Vikings QB Donovan McNabb vs. Bears cover-2 defense
Donovan McNabb has had his mechanics criticized as the main reason he has been so inaccurate this season that he finally snapped at his Wednesday press conference:
"This whole mechanics thing is getting out of hand," he said. "Somebody says something about mechanics — everybody works on your mechanics, no matter what position you play. This whole mechanics thing is really something that I haven't changed or anything of that nature."
Whether it's mechanics or not, McNabb has been very inaccurate this season. He's completing only 56.8 percent of his passes, which ranks 27th in the league. He alternates between the bounce pass and the airmail throw on routes, especially routes within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage.
If the Vikings are going to pull the upset Sunday night, they'll need McNabb to improve drastically over how he has played so far. The Bears are still a predominately cover-2 team. The safeties play the deep halves of the field, trying to take away the big play in the passing game and force offenses to keep throws underneath. And though they let Calvin Johnson get behind them on Monday for a 77-yard touchdown, Megatron isn't going to walk through that door wearing a purple helmet.
McNabb has to work with what he has. That means TEs Visanthe Shiancoe and Kyle Rudolph and WRs Michael Jenkins and Percy Harvin will have to be involved beneath the coverage. That also means that McNabb will have to be accurate with his throws, allowing his guys to make catches in a position where they can gain yards after the catch.
The cover-2 is designed to take away McNabb's biggest strength as a passer, the deep ball. It won't be a surprise if he takes a shot or two deep to test the Bears' young safeties, Chris Conte and Major Wright, who are starting for benched veterans Chris Harris and Brandon Meriweather. However, if the Vikings want to win this game, McNabb's much-maligned mechanics will have to allow him to complete the short passes and move the ball incrementally against the Bears' defense to score points.