|Did McNabb struggle with the offense in Minnesota, too? (AP)|
Posted by Ryan Wilson
Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder makes his first start today, replacing the eminently replaceable Donovan McNabb who, in just over a year, has been benched for a retread (Rex Grossman) and now a rookie. At some point, it isn't the situation, or the offense or the other players -- it's McNabb.
Whatever the reason for the falloff, the results have been the same the last two seasons: McNabb on the sidelines wearing a baseball hat and looking like he can't believe his luck. Well, if the report from NFL Network's Michael Lombardi is any indication, this has nothing to do with good fortune and almost everything to do with preparation.
"McNabb is at a point in his career that he does not seem to want to put in the time, willing to show up late for meetings and practice, and expects to just play well," Lombardi Friday. "He failed to really grasp the offense in Minnesota (as he did in Washington), having trouble spitting the plays out quickly -- which meant the play sheet on his arm got bigger and bigger. It did not take long before McNabb's lack of commitment was seen by the older players, causing them to understand that a move had to be made."
Lombardi reiterated this again Sunday morning on NFL GameDay Morning.
"Really, it's just the tip of the iceberg. Donovan hasn't really been putting the time in to be the great player. What happened in Washington -- the lack of work habits -- has now gone into Minnesota.
"And what I was told by people in the Vikings organization was that he's the last one in the building, he's the first one gone, he's not willing to put the time in, late for meetings, late for practice. So they have basically thrown up their hands and said we need to move on because ultimately that's not what we want in a quarterback. … If you go back and talk to people in Philadelphia they'll say there were questionable work habits."
And that leads to this: why would the Redskins give up a second-round pick -- in the division -- for a guy they knew wasn't willing to work? And worse: why would the Vikings do the same thing an offseason later?
"The reality of the situation," Lombardi said Sunday, "is that Minnesota knew this (about McNabb). Bill Musgrave, the offensive coordinator, and (Redskins head coach) Mike Shanahan have a relationship. Before Musgrave took (McNabb) on, they knew exactly what they were getting. They were hoping they could change him. They were hoping that he was going to rekindle his career. But essentially what happened in Minnesota is what happened in Washington."
For what it's worth, Kurt Warner, now working for NFL Network, talked to McNabb who told him that Lombardi's report was 'crazy.' Either way, he's now Ponder's backup.
CBS Sports' James Brown, Dan Marino, Bill Cowher, Shannon Sharpe, and Boomer Esiason break down the Monday night matchup in Jacksonville between the Ravens and the Jaguars.
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