NFL history has shown that some of the most successful offensive coaching minds were that of backup quarterbacks in their playing days who became x’s and o’s gurus once they ditched the pads for a clipboard and visor.
Think of names like Gary Kubiak, Frank Reich, Doug Pederson, Jason Garrett, and yes, even Denver Broncos coach Sean Payton (backup QB for the Chicago Bears in 1987). There are many other examples of backup position players who went on to become anywhere from good assistants to great head coaches, and it’s quite possible the Broncos have found one for the upcoming season.
Davis Webb is new to the coaching profession. Following a successful college career at both Texas Tech and California, he ended up a third round pick by the New York Giants in 2017, bounced around a bit, and then finished his career with the Giants this past season. He never became a presence on the field, but he may have found a knack for something that he could be able to do far beyond his playing career.
Yahoo! Sports Jori Epstein reported on his last season with the Giants, along with his upcoming season as QB coach for the Broncos, and the young 28-year old may have found his true calling as his playing career winded down.
He didn’t spend last year as just the Giants’ third-string quarterback, readying for relief snaps that ultimately came only in a Week 18 start. Webb also delivered advance scouting reports to quarterbacks coach Shea Tierney each Friday evening or Saturday morning for the opponent who loomed not that week but the next.
What coaching philosophies and backgrounds should the Giants heed as they develop a game plan? Which looming cornerback was stiff but flashed good ball skills, and how best should the offense attack him? Webb embraced spirited debate.
That kind of attention to detail and passion for game planning made its way around the league, all the way to Sean Payton.
Payton is old school. He likes guys who knows and guys who he can trust. Therefore, for him to go outside his circle of trust in regards to assembling his staff, someone was really going to have to stick out. Webb did.
“It was a little bit happenchance, because I didn’t have the tie,” Payton told Yahoo Sports. “Then, the deeper we kept researching [Webb], the more we were like, ‘Holy cow.’”
While it’s important to note that Webb is young and without coaching experience, equally as important could be the men he learned from in his backup role, most notably New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll, the man whose offensive acumen helped turn Josh Allen from a mid-major project into an NFL superstar. Both Daboll and Bills head coach Sean McDermott gave their endorsement to Payton.
Once the Broncos brass interviewed Webb, the room was nearly unanimous in their belief that the team had to bring him in to aid in the difficult task of turning around the career of QB Russell Wilson.
Webb’s knowledge, communication skills and poise “blew away” the Broncos, general manager George Paton said. Payton also marveled at Webb’s level of organization and detail when learning Webb has kept and organized every game plan from each of his high school, college and NFL stops. Webb’s personal coaching notes accompany each file.
Webb not only learned under some coaching greats in the NFL, but he also gained extensive knowledge at Texas Tech under Kliff Kingsbury while backing up future superstar Patrick Mahomes. Call him the Forrest Gump of football in a way. In the background of some football greatness, Webb may be found lurking.
The rookie position coach has hit the ground running since his hiring, connecting with all of his QBs, not just Wilson, as best he can, and even started an Instagram group chat with the group passing on conditioning and workout regimens.
Still, it’s a tall, arduous task for someone as young and inexperienced as Webb to have placed upon them.
Russell Wilson is coming off the biggest flop/crisis of character situation since Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn attempted a PR-backed rebranding in Major League II. Except that was Hollywood, and this is the real world.
Wilson is going to have to shake off some serious funk, both on the field as well as in-between his ears, from last season, and people like Brian Daboll, Sean McDermott, Eli Manning, and Sean Payton appear young Davis Webb is up to the challenge.
Sean Payton is an offensive genius in his own right and will do everything he can to get the best out of Wilson, but having a young, hungry, and intelligent mind in Webb to back him up may just be the combination needed to get Wilson back to the player the team thought they were getting last offseason, and therefore getting the Broncos back into contention.
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