The Vikings have been evaluating Donovan McNabb's mechanics this week, a response to the inaccuracy that has bogged down the 34-year-old quarterback and the Minnesota offense. McNabb has one turnover, an interception on his first play from scrimmage off a batted pass at the line, through three games. But several of his throws have been uncatchable, one-hoppers or airballs that sailed over the heads of his targets. That has been one big reason the Vikings (0-3) haven't been able to build on their halftime leads.
McNabb ranks 26th in the league with a 78.1 passer rating. He's shown he can still hustle for a first down or hit his target while rolling out but, as long as he's unable to complete any deep throws, McNabb can't afford those medium-range passes to fall incomplete.
When asked this week what might be causing some of those one-hoppers, Coach Leslie Frazier said the Vikings were examining the way McNabb drops into the pocket, uses his feet when he's there and releases the ball.
"It's not a whole lot different than, say, a guy who is a Cy Young winner in baseball," Frazier said. "You're always trying to improve."
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McNabb didn't sound as if he wholeheartedly welcomed the focus on his fundamentals.
"When you're critical of yourself and your play, you just look at your reads, you look at how fast you can get the ball out," McNabb said. "Obviously, you look at footwork and things of that nature, but that's not just at my position. That's from everyone."
Painter to start for Colts
The Colts are preparing as though Curtis Painter will be their starting quarterback at Tampa Bay on Monday. Kerry Collins is recovering after suffering concussion-like symptoms Sunday against Pittsburgh, and his status remains in doubt. That means the Colts are getting Painter ready for what would be his first NFL start. Indy signed quarterback Dan Orlovsky to the active roster on Wednesday to provide depth.
Around the league
Browns: Linebacker D'Qwell Jackson was selected Thursday as the AFC's top defensive player for September. Jackson, who missed 26 straight games over the past two seasons because of chest injuries, recorded 30 tackles, 2½ sacks, forced a fumble and recovered one in helping the Browns win two of their first three games.
Cardinals: Running back Beanie Wells said Thursday he is optimistic about his chances of playing Sunday against the Giants.
Giants: Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora practiced on a limited basis for the second straight day Thursday, and it appears he will play for the first time this season at Arizona on Sunday.
Jets: Cornerback Antonio Cromartie returned to practice Thursday and was a full participant four days after suffering a bruised lung and ribs in the team's loss at Oakland. Center Nick Mangold was also in full uniform for the first time since suffering an ankle sprain two weeks ago but didn't participate in team drills. He could be a game-time decision Sunday in Baltimore.