Webb a special case, but will be ready if needed at QB
Aquarterback leads the Buffalo Bills in snaps on special teams. That neatly summarizes the versatility that has been Joe Webb’s key to lasting eight years in the NFL.
“He’s very unique that way,” coach Sean McDermott said of Webb, who might be just a snap away from entering the game at quarterback Sunday when the Bills host the Indianapolis Colts at New Era Field.
Starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor is nursing a knee injury and could miss the game, which would leave rookie Nathan Peterman in his place. Webb would be the No. 2 quarterback in that scenario.
“He spends a lot of time in that meeting room, although he bounces around a little bit to other meeting rooms just because of his skill set,” McDermott said.
Webb leads the Bills with 222 snaps on special teams. He’s taken just eight snaps on offense, but five of those came last week against New England, when he lined up as a Wildcat quarterback. He threw once, but the pass intended for running back Travaris Cadet went long. That was the first throw attempted by Webb since the 2011 season.
“I saw that stat. I said, ‘wow,’ ” Webb said Thursday. “I didn’t really think about it because I’m out there throwing in preseason, but that’s a crazy stat right there.”
Webb’s willingness to line up anywhere he’s needed dates back to his upbringing in Alabama. During games in the yard with his three older brothers, positions weren’t important.
“I love playing football no matter where I’m at,” Webb said.
Webb’s first NFL action actually came against the Bills, when he replaced an injured Brett Favre as a rookie with the Minnesota Vikings in 2010. Seven years later, he continues to carve out an NFL career.
“You have to take it one year at a time,” Webb said. “When you start thinking, ‘I’m going to be three years, I’m going to be here four years. I’m going to be doing this’ – that’s not realistic. Everyone knows in this league, anything can happen. It’s been a blessing for me to have eight years and have a successful career like I’ve had.”
Taylor was back on the practice field Thursday, participating in individual drills. He did not take part in any of the team sessions, McDermott said after practice, and remains “day to day” as he recovers from a left knee injury suffered Sunday against the New England Patriots.
“He did some good things,” McDermott said. “He did individual today, as you guys saw. We’ll just take it one day at a time right now.”
Taylor wore a protective sleeve on his left knee, which suffered a contusion of the patellar tendon against New England on the first play of the game. Taylor played through the injury until the fourth quarter.
“We’ll see how he comes back tomorrow,” McDermott said. “These things, you know, sometimes 24 hours, things change with these types of injuries, sometimes rather quickly just in terms of soreness, not soreness, all that type of stuff. So we’ve just got to continue to monitor it.”
McDermott said missing team drills for two straight days at this point in the season is not overly concerning for Taylor.
“The body of the rep count has been built, you know?” he said. “The muscle memory, the timing, all the way back to OTAs. So that’s not as much a concern. The timing’s there in individual and everything, so that’s not a big deal overall.”
Running back Travaris Cadet (concussion), left tackle Cordy Glenn (foot/ankle), guard Richie Incognito (veteran rest day) and cornerback Leonard Johnson (knee) were also listed as limited practice participants. Cadet remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol.
A number of players were listed as full practice participants, including wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (knee), defensive end Eddie Yarbrough (chest), tight end Charles Clay (knee), running back LeSean McCoy (knee), defensive tackle DeAndre Coleman (knee), running back Mike Tolbert (hamstring) and cornerback Tre’Davious White (concussion). Clay and Yarbrough did not practice Wednesday, while Benjamin, Tolbert and White were upgraded from limited participation. White passed the NFL’s concussion protocol Thursday and is on track to play against Indianapolis.
The injury news wasn’t all good, though, as veteran defensive tackle Kyle Williams missed his second straight practice with a groin injury. Williams went through stretching with the team, but no drills. Offensive linemen John Miller (ankle) and Seantrel Henderson (back) also did not participate.
Linebacker Lorenzo Alexander was named the Bills’ nominee for the 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.
An 11-year NFL veteran, Alexander created his ACES Foundation in his hometown of Oakland, Calif., in 2008. The organization’s mission statement is to support youth through emphasizing accountability, taking pride in their community, striving for educational excellence and promoting a healthy mind, body and spirit through athletics.
A team captain, Alexander has participated in a number of different community outreach programs since coming to the Bills, including the team’s season-ticket donation program, Play 60 events and annual Thanksgiving Blitz. He also makes several visits to community centers and schools throughout the season.
Alexander’s work off the field has been recognized throughout the league. He was recently named a finalist for the Athletes in Action Bart Starr Award, and was the 2017 Call to Courage Award winner.
The Bills’ Joe Webb runs with the ball against the Patriots during the first quarter last Sunday at New Era Field. Webb had five snaps on offense and 15 on special teams.