Eagles QB Donovan McNabb will make his first NFL start Sunday against the Redskins, Coach Andy Reid said yesterday.

"It's right on schedule," Reid said. "Donovan picked this [offense] up faster than anybody I've been around as a rookie."

McNabb, from Syracuse, was selected with the second overall pick in the April draft but has played sparingly behind Doug Pederson for the 2-6 Eagles.

McNabb, 22, has completed 22 of 51 passes for 166 yards with one interception and no touchdowns. He has also rushed for 82 yards on 10 carries. McNabb will start for Philadelphia for the rest of the season, barring injury.

Pederson, who became the Eagles' starter after signing as a free agent during the offseason, has completed 111 of 215 passes for 1,168 yards with six touchdowns and nine interceptions.

In anther move, the Eagles released starting DT Bill Johnson.

MARINO STILL OUT: Dolphins QB Dan Marino, sidelined since Oct. 17 because of a pinched nerve in his neck, has been ruled out of Sunday's game at Buffalo.

Marino, 38, resumed throwing last week, and he had hoped to receive clearance to return to action. . . .

The Bears signed QB Craig Erickson. . . . Vikings return specialist David Palmer is out for the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee Monday.

OUCH: The officials didn't see it, but a national TV audience got a clear view of Vikings backup DE Duane Clemons punching Cowboys T Flozell Adams below the belt. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said any fine would be announced later in the week.

TV replays caught Clemons in the act Monday night, but didn't show what precipitated the punch, which occurred after Jimmy Hitchcock intercepted Jason Garrett's pass in the fourth quarter of Minnesota's 27-17 victory.