McNabb to miss preseason game against Jets

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 24, 2010; 9:47 PM

Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb will miss Friday night's preseason game against the New York Jets because of an ankle sprained badly enough that it would prevent him from playing a regular season game, Coach Mike Shanahan said Tuesday, a development that could hinder the signal-caller's transition into Shanahan's offense.

McNabb sprained his left ankle in Saturday's preseason loss to Baltimore, and he came out of the locker room at halftime with it heavily wrapped. He wore a walking boot Monday morning, an air cast Monday afternoon, and though he was walking on a treadmill Tuesday, he could not practice.

"I don't think it's a bad ankle sprain," Shanahan said after practice. "I don't think it's too bad. But it's still real sore right now, sore enough where he couldn't play this week if it was regular season, so that kind of gives you an idea."

McNabb, 33, has a history of injuries that disrupted his career with the Philadelphia Eagles. He played in all 16 regular season games just once in the past six years and just four times in his 11 seasons in Philadelphia. In the last eight seasons, he has missed 24 regular season games, an average of three per season.

McNabb was not available to comment Monday or Tuesday, when the team held practices in which backups Rex Grossman, John Beck and Richard Bartel took snaps in preparation for the Jets.

"I definitely feel as if I will be out there for the next practice," McNabb said Saturday night. "We will definitely see how it recovers."

Starters traditionally receive the most time in the third preseason game and then largely rest in the fourth, allowing players who are on the fringes of the roster to compete for the final few jobs. Shanahan said Tuesday that he and the coaching staff had not yet discussed how the snaps would be divided among the three remaining quarterbacks Friday, nor what sort of impact McNabb's injury will have on who will play - and how much - in the final preseason game Sept. 2 at Arizona.

"We haven't really talked about it yet," Shanahan said. "We had all of them rotating right now in practice and sit down and kind of get our game plan here."

In his first two appearances with the Redskins - two series on Aug. 13 against Buffalo and the first half against the Ravens last week - McNabb completed 16 of 34 passes for 264 yards with one touchdown and one interception, all for a 71.2 quarterback rating. He has criticized himself for his development in the offense throughout training camp, an assessment about which Shanahan was asked Tuesday.

"Any time you go into a new system, it takes some time," Shanahan said. "It doesn't happen overnight. If you work every day at it, and as much as you can, you're going to get better. You're going to pick it up.

"I think he feels a lot more comfortable now than he did a few months ago, that's for sure. But you run a system for any length of time and you come in, it's like learning a different language, which we've talked about before, and then it's got to be automatic to you, so it does take some time."

Grossman, a seven-year veteran signed as a free agent in the offseason, has received the most work of any Redskins quarterback thus far, completing 25 of 39 passes for 335 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for a 97.7 rating, the sixth-best of any quarterback this preseason. Grossman, who played in the system of current Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan last year in Houston, has started only one regular season game in the last two seasons.

Beck, acquired in a training camp trade with Baltimore, went 2 of 7 for 27 yards against Buffalo and didn't play against the Ravens. Bartel, who has never taken a regular season snap, missed the Buffalo game with a groin strain and hasn't yet appeared in the preseason.

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