Joe Webb could give Panthers three QBs

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Don't be surprised to see Joe Webb make the Carolina Panthers' 53-man roster as the third quarterback.

Carolina kept only two quarterbacks in 2013, a philosophy general manager Dave Gettleman brought with him from the New York Giants.

But with starter Cam Newton coming off left ankle surgery and the team needing a running quarterback to emulate what Newton does out of the read-option, Webb has a chance to make the team.

"Without a doubt,'' coach Ron Rivera said on Friday. "That's why he's here, to compete for that spot.''

Webb ran some red zone drills with the first-team offense during Friday's practice, moved from morning to afternoon because of rain. He completed a short touchdown pass to Brenton Bersin.

"There were a couple of good plays he made, good cuts, good reads,'' Rivera said. "That's what you're looking for, how well he fits.''

Backup quarterback Derek Anderson is secure. He signed a two-year deal worth $2.56 million during the offseason. The Panthers like his experience and ability to run the passing game should Newton get hurt.

What Anderson can't do is run the read-option. Webb was known for his running ability at UAB, where as a senior in 2009 he rushed for 1,427 yards while passing for 2,299.

Rivera said it was important for Webb and the Panthers to put him with the first team some as the team limits Newton's runs during training camp, a trend that possibly could continue when the season begins.

"That's what we're basing him on, is when we do some of the Cam stuff, how well does he do it?'' he said. "He's right in the thick of things for us.''

Rivera also likes what Webb has done with the hurry-up offense while working with the third team, saying he's "really natural'' in that situation.

Rivera added there are no plans to move Webb to wide receiver, where he played in a reserve role last season with the Minnesota Vikings.

"We're looking at him as a quarterback, as a guy that fits our system,'' Rivera said.