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News » After 2 years, McNabb is getting his legs back

After 2 years, McNabb is getting his legs back

After 2 years, McNabb is getting his legs back
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - For a quarterback known for being able to beat teams with his legs, Donovan McNabb hadn't been in the end zone for a long, long time.

It was more than two seasons, in fact. McNabb, whose ability to turn a sack into a long run frustrated tacklers and defensive coordinators alike, had been beset by injuries that limited his mobility.

That changed Sunday against the Falcons.

McNabb scored on a quarterback draw in the second quarter to get the Eagles on the board, then found his rhythm in the passing game after a shaky start as the Eagles beat Atlanta 27-14.

"I hadn't been in the end zone for a while," McNabb said Wednesday. "To contribute in that way was big for our offense."

The last time McNabb had scored on the ground was Oct. 8, 2006 against Dallas in a game that came in the midst of the post-Terrell Owens hoopla. A few weeks later, McNabb went down with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee that put him on injured reserve. When he returned to the lineup at the start of last season, his mobility wasn't the same.

McNabb went the entire 2007 season without a score - not on a sneak, scramble or bootleg. Earlier this season, he sustained a chest injury that made Eagles coach Andy Reid reluctant to call a quarterback sneak on short yardage or near the goal line, a decision that might have been costly in two early season losses.

"I've been healthy enough to do that in the previous weeks," McNabb said. "For what we were faced with, as far as the front and coverage was concerned, it gave us the opportunity to look at that play and feel confident about it."

It looked like the old McNabb was back against Atlanta. He tucked the ball away for a 12-yard scramble and then capped the drive with a 3-yard scoring run on a designed run out of the shotgun.

"We were excited for Don to be able to run the ball into the end zone," said running back Brian Westbrook. "It's another thing we can do down there, another option we have to score touchdowns."

McNabb finished the game with 25 yards on six carries against the Falcons and became the eighth quarterback in NFL history to rush for 3,000 yards in his career.

McNabb said the quarterback draw was a tacit endorsement of his health by Reid.

"For him to have to confidence to call that shows a lot," he said.

Now that he's healthy, opponents might see more of McNabb running the ball. That can be scary for a defensive player, Eagles safety Brian Dawkins said.

"He's always been a threat with the ball in his hands," Dawkins said. "Being a defensive player, any time you have that capability out of a quarterback, that's another headache."

Dawkins said opponents have not had to respect McNabb's ability to run in recent years, but now they do.

"Everybody would say, 'Yeah, he's a running quarterback,' but I don't think nobody really paid attention to him running the ball," Dawkins said. "So that's a whole different dimension to that offense that's now added back."

But don't expect McNabb to start taking off rather than go through his reads. He's always been more inclined to use his feet to buy time for his receivers so they can make a big play.

"I'm not one of those guys who strive to get my own," he said. "I wouldn't mind throwing a touchdown pass or handing the ball off and watching other guys do it."

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: October 29, 2008

Nick Cole Name: Nick Cole
Position: OL
Age: 23
Experience: 3 years
College: New Mexico State
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