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McNabb shakyin 'Skins' pocket
Redskins visit Bears

 A porous offensive line has resulted in Donovan McNabb (5) taking a number of hits this season, but the QB's decision-making has also hindered the Redskins' offense.
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Date published: 10/24/2010

BY RICH CAMPBELL

ASHBURN

--It was a simple two-man concept that produced a wide-open receiver. The correct decision should have been obvious to a veteran quarterback such as Donovan McNabb.

Receivers Santana Moss and Joey Galloway lined up wide left on third-and-9 from the Green Bay 33. Galloway ran a deep post route, clearing the inside linebacker from the middle of the field and allowing Moss to run free on a 9-yard cross. Washington trailed by 3 points late in the fourth quarter, and extending the drive could have led to a go-ahead touchdown. This was the opportunity. Pitch, catch, move the chains--simple.

McNabb, however, did not recognize the easy play. Instead, he threw deep to Galloway in coverage. The result was an incompletion, followed by a missed field goal.

"He just missed the read and got a little greedy and wanted the big play," offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. "I think he, more than anyone, wishes he had it back."

Even the best quarterbacks in the NFL miss reads, but McNabb's mistake on that play may be symptomatic of a larger issue. Through six games, he is not fully comfortable in the Redskins' offense. His stats to this point provide ammunition for those supporting the Philadelphia Eagles' decision to give up on him.

Redskins players and coaches believe that McNabb's sputtering start is the product of unfamiliarity with a new system. He will improve over time, they insist. Meanwhile, coaches are working with his lower-body mechanics to try to speed up the process.

"We are learning a new offense, getting accustomed to the guys, getting out and doing what we need to do," McNabb said. "That is something that is a progression."

McNabb on his radio show this week said that his comfort level in the Redskins' offense is only a 7.5 out of 10. His numbers this season support that assertion.

His 58.1 completion percentage ranks 26th in the NFL, behind such household names as Buffalo's Ryan Fitzpatrick and Detroit's Shaun Hill. By contrast, he was 60 percent or better in each of his final three seasons in Philadelphia.

His interception rate of 2.3 percent is equal to last year's, but his touchdown rate of 2.3 is well below his 5.0 mark from a year ago.


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REDSKINS (3-3) at BEARS (4-2)

WHEN: Today, 1 p.m. WHERE: Soldier Field, Chicago TV: Fox (channels 5, 35) RADIO: WGRQ-FM 95.9