By now all people is aware of in regards to the New Orleans Saints’ do-it-all participant, Taysom Hill. He has taken snaps all over the place from particular groups to tight finish and quarterback. This wrinkle within the Saints’ offense put in by head coach Sean Payton has confirmed to be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses as they must pay further consideration to the place Hill traces as much as forestall him from impacting the play. Hill is an efficient decoy as a result of his athleticism at all times retains the protection each alert and trustworthy, opening issues up for Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas.
What has made Hill so profitable is his capacity and willingness to do something requested of him, whether or not that’s throwing the ball when filling in at quarterback or being the lead blocker for the working again. Hill also needs to credit score most of his success to his coach, an offensive mastermind who successfully created a brand new place that permits Hill to shine. Payton used Hill’s athleticism to impression the offense and particular groups as an alternative of making an attempt to restrict him to at least one function and have him hyper-focus on a specific ability set.
These days, it looks as if each workforce is seeking to discover their very own Hill-type participant to use defensive mismatches and open up their playbooks. This new pattern is all the craze, however what if I instructed you the Minnesota Vikings had a participant with nearly the identical skillset as Hill who, looking back, they fully underutilized?
Vikings followers will certainly keep in mind Joe Webb. The sixth-round select of the College of Alabama at Birmingham offered one of many few vibrant spots within the 2010 season. In his first begin, Webb led the 14-point underdog Vikings to a win in opposition to the playoff-bound Philadelphia Eagles on a chilly Tuesday evening.
Though Webb put up fairly underwhelming passing numbers at UAB, you possibly can see why the Vikings took a late-round flyer on him, on condition that he rushed for 1,000 yards twice and had a loopy athletic profile that included a 42.5″ vertical and a 4.43 40-yard-dash time.
Webb was initially chosen as a quarterback/large receiver hybrid prospect, however former Vikings head coach Brad Childress outlined Webb’s function as a quarterback early on. He returned one kick throughout his rookie season, however an harm to Brett Favre noticed him take over the reins at beginning quarterback for the final three video games of the season on the best way to a disappointing 6-10 end.
Childress was fired throughout the disastrous season, however Webb’s function noticed little change beneath new head coach and former defensive coordinator Leslie Frazer. Webb solely noticed the sphere when he was changing Christian Ponder in 2011 and 2012.
It wasn’t till 2013 that the Vikings lastly determined to capitalize on Webb’s athleticism by shifting him to a special place. “(Webb) is such a gifted athlete that we need to guarantee that we’re doing the best factor by him and our workforce as effectively,” Frazier stated on the time. So Webb was moved to large receiver for the season, nevertheless it felt like this function was nonetheless too inflexible and didn’t cater to Webb’s athleticism. As a substitute, it compelled him to study a brand new place whereas he was already three years into his NFL profession.
The comparability to Hill might sound a bit far-fetched to among the individuals who by no means noticed Webb play, however he might have doubtlessly even surpassed what Hill has achieved given his superior athletic profile. At 6’4″ and 231 lbs., Webb stands two inches taller than Hill and roughly 10 lbs. heavier. Webb additionally retains tempo with Hill within the velocity class; his time of 4.43 is only a hair forward of Hill’s at 4.44. Webb additionally supplied a vertical bounce 4.5” greater than Hill’s and an extended bounce that’s 1’ 3” inches longer.
Along with his elevated athleticism and the facility component that he might add, Joe Webb might have been the unique Taysom Hill if the Vikings had gone exterior the mildew in crafting his function within the offense.
Whereas it might have been fascinating to see the Vikings be on the forefront of one of these offensive innovation, I doubt it might have helped flip them right into a winner. The Vikings had been terrible from 2010 to 2013, solely making one playoff look by which the Inexperienced Bay Packers swiftly eradicated them.
It could have taken some strain off of Ponder. However Webb’s capacity to play one of these place would really feel extra like a luxurious for an offense that lived and died by how effectively Adrian Peterson might run the ball on any given Sunday.