McNabb doing fine with only go-to guy(s) Print
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Thursday, 06 November 2008 12:17
NFL Headline News

 PHILADELPHIA (AP) -Surely all NFL fans have heard of Donovan McNabb.
Star quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles. Plays in Pro Bowls, playoffs games and shares TV time with him mom in commercials.
Those guys he throws passes to every week? Don't worry, most fans outside Philadelphia can't name its receivers.
McNabb's career usually has included the ``Who is that guy?'' receiver instead of a real go-to guy.
Except for one spectacular season with Terrell Owens in 2004, McNabb has never played with a true star wideout.
No standout stud, no consistent 100-yard performer, no flashy receiver defenses dread facing. Instead of a real No. 1 target, McNabb has built a career filled with Pro Bowls, four NFC title games and a Super Bowl around a cast of thousands largely not known outside of Philadelphia.
They might not have to be famous, just reliable.
tight ends here. We have some talented receivers and running backs. When given that opportunity and you call plays for them, then that gives them a better opportunity to be successful.''
Plenty have passed through Philadelphia with that opportunity.
Charles Johnson and Torrance Small. Todd Pinkston and James Thrash. Freddie Mitchell, Greg Lewis, Donte' Stallworth. Most of them weren't worth owning on a fantasy football team, much less trying to count on in the NFL to win a championship.
Those are the receivers McNabb has been saddled with for his 10 years in Philadelphia.
While this year's group doesn't boast any stars, or even anyone in the top 20 in receiving, they may be McNabb's best bunch yet.
No T.O. and his touchdown dances. Only rookie DeSean Jackson leading the way on an offense that ranks third in the NFL in yards receiving (2,249).
``The scheme fits him right and he's got some players around him that can help him spread the ball around and make plays,'' Jackson said.
Even the offensive linemen are getting in on the fun.
On the 1-yard line and the score tied against Seattle, McNabb rolled out on a trick play and connected with left guard Todd Herremans for the go-ahead touchdown.
n his last 11 starts dating back to 2007.
``Right now he's doing a pretty good job of spreading things around,'' coach Andy Reid said. ``It probably comes down more to play calls than anything.''
McNabb has thrown an Eagles record 181 career TD passes to 34 receivers. Jackson and Herremans joined the list this year. His favorite all-time target isn't even a wideout - it's dynamic running back Brian Westbrook.
Westbrook has caught 327 passes from McNabb (counting the postseason), well above former tight end Chad Lewis (200). Another former running back, Duce Staley, is third. Pinkston (173) and Thrash (154) are next and the first wideouts on the list.
Owens caught 132 passes from McNabb in his brief, entertaining and controversial stint with the Eagles. T.O. also had 20 TD catches from McNabb, putting him second on the list behind Westbrook's 23.
Herremans' surprising touchdown catch gave the Eagles 15 players this year with a reception. Some of that is because of injury: L.J. Smith, Kevin Curtis and Reggie Brown have all missed games with various injuries.
When someone like Smith or Curtis goes down, there's often a Brent Celek or Jackson to thrive in their place.
ckson leads the Eagles with 34 catches for 525 yards and a touchdown. No receiver has more than two.
Smith missed the Seahawks game with a concussion, allowing second-year tight end Celek a chance to start. He caught six passes for 131 yards - the highest single-game yardage total by an Eagles tight end in a regular-season game since Pete Retzlaff gained 148 yards at St. Louis in 1965.
``Run great routes and if you come open, you get the ball,'' McNabb said. ``Everyone, I believe, that has played on the offensive side who can catch the ball has caught balls and has picked up yards for us.''
Still, it's hard not to imagine how much greater McNabb's career would be had he played either longer with Owens, or had another superstar receiver at his side. McNabb's best year came with Owens in the Super Bowl season of 2004 when he threw for career highs in yards (3,875) touchdowns (31) and had his best QB rating (104.7).
McNabb has never tried to dwell on the absence of a standout wideout and has never offered anything but praise for whatever receivers he has on a given Sunday. No excuses necessary.
``Some people can take it, some people can't,'' Jackson said.
Count McNabb as a quarterback who can take it.
 

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