our offense turned the ball over twice and couldn't put up any points until there were only 5 minutes left in the game and a loss was pretty much already guaranteed.

So, how did Webb do by the numbers? Was it as bad as the eye test makes it out to be? Well, actually, yeah it was. His final stat line doesn't look terrible, but it's not particularly good either:

11/30, 180 yards, 1TD and 1 INT; 7 rushes for 68 yards; 54.9 Passer Rating

But that ignores a lot of context. The TD and most of the yardage came in the final 5 minutes of the game when it was "garbage time" and the Packers were in "prevent" defense. Prior to the drive in the 4th quarter where Jenkins scored on his long TD on the Packers broken coverage, here was Joe Webb's stat line at that point in the game:

7/23, 82 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT; 7 rushes 68 yards; 24.2 Passer Rating

That is abysmal. As bad of a passer as Ponder was in his bad games, prior to the garbage time stats, Ponder never had a game with a passer rating this bad in all of 2012. Maybe that's being too hard on Webb and ignoring the junk time stats...but even so, when you take his "total" game performance into consideration, it was still pretty bad. ESPN's Total QBR for Webb for the whole game was a paltry 20.7. This is very bad.

While it is true that considering the entire game, Ponder has had worse games than this one from a numbers perspective, Ponder has also had much, much better games. That fact is, Webb performed pretty much on par with his earlier game statistics. If this one game proved anything (which is hard to argue), it's that Webb hasn't shown any progression in 3 years in the league. If anything, he performed a little under where he was 1-2 years ago in this one game. I don't know what Webb could do if he was given a full season as the starter, complete with full attention from the coaching staff and 1st team reps, but if last night's game was any indication of his talents and skills, it is my opinion that we would be better served to look elsewhere. Again, it's hard to be too critical of Joe Webb given the circumstances, and it was his first start in over 2 years. But, at the same time, he had an opportunity to go out and show that he deserves some consideration as an NFL QB and that he has grown and developed, and he blew it, big time. In the NFL, you don't get many opportunities, and it's hard to say if/when he'll get another one.

I mentioned this in one of my comments, but it bears repeating. IMO, if nothing changed from our QBs, then what we have, right now, is a very good #2 QB in Ponder, and a raw, still-developing #3 project in Webb. I don't know what we've got in MBT, but if that's what we've got ahead of him, then he must be pretty bad. That said, I do think that Ponder hasn't reached his ceiling, as evidenced by his Week 17 game, but he still has a ways to go. I do think that Ponder can develop further and make more progress in the off-season. I think Ponder is our QBotF as he showed an ability to bounce back after a mid-season slump and needs to continue to work on consistency. But I think we need to bring in some help at the backup QB position. I'd like to see the Vikings go out and sign a veteran backup QB (like Alex Smith or Matt Moore), or draft a good mid-round QB to add some competition to the backup QB job as well as give Ponder a little push. Because what we saw out of Joe Webb last night instills absolutely no confidence in me that we have reliable talent behind Christian Ponder.

*This QBR calculation is an average of his 2010 and 2011 seasons, which may or may not be 100% accurate. A career regular season QBR calculation from ESPN was not available.

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.

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