Sad to see him go, but happy he’s at least getting a chance to play quarterback for another team. He was never going to be a franchise quarterback, but it’s difficult to say he ever really got a fair chance with the Vikings. As Ted Glover puts it, “The Joe Webb Era Is Dead. Long Live The Joe Webb Era”:
The semi-legend, who became part super hero, part mythological woodland creature, and part mediocre quarterback and receiver, has a vocal minority of support as strong as any fringe roster guy in NFL history. Earlier this evening he was signed by the Carolina Panthers as a backup to Cam Newton. The Panthers find themselves in need of quarterback depth now that Cam Newton will miss most, if not all of the off-season, due to ankle surgery. According to NFL.com, the Panthers ‘love his skill set’, and like the idea of having another athletic quarterback in the mix behind Newton.
Wait, I could swear I’ve heard a coaching staff rave about his skill set before. I know I have. I JUST KNOW IT.
Of course, Carolina also released WR Steve Smith, and they suddenly find themselves in need of wide receiving depth, too. And with Captain Munnerlyn now on the Vikings, maybe the Panthers need a guy who can return punts, or kicks.
Joe’s done that before, too.
The Vikings installed what they called the “Blazer” package to showcase Webb’s wildcat skills, but it was a remarkably limited package that only seemed to work the first time … because it was totally predictable after you saw it run once: there were no significant variations or options. That’s not Webb’s fault, that’s the fault of the previous offensive co-ordinator and his lack of creativity (or unwillingness to trust Webb with more responsibility, perhaps).
Honestly, I do think that Blazer package could have been something if the only play wasn't "run up the gut"
— Arif Hasan (@ArifHasanNFL) March 22, 2014
@ArifHasanNFL RIP blazer package, you wasted practice time, you were an embarrassment on the field, but gawdammit you had potential
— Darren Page (@DarrenPage15) March 22, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS – NOVEMBER 7: Joe Webb #14 of the Minnesota Vikings runs a route during an NFL game against the Washington Redskins at Mall of America Field, on November 7, 2013 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Tom Dahlin/Getty Images)
Update: Arif Hasan says goodbye to Joe:
Reasons to cheer for him: Joe Webb is a fantastic person with a great attitude. I’ve never heard Webb complain about getting jerked around or being put in a poor position to succeed, despite ample oppurtunity to and didn’t just do what his coaches asked of him — he embraced it enthusiastically. It’s also difficult to forget his more amazing moments, like against Detroit, Philadelphia and Chicago. In some ways, it’s always easy to cheer for a player that gave you so many electrifying moments. He was very probably misused and certainly hurt for not being able to develop as a player with one position. Perhaps sitting behind an offense built for a running quarterback in Carolina will help him better use his exciting skill set.
Reasons to cheer against him: He hasn’t been very good. In all honesty, the great moments he had weren’t sustainable or reasons you could count on him for the future, and he produced one of the worst quarterback playoff performances of all time. Despite a career completion rate lower than 50% and yards per attempt lower than even Christian Ponder’s, he somehow found himself in quarterback controversies a bit too often. Maybe not his fault, but definitely something that inspires some resentment.
Verdict: For. Unless you really, really dislike Carolina, it’s hard not to cheer Joe Webb on. If Cam Newton gets injured and Webb leads the Panthers to the playoffs (or better), that will give us confirmation that the old coaching staff was terrible, and it feels good to be right. For all of his faults, he was probably misused in Minnesota. That isn’t to say he was a good football player, but when he was on the field, the ways he was used were suboptimal. Last thing: it’s kind of cool that Spiderman and Superman are paired together.