McNabb says mechanics talk ‘getting out of hand’

The Minnesota Vikings were leading by a lot, and their fans were

finally enjoying a victory.

The bounce passes by Donovan McNabb sure didn’t go unnoticed,

though. He was booed more than once during the 34-10 win over

Arizona, a reaction he said surprised but didn’t bother him.

During a week when the Vikings have been feeling the relief of

their first win and expressing optimism the momentum can continue

into the thick of their schedule, they’ve also been subject to

further scrutiny about the state of their passing game and whether

it’s competent enough to help even out their record.

That’s because McNabb connected on only 10 of his 21 throws last

Sunday against Arizona and through five weeks ranks in the bottom

six among NFL starting quarterbacks in completion percentage (56.8)

and yards passing (849). On one drive in the fourth quarter,

McNabb’s throw to Percy Harvin on a bubble screen bounced and his

rollout pass four plays later to Visanthe Shiancoe hit the turf

about five yards short of a seven-yard pattern.

On that one, McNabb saw Shiancoe stumble at the beginning of his

route. He said he tried to pull the ball back, concerned the

defender would be in position for an interception, but it slipped

out and wilted in front of him.

McNabb nodded as a question was asked about that throw, seeming

to acknowledge his mistake, but he has sidestepped the criticism as

often as he can.

”You understand what happened, and you move on to the next

play,” McNabb said.

Shortly after McNabb stepped behind the podium, heavy rain began

to hammer on the fieldhouse roof at Winter Park, making it

difficult for reporters to hear his responses. That’s typical of

McNabb, staying calm in the storm.

”There were obviously some throws I wanted back, but those are

things you do every week. It’s not just one week. You try to clean

that stuff up for the up and coming weeks because you know some

teams are going to try to duplicate what other teams have been able

to do against you,” McNabb said.

Coach Leslie Frazier mentioned casually a couple of weeks ago

the Vikings were examining McNabb’s throwing motion and footwork,

and the frequency of his erratic passes have kept the issue on the

hot topic list for fans and analysts.

”This whole mechanics thing is getting out of hand. Everybody

works on mechanics, no matter what position you play,” McNabb said

Wednesday at his weekly news conference, the closest he came to

showing any frustration about the continued attention on his

inaccuracy.

He added: ”I’m all about winning. I’m not about numbers.”

Make no mistake, though: McNabb has never been an exceptionally

accurate thrower, even while playing in the West Coast offense in

Philadelphia that’s based around low-risk passes.

McNabb’s best year was 2004, the season the Eagles went to the

Super Bowl. He connected on 64 percent of his throws, and he had

only eight interceptions against 31 touchdown tosses. But McNabb’s

career passing percentage is 58.9. Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, by

comparison, are above 65 percent.

His strengths have been an ability to run for first downs, throw

while rolling out or scrambling and avoid costly mistakes. Plus, he

led a lot of winning teams.

True to form with Minnesota, McNabb has moved well for a

34-year-old with spotty pass blocking in front of him and turned

the ball over just two times in five games. But the Vikings are

1-4, and he hasn’t been good enough to perform above the

work-in-progress offensive line or the group of receivers that

lacks a game-breaking, down-the-field target.

With Adrian Peterson running the ball and a reliable defense,

the Vikings don’t want McNabb to take risks. But perhaps there are

instances where he’s been too cautious, a delicate balance for any

quarterback to strike.

”He knows that. He’s had a ton of success in our league, and

sometimes you just have to let it go,” Frazier said. ”And he

will, and he has.”

Bernard Berrian can help McNabb get going as much as anyone on

the roster.

Stuck on the inactive list Sunday for a disciplinary reason,

Berrian declined to discuss his punishment or much on any other

subject when approached after practice Wednesday.

”That’s old news. I’m already over it. Can’t do nothing about

it now,” said Berrian, who has only two catches for 37 yards this

year.

Berrian said he believes his standing with the team – and his

chemistry with McNabb – is fine.

”I have always been a big believer in spreading the ball around

and getting guys involved. It’s not that I have been avoiding him

or trying to get the ball to him,” McNabb said. ”We are going to

connect on those. Those are things that will continue to evolve as

we move on.”

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