McNabb’s body language will say it all


I think I’ve got a handle on Donovan McNabb and whether or not he’ll play well in an upcoming season. Over the last 3-4 years I’ve noticed that he tips us off with his body language. He started doing this, I think, in Terrell Owens’ first season in Philly. McNabb’s body language that summer indicated a very comfortable and confident QB, and he went on to have a terrific fantasy season.

The next year, 2006, I was very curious as to how he would look and play with T.O. gone, so I once again inspected his body language on the field in the preseason. At this time last year, I wasn’t as high on McNabb as I wound up being later in the summer because I hadn’t yet seen him and his B.L. post-Owens. But it looked exactly the same as it did the year before, and since he was playing well I felt much better about McNabb as a fantasy option and we ended up ranking him very high.

McNabb made news this week by participating in half of the team’s minicamp workout. That’s about where the team hoped he’d be, maybe even a little ahead of schedule, and all reports from the camp are that McNabb looked like the old McNabb. He still has a lot to prove mobility-wise and they will have to see about whether or not there is swelling, but McNabb looks to be well on track to participate normally or close to normally in training camp. That will certainly be a good sign, but I’ll be watching his body language closely this summer because I think that it, more than anything else, will tip us off yet again as to how ready he is. The good thing about McNabb is that he doesn’t have to have 100% of his mobility back to be an effective player and fantasy producer this year. He can do a lot of damage from the pocket, and we’ll see in the preseason his body language is as he drops back, scans the field, and delivers the ball. We’ll also see general signs, such as how he moves around right after throwing it, even how he stands in the huddle and how he walks up to the line of scrimmage. Of course, watching him run will also give us a glimpse as to how effective he will be this summer.

If McNabb’s body language looks shaky, and if he’s seemingly hesitant to move around in the pocket, or if he has more accuracy issues than usual, then that will be a sign that maybe his comeback from ACL surgery hasn’t gone quite as well as hoped. I think we saw in Carson Palmer last year a player who wasn’t quite comfortable and confident yet coming off his knee injury. Palmer was still an effective player last year, and his lack of confidence and comfort wasn’t exactly clear to the naked eye. For McNabb, if he’s to have issues, I think they will be much more obvious watching him this summer.

But my gut feeling right now is that McNabb will be back in the saddle this summer and never miss a beat, and that the addition if rookie Kevin Kolb will be just enough motivation to push him over the top in his comeback.

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