FOXBORO, Mass. — Ralph Webb was presented quite the opportunity Thursday night, and he certainly made it the most of it.
Webb, a 2018 undrafted free agent, made his NFL debut in the New England Patriots’ preseason opener against the Washington Redskins at Gillette Stadium. The Vanderbilt product made his presence felt, as his two rushing touchdowns and pair of two-point conversions helped lift the Patriots to a 26-17 victory.
Despite making such an impact in his first appearance on an NFL field, Webb downplayed his personal performance in favor of the greater goal.
“It’s exciting just to win,” Webb said. “I’m excited to get this win with my team, doing everything I can to help us win.”
The 23-year-old got Patriots fans out of their seats on his first successful two-point conversion roughly six minutes into the fourth quarter. Webb was the beneficiary of a well-designed play-action pass from quarterback Brian Hoyer, as he readjusted to make a tough catch and give New England its first lead of the game.
Webb’s grab was no easy feat, but if you ask him, he was just doing his job.
“Just going out there and doing what I’m supposed to do,” Webb said. “Ball is coming my way, I’m supposed to catch it and get in the end zone right there. Just playing to the best of my ability and doing my assignment on the play.”
Webb’s efforts didn’t go unnoticed by Bill Belichick, but the Patriots coach wasn’t exactly surprised by what he saw from the rookie back.
“I think that’s pretty much what we’ve seen from Ralph all the way through,” Belichick said. “It’s what he was like at Vanderbilt: he ran hard, he’s tough. He’s not the biggest guy, but he’s got good strength for his size and he runs hard. “… He’s a tough kid, runs with good pad level. He’s got good speed, catches the ball well. Made a nice catch on the two-point play. It was a low ball, made a good adjustment on the catch and got it in.
“It was good to see him in game action. Be able to break some tackles, get downhill, get some tough yards.”
Webb has his work cut out for him to make the Patriots’ roster. Aside from roster locks James White, Rex Burkhead and first-round pick Sony Michel, veteran RB Jeremy Hill also impressed Thursday night. Still, the youngster couldn’t have asked for a better start to his NFL journey.
“It’s a dream come true,” Webb said. “I’ve been working my whole life for this, to come out here and get a chance to compete. I’m just happy and blessed to be here and say that I did it.”
Thumbnail photo via Paul Rutherford/USA TODAY Sports