Thursday, May 16, 2013
BBAO: Joe Webb to WR -- finally
By Kevin Seifert
We're Black and Blue All Over:
The Minnesota Vikings finally are following up on their first instinct on Joe Webb. Four years after drafting him with plans to attempt a conversion to receiver, the Vikings have confirmed that Webb is now a receiver moving forward.
Coach Leslie Frazier and Webb himself discussed the decision with Sid Hartman of the Star Tribune, one that apparently was solidified after the team in March signed free agent Matt Cassel to be its No. 2 quarterback. Cassel's arrival left Webb at best as the Vikings' No. 3 quarterback, a waste of his undeniable athletic skills. (You can refresh yourself with this post that carries links to his jumping exploits.)
Webb has dabbled elsewhere since the 2010 draft, working as a wildcat quarterback at times while also catching one pass and returning a kickoff in 2011, but the Vikings could never make up their mind on whether they wanted him as a quarterback with "slash capabilities" or playing another position entirely.
He will be a huge target at 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, but everyone should recognize how difficult a position change is at this point in a player's career. Although Webb spent some time at receiver at Alabama-Birmingham, the level of nuance required at the NFL level is incomparable. Using Webb at a position other than quarterback makes sense based on how the Vikings' roster is constituted now. But this type of conversion would have made better sense for a rookie spending a year on the practice squad than a fourth-year player who has already bombed out of one position.
Continuing around the NFC North:
- The Vikings have continued signing their draft choices and now have only their three first-round picks remaining, writes Ben Goessling of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- Replacement official Lance Easley, who signaled touchdown on the infamous Fail Mary play between the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks last season, will officiate Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman's celebrity softball charity game. More from seattlepi.com.
- Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette explains why Packers place-kicker Mason Crosby still has a job.
- Packers president Mark Murphy continues to reiterate his response on the topic of Brett Favre: That the franchise wants Favre back in the family. More from foxsportswisconsin.com via ESPN.com.
- The Detroit Lions lost out on free-agent returner Josh Cribbs, who signed with the Oakland Raiders. More from Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
- The Lions claimed defensive back DeQuan Menzie on waivers, according to Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com.
- Chicago Bears receiver Earl Bennett discussed the team's new offense on ESPN 1000 via ESPNChicago.com. Bennett: "This offense, actually, it moves everybody around. So you're not just stuck in one spot. I won't be just primarily a slot guy. I'll be all over the place, and that's what I love about this offense: You never know where you're gonna be. You just have to know what's going on and understand the whole play. I think it's gonna be great for me."
- Defensive tackle Henry Melton isn't worried about his status as the Bears' franchise player, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune.
- Bears general manager Phil Emery spoke to SiriusXM NFL radio about offensive lineman Gabe Carimi, who is not participating in voluntary organized team activities. Emery, via Adam L. Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times: "This is a voluntary situation and every player has to make his own decisions. Gabe has made a decision that he wants to stay in Arizona and train, and we respect that. And he'll be welcomed with open arms when he comes back."