I was excited to see Joe Webb start last week.  From what I’d heard, he isn’t a Vince Young clone but a Cam Newton hybrid. Except his 6th round salary is considerably lower than the $20 million Favre made this season or the $180,000 Cam Newton made at Auburn.  I’ve heard tales of his supreme physical tools since his junior season at UAB but wasn’t overly impressed with his numbers at a mid-major Division I school.

What you’ve got to understand is that he’s only seen extensive action at quarterback for three years.  After throwing 10 touchdowns to 18 interceptions in his first season as a full-time quarterback, Webb threw for 21 touchdowns and 8 interceptions as a senior.  As a senior, Webb also ran for 1,427 yards and 11 touchdowns, making him the third quarterback in NCAA history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 in consecutive seasons.

In April’s draft, Webb was the 199th pick from the sixth round, the exact same spot as Tom Brady ten years ago–as a wide receiver.  However, Brad Childress saw a quarterback prospect in Webb and moved him back to quarterback in training camp.  Athletically, there was no question, as he displayed in explosive touchdown runs against the Broncos and 49ers in the pre-season, however, Tuesday night gave him credentials as a passer.

Unlike last weeks horrendous Artic conditions which led to a 38.8 QB rating for Webb, the sky and field were clear for Webb and the Vikings as a result of the NFL’s 48 hour postponement. In the NFL’s first Tuesday night game in 64 years, Webb completed 65% of his throws(17 of 26) for 195 yards, ran for 31 yards and 1 rushing touchdown.  The Eagles came out  lethargically for most of the contest and Webb dissected their defense.

Webb eluded and pranced around defenders in an east-west direction before turning north into the endzone almost untouched to give Minnesota a 17-7 lead.  Cris Collinworth made the observation that Mike Vick’s 40 time at the 2001 NFL Combine was a 4.45.  Actually, Vick never ran at the combine and Webb wasn’t invited.

At their respective Pro Days however, Vick ran a 4.25, Webb ran a 4.45.

The difference? Mike Vick is 6 feet tall. Measuring 6’4 and weighing in at  220 pounds, Joe Webb is more of a Cam Newton hybrid with 11 inch hands.  By comparison, Mike Vick has 8.5 inch hands. The optimal size is at least 9.5 inches.

The size of a signal callers hands affect the grip he’ll have not the ball which comes into play in inclement weather and wet conditions.  You won’t see Joe Webb drop some of the balls, Vick occasionally does while he’s hit on scrambles.

Small hands are what ultimately prompted the Philadelphia Eagles to pass on Daunte Culpepper in 1999 and take Donovan McNabb out of the University of Syracuse.

On play after play, in crucial situations Webb made first downs with his arms, (hands) and legs.  On 3rd & 11, with 8 minutes left, Spiderman, threw a strike to Percy Harvin up the middle of the field.  On 3rd & 6, with just over 2 minutes remaining Webb sprinted left and dove for the first down, which effectively ended the Eagles comeback hopes.

Next week will be an interesting one for the Minnesota Vikings.  Brett Favre looks comfortable with his Mister Miyagi role as Webb’s sideline consultant but he may want to suit up one more time next weekend before riding off into the Mississippi sunset.  However, the Vikings have a difficult decision in the off-season, in whether to draft a quarterback such as Cam Newton or commit to Webb.

Starting Webb next week and watching him play is crucial to determine this performance was a fluke or a reason to believe he is the quarterback of their future.    Tonight changed things. Frazier could owe his potential title as a permanent head coach of the Minnesota Vikings to Webb. Before the game, Leslie Frazier appeared to be leaning in favor of Favre starting the season finale.  After Tuesday night, I woudn’t be surprised if Frazier dropped off a belated Christmas gift in Joe Webb’s locker and an early retirement gift in Favre’s Wednesday morning.