McNabb Cautiously Optimistic On Offense’s Progress

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 18, 2011 – 11:34 am

Some fans were quick to panic about the Vikings offense following a brief appearance by some of the first-teamers on Saturday night produced no points and little sign of explosion. But count the point man of the offense – QB Donovan McNabb – as one who is cautiously optimistic about the group’s progress.

“Yeah, we’re very excited where we’re at right now,” McNabb said. “But yet it’s still a work in progress. We made some big plays out here, running as well as throwing the ball. Communication-wise, I think the chemistry is flowing where we need it to be. But again, it’s just the beginning and we want to continue to get better each day.”

McNabb’s approach to the current status of the offense is professional, which shouldn’t be surprising considering this is his 13th season in the NFL. And he does have a point. Considering the starting QB just arrived fewer than three weeks ago and considering coordinator Bill Musgrave didn’t have the luxury of an offseason program, minicamps or Organized Team Activities (OTAs) to install his offense, the first-team offense didn’t look bad at all last Saturday night.

For the starting QB, the first preseason game is more about eliminating mental mistakes and perfecting fundamentals than it is about scoring points and accumulating statistics. To that end, McNabb was just fine last Saturday night. He was 6 of 11 for 40 yards with no TDs and no INTs. He completed his first three passes and four of his first five attempts. On McNabb’s first offensive series, the Vikings converted two third-down passes and drove from their own 7-yardline out to the 40.

McNabb came out for a second series and immediately hit WR Bernard Berrian on a quick slant. Then he lofted a touch pass to WR Greg Camarillo on 3rd and 3 to keep the drive going.

In the end, I came away encouraged with what I saw from McNabb and the first-team offense. Two of McNabb’s incompletions could’ve been caught, none of his passes were near-INTs and he used his athleticism to get out of the pocket to buy time. These are all good signs in the first preseason game.

An area to watch this weekend is the offensive line. There’s a new starter at LT, starting C John Sullivan is coming back from injury and there’s a good battle underneath Anthony Herrera at RG.

“The chemistry and the communication [are] definitely there,” McNabb said. “Myself and Sully, as well as Hutch and Herrera, just in the interior have really been communicating and seeing things the same. And obviously when you do that, your communication expands outside to the tackles and we’ll all be on the same page. I’m excited about what we’ve been able to do since everybody’s been able to practice, the way that we’ve continued to improve.

“Obviously this is Week-2-and-a-half for me, so I’m excited to see the progression that we’ve made and excited about what we’ve been able to do on the outside with the receivers and our running game. Again, there’s a lot of things we’ve got to clear up, but yet and still just looking at it, we’ve done some good things.”

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Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 49 Comments »

49 Responses to “McNabb Cautiously Optimistic On Offense’s Progress”

  1. By animal26 on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    I really think there is a real reason to panic about the Vikings offensive line. I’m hearing the same exact thing as last year. The offensive line is a “work in progress” and look what happened. Defenses were beating our offensive line like a drum. Not allowing Adrian Peterson or Toby Gerhart many running lanes open for them to hit and gain good yardage. The Qb’s were running for their lives. If this offensive line doesn’t get things together by week one, then the Vikings are in for some real trouble. This should have been something we addressed greatly when the lockout was lifted.

  2. By jackviking on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    They ended last year with 2 injured starters. Both should be back. Hutch was below par and all indications are he is healthy. Loadholdt should be improved considering he is still young and reportedly in better shape. And lastly, anything is better than Mckinnie last year. I fully expect improvement on the O-Line to improve.

  3. By Shawn on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    @Mike Wobs … I will agree McNabb played good for a week one preseason game.

    However all the rest of the excuses can be thrown out the window

    The Titans had ..

    1- a new QB
    2- new coaches
    3- no offseason to install the offense
    4- no minicamps
    5- no OTAs

    add in they had …

    6- no Chris Johnson
    7- no Kenny Britt ( their #1 WR )

    BUT THEY SCORED 14 POINTS ( :) for them )… WE SCORED 3 :( for us

  4. By Shawn on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    so since the last game everything was equal .. the only conclusion to make is we didnt play well

    yes its week 1 of the preseason so we have time to fix it … but we cant ignore problems

  5. By CJ2K on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    I think that Chris Johnson guy is their best player to … I could be wrong but isnt he one of the few guys in the history of the NFL to rush for 2000 yards?

  6. By Shawn on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    @Mike Wobschall … Have we used Ryan Cook in the Center rotation? I think he was the best Center we had last year and DeGear has been improving at RG

  7. By Shawn on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    @Mike Wobschall … The WR position hasnt been finalized but it looks like the depth chart is leaning towards …

    Jaymar Johnson

    so my question is do Manny Arceneaux and Juaquin Iglesias qualify for the practice squad?

    because I like the potential both of those guys have and personally I would rather have either one of them than Berrian

  8. By Shawn on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    maybe seattle seahawks would trade sidney rice for bernard berrian :)

  9. By Rory on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    shawn they didn’t score on any of our first team players so and ap hardly played percy harvin hardly played as well so theres no need to say that the vikings are terrible plus its a preseason it doesn’t really matter only thing that matters in preaseason is how your first team does and how the people you picked up and ur draft picks play not the score

  10. By Mike Wobschall on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Shawn – As you said, they scored 14 points. That will do you just as good as 3 points. The point of preseason games is to avoid injuries, install scheme, get a look at young players, show improvement. Winning is a nice touch, scoring is obviously the name of the game, but we’ve got to be careful not to put too much into these games, especially when it concerns the starting group.

    The Lions were undefeated in the preseason the year they were winless in the regular season.

  11. By Mike Wobschall on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Haven’t seen Cook at center…that’s been mainly John Sullivan with Jon Cooper and Brandon Fusco mixed in.

  12. By Frederick Jones on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Mike Wobschall, the point about the Lions being UNDEFEATED in the year they went winless is a great point.

    Hopefully the Vikings management will give Frazier enough time to develop a winner.

  13. By Rocksalt on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    OK for the last time on this(hopefully)
    It is not the W/L issue that some of us are concerned about…….
    Concern: Hasselbeck went down the field at will.
    Concern: Their RB for the first series gained @7 yds per carry.
    Concern: Our offense seemd to stall at key points
    Concern: Our DB’s looked lost.
    Concern: The Titans played with more intensity and purpose the whole game.

  14. By Rocksalt on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Berrian will have to prove himself this year……so far he has not been remotely worth what we spent on him………

  15. By Rocksalt on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Poll: Rate the Vikings exhibition opener (MPLS STAR TRIBUNE)
    # of votes % of votes
    Too many problems 1065 19%
    Weak, but it’s still early 3110 56%
    About average 775 14%
    Pretty good first effort 211 3%
    Showed lots of potential and promise 330 6%

    Total Votes 5475

  16. By Shawn on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    @Rock … you dont get it man, ITS NOT ABOUT WINNING

    If we had played well we might have won and thats not what preseason is about ….

    In fact now that I get it , I really dissapointed we scored 3 points … we probably came out too strong for an opening preseason game … might have shown our cards too soon

  17. By Shawn on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    no wonder Frazier looked unhappy … Chargers will probably have us all figured out by week one

  18. By Rocksalt on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    LOL Shawn, LOL!
    I think I get it ,now! Could we find a way to score in the negative numbers?

  19. By Rocksalt on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    We could call it anti-scoring

  20. By Rocksalt on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Now that I get it, I ,too can be “cautiously optimistic” HAHAHA

  21. By Rocksalt on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    or how about “optimistically cautious”
    or “caustically optimitious”
    or “optionally causticus”

  22. By Shawn on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Rock thats a good idea … maybe if we have our QBs only throw to Berrian when hes triple covered, and have our RBs run holding the ball in their fingertips we might be able to make enough mistakes to learn from

    The only problem is nobody would double cover Berrian let alone triple cover him …

    It would be impossible to teach and learn from playing good … AND THATS WHY WE HAVE PRESEASON

  23. By Shawn on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    YEA ME 2 ROCK !!!!!!!!!!!

    I am so glad I get it now ….

  24. By Rocksalt on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply


  25. By Shawn on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply


  26. By Shawn on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    I feel like Ive been reborn … and am opening my eyes for the first time.


  27. By Rocksalt on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Hahaha.good one Shawn! Wasn’t that a Skittles Ad?

  28. By Shawn on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    I think so … Vikings preseason sponsored by Skittles that would be appropriate

  29. By Rocksalt on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    go to ponder blog fred & titus are there…..

  30. By sandiamond on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Rock have you ever posted one positive thing on this site??

  31. By Rocksalt on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply


  32. By Rocksalt on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    that’s 2 positive things

  33. By Rocksalt on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    also, earlier blog I ststed that L booker and erin henderson each played well, along with Kluwe
    but it is hard to beat rainbows anhd unicorns..everybody loves them!

  34. By sandiamond on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Ok Rock I see you have a heart after all! still chasing the rainbow for that pot of gold

  35. By sandiamond on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    gosh! glad we don’t play the steelers this year. Defense complete domination from snap1 tonite

  36. By Arrow86 on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Shawn and Rocksalt: Let’s play A.P., Percy, Shiancoe, and Jared Allen all night. Then, during the season if an injury comes up, we can scratch are head and say, “I wonder if we cut the wrong guy to replace them?” Winning is keeping your starters healthy, and making sure you have the best depth behind them you can possibly get. The Packers had a ton of injuries last year, and won the Super Bowl because they had depth, and their guys bought in to what they were doing as a team.

  37. By Shawn on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    Arrow86 … even though I see the light now allow me to ask you a question

    Is it too much to expect our back ups play better than their back ups? You are trying to suggest the Titans played their starters the whole game and beat our 2nd / 3rd string players 14-3

    Rock , myself and others are suggesting that the players we put on the field did not play well … why is that so hard to grasp?

    Its not like EJ and Greenway were chasing Chris Johnson around the field … can you even remember the guys name that averaged 7 yards per carry with EJ and Greenway on the field?

    Asher Allen and Chris Cook were not covering the Titans #1 WR our back ups played their back ups poorly ….

    All we are saying is we played poorly, had we lost 14-10 who knows maybe it leaves a better taste but we didnt we scored 3 points on the Titans back ups

    Can you see the rainbow?

  38. By 8888 on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    It sucks to be a sports fan in minnesota.

  39. By Matt on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    @ shawn u just contradict urself, in one post you say points dont matter in offseason so they shouldnt try……… now your saying the vikings got outplaye 14 to 3………… stop posting you sound like an imbecile

  40. By Boo on Aug 18, 2011 | Reply

    McNabb = Superbowl!

  41. By Dan on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    Shawn you can say they didnt play well all day long because the other team scored 14 points but if you can hold a team to 14 points in the regular season you win 9 out of 10 games. You have also seemed to lose the fact that many of our starters didnt play or played very little. On D Allen, Williams, Winfield and Cedric Griffen did not play a single snap.

  42. By PURPLEHORNET76 on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    Lets get this straight.You can be 16-0 , but you lose the first game of the play-offs .Does the pre -season matter at all ?…..NOT REALLY… GO VIKES……

  43. By David P on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    So I guess since the non starters played so bad in the first game should vikings fans be concerned because the way it looks there is no depth on this team. You cannot talk out of both sides of your head. The fact is the vikings played poorly regardless of what string was playing. Yes the preseason is used to install game features, look at player progression and set up a depth chart. Based on one game the depth chart is full of players that cannot play. They need to bring it this week. I also still think that the DB’s are going to get used this week. We will see.

  44. By Bornagain1 on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    I’m afraid Philip Rivers, Vincent Jackson and Co. are already licking their chops at out pass defense (If you are willing to call it that) Our hope will be that Jared Allen and the d-line will bring enough pressure that the DB”s won’t be exposed. NOT optimistic there or with our o-line.

  45. By Woodboat on Aug 19, 2011 | Reply

    You can’t judge our defense by their preseason performance. The team purposely doesn’t game plan for the opposition, and most of the plays they run are vanilla. Preseason is used to judge effort and ability of your prospective team, not to outscore the other squad.

    That being said, our first string O-Line got mauled badly by the Titans. The defensive line that got trotted out on the field, absent Williams and Allen, got punished as well. The game is decided in the trenches, and our trench guys got their backsides handed to them. If they don’t improve, kiss any hopes of playoffs goodbye.

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