Musgrave says OL did well, takes blame for QB

Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave is taking the blame for Sunday's poor offensive showing in the passing game. He said the offensive line played well and he needs to get Donovan McNabb in a rhythm. Plus, E.J. Henderson has swelling in his knee and missed Thursday's practice and the Vikings are sticking with the "Blazer" package.

Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave knows the numbers – 39 yards passing from Donovan McNabb – and said protection wasn't a big problem in Sunday's season opener against the San Diego Chargers. Instead, Musgrave put the blame on himself, saying he didn't get McNabb into a rhythm.

"On Sunday, especially in the second half, we just didn't get him in a rhythm. When we say ‘we,' I mean, really it starts with me," Musgrave said, "so we'll look forward to getting him in a rhythm from here on out so he can, of course, be more effective, which will keep him on the field and ultimately end up in the end zone."

McNabb, making his debut in a Vikings uniform, had his first pass intercepted when it was batted at the line of scrimmage. But he ended up completing 6 of 9 passes for 37 yards in the first half. In the second half, he was 1-for-6 for 2 yards.

San Diego's defense appeared to get good pressure, but it only sacked McNabb twice and was credited with two quarterback hurries.

"I thought our O-line did a good job," Musgrave said, pointing out that the Chargers tied for second in the league last year with 47 sacks.

"I think our pass protection is quite good. Our guys have done a good job of bonding together. We're happy with Charlie [Johnson] at left tackle. We've got our older guys, I should say our experienced guys, at the guard positions. [John Sullivan] has had a super offseason and we know we feel good about Phil [Loadholt] at the right tackle. Our protection is doing well and we're looking forward to showing that in production from here on out, unlike we did on Sunday."

Not only was McNabb limited to 39 yards passing (28 net after the two sacks), the Vikings averaged only 1.6 yards per attempt, easily the lowest in the league during opening weekend. Their stated mantra has been to establish the run – Adrian Peterson averaged 6.1 yards on 16 carries – but Musgrave admitted that they need to improve on their downfield passes.

San Diego was credited with nine "deep" passes before the Vikings took their only shot downfield in the fourth quarter.

"That's what we're based on is running the ball, featuring Adrian and at the same time getting our quarterback in a rhythm, both down the field and in possession and control-type passes," Musgrave said. "That's what we want to be and that's what we will be."

Their only attempt came on a fourth-quarter incompletion to Berrian. That play may have summed up the issues for the Vikings passing game in a nutshell. McNabb felt some pressure, Berrian had at least a couple steps on cornerback Antoine Cason, but the pass was underthrown because of the pressure.

"It looks like the corner recovered at the last second. While he may have been unaware that the ball was coming, it happened to hit him in the forearm or the elbow," Musgrave said. "That's a little bit the way the second half went. We're not happy about it. We're looking forward to making up for lost ground starting this week."

Musgrave said there might have been one other play in which the first read should have been a deep pass. That came in the first quarter when tight end Visanthe Shiancoe was supposed to be the deep target but was covered. McNabb ended up checking the ball down.

"We sure envisioned it going different than it did in the second half. I think we've done a good job this week of leaving no stone unturned, not only as far as coaches, but also players, so we can get those corrected in the future," Musgrave said.

E.J. HENDERSON HAS SWELLING IN HIS KNEE

Vikings middle linebacker E.J. Henderson woke up with swelling in his knee Thursday and was held out of practice, according to Vikings coach Leslie Frazier. The coaching staff is holding out hope that Henderson will still be able to play on Sunday. He practiced fully on Wednesday without incident.

"We'll see how he feels tomorrow when he wakes up. If there's a problem tomorrow, then you have to get a little more concerned. We'll see," Frazier said.

Henderson is getting an X-ray, but not a magnetic resonance imaging test, in an attempt to determine what the issue is.

In his place, the Vikings used Xavier Adibi and E.J.'s brother Erin Henderson at middle linebacker. Kenny Onatolo was used in Erin's spot at weakside linebacker when Erin was used in the middle.

In addition to Henderson, DE Adrian Awasom (knee) didn't participate in Thursday's practice.

"Same deal, has some swelling in his knee," Frazier said of Awasom, "and just decided to hold him back. [He] should be able to practice tomorrow."

CB Allen (toe) and WR Jenkins (groin) full participants.

For the Bucs, TE Kellen Winslow returned to practice after missing Wednesday for a non-injury-related reason. CB Myron Lewis (ankle) was limited and DE Da'Quan Bowers (shoulder) was added to the injury report as a limited participant.

STICKING WITH THE ‘BLAZER'

The Vikings didn't have much success when they inserted Joe Webb into the game for their "Blazer" package, named after the nickname of Webb's alma mater at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

Webb lost two yards on his first carry, then handed off to Percy Harvin, who gained two yards, setting up third-and-10 at the end of the third quarter. The Vikings ended up putting McNabb back at quarterback and he was pressured into another incompletion when linebacker Antwan Barnes beat Charlie Johnson.

"Not very many things we did in the second half were effective. We'll look forward to correcting that," Musgrave said when asked about inserting Webb. "We feel like Joe has merit. Joe is a super playmaker and we'd love to have Joe with the ball in his hands, whether it be quarterback or wide receiver. We'll continue to feature Joe when we feel like the time and place is right."


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.



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\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave knows the numbers – 39 yards passing from Donovan McNabb – and said protection wasn't a big problem in Sunday's season opener against the San Diego Chargers. Instead, Musgrave put the blame on himself, saying he didn't get McNabb into a rhythm. \"On Sunday, especially in the second half, we just didn't get him in a rhythm. When we say ‘we,' I mean, really it starts with me,\" Musgrave said, \"so we'll look forward to getting him in a rhythm from here on out so he can, of course, be more effective, which will keep him on the field and ultimately end up in the end zone.\" McNabb, making his debut in a Vikings uniform, had his first pass intercepted when it was batted at the line of scrimmage. But he ended up completing 6 of 9 passes for 37 yards in the first half. In the second half, he was 1-for-6 for 2 yards. San Diego's defense appeared to get good pressure, but it only sacked McNabb twice and was credited with two quarterback hurries. \"I thought our O-line did a good job,\" Musgrave said, pointing out that the Chargers tied for second in the league last year with 47 sacks. \"I think our pass protection is quite good. Our guys have done a good job of bonding together. We're happy with Charlie [Johnson] at left tackle. We've got our older guys, I should say our experienced guys, at the guard positions. [John Sullivan] has had a super offseason and we know we feel good about Phil [Loadholt] at the right tackle. Our protection is doing well and we're looking forward to showing that in production from here on out, unlike we did on Sunday.\" Not only was McNabb limited to 39 yards passing (28 net after the two sacks), the Vikings averaged only 1.6 yards per attempt, easily the lowest in the league during opening weekend. Their stated mantra has been to establish the run – Adrian Peterson averaged 6.1 yards on 16 carries – but Musgrave admitted that they need to improve on their downfield passes. San Diego was credited with nine \"deep\" passes before the Vikings took their only shot downfield in the fourth quarter. \"That's what we're based on is running the ball, featuring Adrian and at the same time getting our quarterback in a rhythm, both down the field and in possession and control-type passes,\" Musgrave said. \"That's what we want to be and that's what we will be.\" Their only attempt came on a fourth-quarter incompletion to Berrian. That play may have summed up the issues for the Vikings passing game in a nutshell. McNabb felt some pressure, Berrian had at least a couple steps on cornerback Antoine Cason, but the pass was underthrown because of the pressure. \"It looks like the corner recovered at the last second. While he may have been unaware that the ball was coming, it happened to hit him in the forearm or the elbow,\" Musgrave said. \"That's a little bit the way the second half went. We're not happy about it. We're looking forward to making up for lost ground starting this week.\" Musgrave said there might have been one other play in which the first read should have been a deep pass. That came in the first quarter when tight end Visanthe Shiancoe was supposed to be the deep target but was covered. McNabb ended up checking the ball down. \"We sure envisioned it going different than it did in the second half. I think we've done a good job this week of leaving no stone unturned, not only as far as coaches, but also players, so we can get those corrected in the future,\" Musgrave said. Vikings middle linebacker E.J. Henderson woke up with swelling in his knee Thursday and was held out of practice, according to Vikings coach Leslie Frazier. The coaching staff is holding out hope that Henderson will still be able to play on Sunday. He practiced fully on Wednesday without incident. \"We'll see how he feels tomorrow when he wakes up. If there's a problem tomorrow, then you have to get a little more concerned. We'll see,\" Frazier said. Henderson is getting an X-ray, but not a magnetic resonance imaging test, in an attempt to determine what the issue is. In his place, the Vikings used Xavier Adibi and E.J.'s brother Erin Henderson at middle linebacker. Kenny Onatolo was used in Erin's spot at weakside linebacker when Erin was used in the middle. In addition to Henderson, DE Adrian Awasom (knee) didn't participate in Thursday's practice. \"Same deal, has some swelling in his knee,\" Frazier said of Awasom, \"and just decided to hold him back. [He] should be able to practice tomorrow.\" CB Allen (toe) and WR Jenkins (groin) full participants. 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