Rivera says Webb to stick with Panthers
Joe Webb knew coming into training camp he'd need a break or two to make the Carolina Panthers roster.
He got one — although not exactly the one he'd hoped for.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Tuesday he plans to keep Webb as the team's No. 3 quarterback after starter Cam Newton suffered a hairline fracture to his ribs Friday night during a preseason against New England.
The Panthers only kept two QBs on the roster last year — Newton and veteran Derek Anderson.
"I would never want to wish for somebody to get hurt just for my benefit (so) it was an unfortunate situation," Webb said. "It's just a blessing for me to come in and show my talents to the coaching staff. I wish Cam all of the best and to get well soon. In the meantime I'm going to do my best to fill the void."
Rivera said the Panthers were thinking about keeping Webb even before Newton's injury.
Newton's injury sealed his spot.
Rivera admitted it will be tough sacrificing a roster spot for an extra quarterback, but the move comes out of necessity.
Newton has not practiced this week, but Rivera reiterated he's "pretty confident" the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback will play in the Sept. 7 regular season opener against Tampa Bay.
"I saw him throw a couple of balls. I saw him catch a couple of balls. I saw him bend over and pick up (a couple of balls), so I imagine (the pain) is lessening," Rivera said of Newton, who has never missed a regular season start in three seasons. "This is exactly what the doctor told us — it is just a matter of time. Get the stiffness out, the soreness out, and he'll be all right."
Newton did not address the media on Tuesday.
Rivera said Newton will be revaluated on Saturday.
In the meantime, Anderson is expected to start Thursday night against Pittsburgh in the preseason finale, providing all goes well with the birth of his child. His wife was set to be induced into labor Tuesday night.
With the starters only playing about a quarter, Webb should see plenty of playing time.
He knows that once Newton's ribs heal the Panthers could revert back to keeping just two quarterbacks, which means he'd be a free agent again.
"I know I'm not only performing for the Carolina Panthers, but for 31 other teams out there," Webb said. "Pretty much your game film is your resume and you want to put your best performance on it."
Webb was drafted by Minnesota in the sixth round in 2010 and saw spot duty at quarterback and wide receiver for the Vikings. He started three games in four seasons under center, completing 57.9 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and five interceptions.
He hasn't played wide receiver at all with the Panthers and his focus now is solely on playing quarterback.
Rivera said he spoke with some of Webb's former coaches with the Minnesota Vikings and they felt he'd be a good fit for the Panthers offense, including some of the read options that Newton runs.
"They're right," Rivera said. "Those things do fit Joe very nicely. I like who Joe is. He's a hard-working, very conscientious young man who wants to do well."