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Updated: September 28th, 2011 1:08pm
Donovan McNabb isn't sweating mechanics: 'Some throws you just miss'

Donovan McNabb isn't sweating mechanics: 'Some throws you just miss'

by Tom Pelissero
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Leslie Frazier said coaches have identified some mechanical issues they want to address this week in practice with Donovan McNabb.

But the Minnesota Vikings' veteran quarterback bristled on Wednesday when asked if he saw anything on tape that needs to change.

"No," McNabb said. "I think the thing about it, just when you're critical of yourself and your play, you just look at your reads, you look at how fast you can get the ball out. I think obviously footwork and things like that, but that's not just my position -- that's from everyone.

"As a quarterback, when you're watching yourself, you're going through everything. It's not just mechanics. It's ball placement, it's 'is it the right read,' things like that."

Through three games this season, McNabb ranks 24th among qualifying NFL passers in completion percentage (58.0%), 26th in passer rating (78.1), 27th in yards per attempt (5.9) and 30th in passing yards (159.3).

He threw 10 uncatchable passes in Sunday's loss to Detroit -- the Vikings' third straight to open the season -- and has only one completion longer than 24 yards, on a screen halfback Toby Gerhart took for 42 yards on Sept. 18 against Tampa Bay.

"Sometimes, you anticipate throws, or if you have pressure in your face, whatever it may be, you try to anticipate it -- especially versus man coverage," McNabb said. "You want to have the ball out before the DB even turns his head around and give your guy an opportunity. Some throws you just miss.

"For me, again, just evaluating myself and just watching each and every week, if it's over-striding on the throw, if it's trying to put it outside when the receiver's taking a step inside, whatever it may be, but those things definitely can be corrected and I look forward to it being corrected."

The Vikings' offensive issues haven't been all McNabb's fault. He was pressured on 20 of 42 pass plays (47.6%) against the Lions, repeatedly forcing him to evade a rusher before unloading the ball -- and at times McNabb seemed to be expecting pressure that wasn't there.

"There are times as a quarterback that people are making you move in the pocket or the rush is in your face," Frazier said. "It could affect your accuracy, for sure. It makes a difference. You're always talking about that from a defensive standpoint, trying to get the quarterback off his launch point."

Of course, it's also on the quarterback to overcome that pressure and remain accurate in the pocket -- something McNabb has struggled with throughout his 13-year career.

"You go into the anticipating and trying to get the ball out before obviously he gets closer or you try to slide up in the pocket," McNabb said. "That throws off a lot of things, and that's pretty much how (the Lions have) been having their success -- bringing their front four and maybe bringing another guy and just clogging up the middle where quarterbacks now even have to get the ball out of their hands and try to find a lane to run.

"I was trying to anticipate some throws (on Sunday), some throws I couldn't follow through with, but again, for me, it's just -- if it's taking another step back to get more room to follow through, whatever it may be, just anticipating and still giving our guys opportunities to work."

McNabb pointed to two throws he missed on Sunday to receiver Bernard Berrian, who had a step on cornerback Chris Houston late in regulation when McNabb's pass sailed out of bounds.

"If I could have kept it in bounds a little bit more, it could have been a whole different ballgame at the end," McNabb said.

Instead, the Vikings are 0-3 and speculation has begun about when the Vikings may turn to rookie Christian Ponder.

Frazier -- who said on Sunday he isn't considering a change for Sunday's game at Kansas City -- said coaches will work with McNabb "to make sure that we're launching the football from the right point, we're taking the proper drops, that our feet are where they need to be."

McNabb has been in this sort of position before. He was benched twice in his lost 2010 season with the Washington Redskins and was the subject of persistent criticism in his later days with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Asked how he deals with talk about being replaced, McNabb said, "I don't. I don't pay attention to it. I think the thing about it -- I've been in the situation before many times. Everybody loves the backup. But that's for every team.

"When things go well, the quarterback is the one who receives all the attention. When things go wrong, then they're the ones who gets criticized the most. But it's a team game, no matter what. If you're winning or losing, it's a team game, and as a quarterback, you just want to do whatever it takes in order to make sure you're on the winning side of things by taking care of your job and doing what needs to be done."

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