Webb a spe­cial case, but will be ready if needed at QB

The Buffalo News - - NFL - By Jay Skurski NEWS SPORTS RE­PORTER

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.

Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News

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.

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