McNabb Comparisons More Familiar

Earlier in the week, Vikings coach Brad Childress referenced Peyton Manning's first six NFL starts when talking of Tarvaris Jackson's struggles. Wednesday, it was Childress' former pupil, Donovan McNabb, who was the point of reference. See what Childress, McNabb and Eagles coach Andy Reid had to say about the topic.

Earlier in the week, the comparisons were made between Tarvaris Jackson and Peyton Manning six starts into their professional careers. Wednesday at Winter Park, Vikings coach Brad Childress talked about a more personal development of a quarterback – as he and Donovan McNabb broke into the NFL together.

"There are similarities," Childress said, adding later that McNabb was brought along slowly. "Similarities … In the first few games that he started I can remember Warren Sapp chasing him all over Veterans Stadium because we did about two things. We could throw the quick game and we ran nakeds, and that is what we did well and we were just trying to get the other stuff accomplished."

The Vikings seem to have given Jackson more of the offense in his first six starts, but the results haven't always been pretty in the early going, and that is the case for many young quarterbacks.

McNabb started for the first time in his career in Week 10 of his rookie season (1999), completing only 8 of 21 (38.1 percent) of his passes with no touchdowns or interceptions and three sacks, yet the Eagles beat the Redskins 35-28.

McNabb's successes slowing started to creep up from there. In his second start, he completed 19 of 36 passes (52.8 percent) for 165 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, and over his next four starts he completed 57 of 108 (52.8 percent) for 557 yards. His passer ratings in his first six starts were 46.3, 51.3, 99.1, 82.3, 24.4 and 69.7.

In total over his first six starts, McNabb completed 84 of 167 (50 percent) passes for 782 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions.

"I think he got better every year. I think the injury either his second or third year set him back where he was really progressing and then he was out for six games," Childress said of McNabb's early years. "I still think we went to the NFC Championship, but you know I think each year Andy (Reid) used to say a lot of times it takes four years, five years. You are seeing some of these guys when you look at the (Tony) Romos that sit for three, Tom Brady I believe started in this third. All of those guys are a little bit different circumstances; they all weren't Peyton Manning where they came in and started from game one. Some of them, like the (Steve) McNairs, were able to sit and feed for a while."

Jackson sat for most of his first rookie season before starting the final two games of 2006. He had one touchdown and three interceptions last year in his starts, and this year he has two touchdowns and five interceptions.

Jackson is coming off a dismal performance in Dallas, where he completed 6 of 16 passes for 72 yards and a 44.2 rating. So far, he has had ratings of 35.4, 62.5, 75.1, 26.4 and 73.8 and 44.2 in his six starts.

McNabb said Jackson is going through many of the things that the Philly signal-caller experienced in his first years in the league.

"I see a lot of similarities. I think in a situation like that, you're young (and) you want to make every play possible. When you don't make the plays that you know you're capable of making, it's frustrating," McNabb said. "I've talked to him a couple of times and just make sure to let him know to continue to keep his head up and stay confident and continue to prepare yourself so that the team will continue to see that. Everyone will begin to follow, knowing that you are working hard at it. Things are going to change, and once again, out on the field just make as many plays as possible."

Childress said he didn't set up the conversation between McNabb and Jackson a couple weeks ago, but he doesn't mind the veteran offering the second-year player a little advice here and there.

"It just might help him through some of the adversities that you go though. It's not all rosy when you first start. Everybody doesn't get to throw 70 percent, have a 100.0 quarterback rating," Childress said. "It's just a matter of learning the system as you go through. … I think (Brett) Favre told him, ‘Hey, you're about to step off here with all the verbiage and the wording and stuff like that. It's going to be a different deal than you're used to.' I imagine he told him to stay the course, be a little bit better every week, and learn what he is teaching you."

Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid said it's just a process for a quarterback to learn the system.

"(Childress) has got a young quarterback that is getting better every game, and that offense will just keep snowballing and he'll be able to keep adding things in there every week and make it even more powerful as the years go on here," Reid said.


  • Childress and Reid go way back in their coaching days together. Childress was the offensive coordinator at Northern Arizona University when Reid was the offensive line coach in 1986. Also on that staff in the late 1980s were current Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan.

  • Jackson, who was limited in practice Wednesday with his fractured right index finger, said the finger is starting to feel better. He was throwing passes in practice and didn't look to be severely limited during the media-access portion.

    "It feels a lot better than it did Monday or yesterday, too," Jackson said. Both Jackson and Childress indicated that receiving a snap could be another issue.

  • On the injury report, Jackson was limited, along with FB Naufahu Tahi (knee), DE Erasmus James (shoulder), TE Visanthe Shiancoe (groin), RB Chester Taylor (groin) and G Anthony Herrera (knee). LB Vinny Ciurciu (ankle) and S Dwight Smith (hamstring) did not participate.

    For the Eagles, S Brian Dawkins (personal), T Jon Runyan (glute) and LB Takeo Spikes (shoulder) did not participate in Wednesday's practice for the Eagles. CB Lito Sheppard (knee) was limited. TE L.J. Smith, whom Vikings coach Brad Childress seemed especially interested in, participated fully.

  • The Vikings re-signed guard Brian Daniels to their practice squad. Daniels said he was pretty confident he would be brought back on the practice squad after the Vikings cut him from the 53-man roster to make room for S Eric Frampton. Daniels said he was talking with a couple of other teams, but that was all practice-squad opportunities as well.

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