Vikings tackle J’Marcus Webb
After being dropped by Bears, J'Marcus Webb embraces Vikings
- Article by: MARK CRAIG
- Star Tribune
- September 3, 2013 - 8:26 AM
J’Marcus Webb, the new swing tackle for the Vikings offensive line, was asked Monday what went so wrong in Chicago that it landed him in Minnesota via the NFL’s waiver wire.
“No comment,” he said.
Laughter. Pause. Uncomfortable silence.
“I’m not too sure,” he said. “Things work out the way they need to at times, and things don’t when they don’t. Moving forward, I’m really excited to be here. I’m loving every day of it. I just got here [Sunday] and it’s beautiful.”
Um, J’Marcus, it was 59 degrees and overcast.
“It’s beautiful!” he said. “I’m excited.”
As happens often in the NFL at cutdown time, this appears to be a potential win-win-win situation for the Vikings, Bears and Webb, who quickly wrote “change is good” on Facebook.
First, the Bears rid themselves of a struggling player who was perceived to lack confidence and desire for the game. This offseason, Webb was moved from left tackle to right tackle to make room for Jermon Bushrod. Then he had his pay cut from $1.3 million to $630,000, the minimum for a four-year player. Then he lost the right tackle job to fifth-round draft pick Jordan Mills. Then he got whacked Saturday.
Webb gets to leave Chicago, where he obviously wasn’t a great fit. It’s also where he was shoved, yelled at and shown up by his quarterback, Jay Cutler, after giving up a sack at Green Bay in Week 2 of last season.
And finally the Vikings get a durable, versatile 25-year-old backup with 44 career starts. Webb, a seventh-round pick in 2010, has started games at both tackle spots and isn’t being asked in any way to start ahead of or push left tackle Matt Kalil or right tackle Phil Loadholt.
“We had a chance to line up against him a few times,” coach Leslie Frazier said. “We liked his length — that really sticks out at you — along with his athletic ability. He’s a guy who has shown the ability to be a very good offensive tackle in our league.”
Frazier was careful not to lay it on too thick, however. After all, Vikings defensive end Jared Allen did spank Webb for 3½ sacks while falling one-half sack shy of the NFL season record during the 2011 season finale. Webb gave up four sacks total in that game and 12 for the season.
“There are definitely some things [Webb] needs to work on to become a complete player,” Frazier said. “That’s one of the reasons we were able to acquire him. But we like the size and the experience he has as a tackle.”
Williams can’t practice
The Vikings remain hopeful Kevin Williams’ badly sprained right knee will heal well enough for him to play Sunday’s season opener at Detroit. But the veteran defensive tackle was the only player unable to participate in Monday’s short, non-padded practice at Winter Park.
Frazier said he would update injuries Wednesday, when teams are required to do so by NFL rules.
Door open for Winfield
Frazier said the Vikings hadn’t talked to former Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield, who told the Seahawks on Saturday that he was retiring. Winfield would have been cut had he not retired.
Apparently, the door at Winter Park remains open for Winfield.
“I have a ton of respect for Antoine,” Frazier said. “If he wanted to play [this season], I’d welcome the opportunity to work with Antoine again if that’s what he wanted to do. But if he’s retired, I wish him nothing but the best. He’s been a great player, a great person. He’s going to enjoy retirement.”
• The Vikings filled out their eight-man practice squad with defensive end Tristan Okpalaugo, who was released by the Dolphins in their final cuts. Okpalaugo, an undrafted rookie out of Fresno State, had three sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery this preseason.
• The Lions claimed former Redskins safety DeJon Gomes off waivers. Gomes is the player whose hit tore the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in Adrian Peterson’s left knee on Christmas Eve 2011.
• Although Desmond Bishop made an impressive run over the final three preseason games to make the final roster, Frazier isn’t ready to move him up the depth chart. “As we speak, Marvin [Mitchell] is our starting [weakside] linebacker,” Frazier said. “Desmond did a good job, did enough to make our ballclub. We’ll see how he progresses as we go forward.”
© 2013 Star Tribune