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Updated: December 30th, 2010 5:10pm
Notebook: Coaches will expand game plan for Joe Webb this week

Notebook: Coaches will expand game plan for Joe Webb this week

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- There was no shortage of feedback for Joe Webb after his triumphant starting debut as the Minnesota Vikings' quarterback on Tuesday night.

"I just pretty much was picking and choosing who I wanted to text back," said Webb, who threw for 195 yards, ran for a touchdown and didn't commit a turnover in the Vikings' 24-14 upset at Philadelphia.

"A lot of people texted me that I haven't talked to in like a year or two. It was all basically old friends telling me great job."

There are no guarantees about when or if Webb will start for the Vikings again. Veteran Brett Favre has a chance to return for Sunday's season finale at Detroit, the team's plans remain unsettled for 2011 and Webb indicated he's received no assurances he won't move back to receiver again this season.

But there is no question Webb made an impression on coaches, as well as teammates who had minimal work, if any, with the rookie sixth-round draft pick from UAB until Favre and top backup Tarvaris Jackson were injured earlier this month.

"I don't think anybody could say they expected this," receiver Percy Harvin said on Thursday. "I'm happy for him."

According to Harvin, Webb "was a little shaky" in the huddle in a loss to Chicago eight nights earlier, when he took over after Favre's concussion, struggled to sort out the Bears' coverages and threw two interceptions in a 40-14 washout.

On Tuesday, Webb "was getting the line straight, telling the receivers where he was looking at, changing the snap count," Harvin said. "He was a commander in there and he played great."

Webb admitted Vikings coaches "tried to simplify the offense for me as much as they can, just to make sure I would be able to play fast and not do a lot of thinking."

So, the next logical step in his development is handling a larger chunk of the playbook, which interim coach Leslie Frazier said is the plan this week in spite of reduced practice time.

"We're going to try to put a couple of wrinkles in there that may be able to help him, especially the fact that he's gained more confidence now because of the success he's had on Tuesday night," Frazier said. "We can open it up a little bit -- not very much more, because of the time we have to prepare -- but we do want to give him some opportunities both in the pass game and try to do some things in the run game that open up some things for him as well. We will give him a little bit more."

Meeting scheduled

Frazier said during his morning media conference with reporters that he planned to speak later in the day with members of the Vikings' ownership group to set up a time next week to discuss his future.

Owner Zygi Wilf has not made any public statements about the head-coaching situation since firing Brad Childress on Nov. 22 and installing Frazier as the interim coach.

However, the clock is ticking, since other teams may begin calling Frazier -- who has had seven interviews for head-coaching jobs in the past three offseasons -- about their vacancies beginning on Monday.

Asked whether he's prepared to give the Wilfs a right of first refusal, Frazier said, "This is where I want to be. I want to be with the Minnesota Vikings. But the most important thing for me and our team right now is to find a way to go to Detroit and get a road win against a much improved football team and that's where my focus and energy has to be along with our players, our staff. We've got a big task ahead of us."

Lightened load

Players were not in pads for Thursday's light practice, which lasted less than an hour. Friday's practice also was to be truncated to give players ample rest on a short week following Tuesday's snow-delayed win in Philadelphia.

"It's almost like preparing for a game when you're in the Thanksgiving week and you're playing on the Thanksgiving day game," Frazier said. "You cut out the Monday and Tuesday for the coaches that are days of preparation. For the players, Tuesday would ordinarily be a day off. So would Monday at this time of the year. There are a couple of days that they lose from a rehab standpoint, just getting their bodies back.

"It's dramatically different for us to start our preparation on a Wednesday for a Sunday game this time of year. It causes you to do some things differently, and we're adjusting. But we've had to do some things differently in the last three weeks that we have otherwise."

Some coaches got a head start on game planning earlier in the week with help from the Eagles' video staff, Frazier said.

Quick hits

• Tuesday's game drew 23.7 million viewers, according to NBC -- a larger audience than all but six "Sunday Night Football" games the network has broadcast since 2006.

• S Jamarca Sanford said Frazier told him he "played well" in his first start of the season on Tuesday. "Pointed out a few things technique-wise I can clean up," Sanford said. "But other than that, he told me my effort to the ball (was good) and just keep doing what I've been doing and just continue to improve and I'll be all right."

• CB Antoine Winfield said he couldn't recall blitzing more than twice in a game before interim DC Fred Pagac sent him 16 times on Tuesday. "I was tired," Winfield said, laughing. "Listen, I haven't ran that much in a game in a long time. I'm serious. Those blitzes -- I'm fighting off offensive linemen and tight ends and stuff like that, so it was fun. We came out with a big win and the game plan worked."

• LB Chad Greenway admitted he was disappointed by being left off the NFC Pro Bowl roster on Tuesday. "I think naturally, everybody who goes through a season is going to be disappointed," Greenway said. "I wanted to make it and was disappointed as anybody because of the amount of work that's gone into it. But everybody that's going deserves it, and you can't fault those guys for being selected.

• Webb said he hasn't talked recently with fired coach Brad Childress, who converted Webb back from receiver following rookie minicamp and was fired on Nov. 22. "Nah, I haven't heard nothing from Brad," Webb said, "but hopefully, we can talk pretty soon, just to get a good, nice closure and touch base on things."

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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