"It is just a different way for him to have to play," says one coach. "He just never was asked to be a run- and play-action QB. He is better in the gun, kind of Ben Roethlisbergering it. It's better to spread the field and give him options; let him use his legs to keep plays alive or pick out his receivers. It's too easy now to keep him in the pocket, and that's not his strong suit."
• He lacked an off-season to get familiar with his receivers. On several occasions on Sunday the timing between quarterback and receiver was noticeably off. After one incompletion McNabb motioned Aromashodu that he had expected him to come back for the ball instead of sitting in a spot after making his break. "I don't know that he's totally in sync with the offense," says one opposing coordinator. "He's definitely not where he needs to be. He's more of a pocket passer, and if he's not in sync with his receivers, it creates problems."
• His confidence has been shaken. McNabb, who needs only two more wins to become only the 12th quarterback to reach 100, chuckles at this suggestion, which has been made publicly by former Eagles teammate Hugh Douglas and privately by some members of the Vikings. "Once you start to second-guess yourself in this league, you're done," McNabb says. "Personally, I never second-guess myself. I don't lose confidence in myself."
Frazier hasn't lost confidence in McNabb either. "My hope is, by the time we get to December, all the naysayers will give Donovan his props, because he's one of the greatest quarterbacks to play this game," Frazier says. "How many guys can say they've achieved what he has in the National Football League?"
But if there's one thing McNabb has learned in his 13 NFL seasons, it's that a quarterback, even one as decorated as he is, can't survive long on reputation alone.