In "normal" years, NFL players would be spending the early summer in mini-camps with their teams as they prepare for the official training camp. With the lockout halting all team activities, players have to find a way to stay sharp and in game shape should the lockout end at any point. IMG Academy currently serves as the training home of multiple NFL players, as they can focus on on-field and off-field development with football and performance specialists.
Joe Webb never expected to see the field during his 2010 rookie season with the Minnesota Vikings. The former UAB quarterback/wide receiver, however, took full advantage of his opportunity to play in multiple in games, highlighted by a 24-14 win against the Eagles in Week 16. Webb recently took time to talk about athleticism, his alias and what people don't know about Brett Favre.
Joe Webb on...
...world-class athleticism: I was about 14 years old when I could first dunk and I was only about 5-11 then. When I was young, I was fast, fast, fast. Then my growth slowed me down a little bit, but I could always jump. By my junior year, my speed returned and I started seeing it on film. By the time my senior year rolled around, a lot of people told me that I could do a lot of things other people can't do.
I got a lot of recognition for jumping over the bags. During training before the NFL Draft, the defensive and offensive linemen were on the other end of the gym, jumping over one or two bags. They kept stacking them higher and higher. They challenged me. I did five easy, then six and seven. It was at least six feet high. I think I could've done eight, but I didn't want to get hurt.
...his rookie season: I'd rate it a six or seven. Watching film, I know I can improve on a lot of things. Coming in, I knew Brett Favre was there, and I figured it would be my âRedshirtâ year. Sit back and learn the game. I'd treat practice like a game - that was my main goal. But the coach got fired, the stadium roof collapsed, Brett got hurt - it was a crazy season.
...specific areas of improvement: The biggest thing for me is working from under center and getting my drop steps correct. My footwork. Working in the pocket. Keeping my eyes downfield. Getting the ball to my playmakers. In college, I had a lot of weight on my shoulders to make all of the plays. Now, I have weapons like Percy, Adrian Peterson, Sidney Rice, Bernard and Shiancoe who can all make plays.
...Brett Favre: He and I had a great relationship from the first time I got into camp. People think he's arrogant and looks down on guys. I even thought that before I knew him, but he changed my perspective about him. He's helped me out a lot. I'll just sit with him and watch film. I observe him on and off the field just to learn. I was asking him questions all the time.
He's 41 years old, but he's a big kid. He's always joking. He'll get serious on the practice field, but during downtime he's like the class clown. We'd always try to pull pranks on each other. I'd always tap his shoulder and make him look the other way. On the field, he'll always yell âhead's upâ and everyone would be running and ducking out of the way.
...competition between quarterbacks: I look at it like both guys are going to compete for the job, so you have to do everything you can to prepare. At the end of the day, though, you are on the same team. No matter who wins the job, you need the eyes of the other guy to pick up things on the defense. It's childish to say, âI'm not going to help this guy.â If, knock on wood, one guy goes down, the other guy has to step up and you want him to be successful to help the team get to the Super Bowl.
...Minnesota vs. his hometown of Birmingham: I've never experienced cold like that in my entire life. When it snows in Birmingham, it's like one inch and it's gone by noon. One day in Minnesota it was sunny outside, the next day it was a blizzard. I've never driven in the snow, so I'm sliding everywhere. Once you get in the house, you don't want to go anywhere. I may try ice fishing sometime, but I'm not comfortable sitting on a frozen lake yet.
...his unknown alias "Tawhidul" listed on Wikipedia: My real name is Joseph Webb. I promise to God that's my name. I'll show you my license right now. Somebody asked me my name a while ago, and I said Joseph and they started laughing. I asked what's so funny about Joseph. They said, âNo, that ain't your name.â A lot of people ask me about it. I don't even know how to pronounce it. I've tried to edit my Wikipedia page. I've tried looking up contacts at Wikipedia to call and everything. I have no idea where it came from.
...working with IMG Academy football program Director Chris Weinke: I followed him through his whole career. It's been really helpful for me. He showed me some things I can do with my mechanics, and I'm already seeing big differences. You can tell when you go over the playbook and watch film that he knows what he's doing. I'm impressed with him. His knowledge of the game is at a really high level.