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Back In The Saddle, McNabb Confident

On Tuesday, Donovan McNabb turned 32. In terms of current NFL starting quarterbacks, that ranks him, age-wise, 10th. So no, McNabb's not exactly a spring chicken – but he'll remind you that he's not exactly decrepit, either.

So McNabb feels like he has the energy and ability to bounce back from his second consecutive feeble showing, and the first benching, of his entire football career. All those guys older than him – including 2008 MVP candidates Brett Favre, Kurt Warner and Kerry Collins – have gone through similar situations to this, he said.

A poor performance against the Ravens on Sunday left McNabb thinking – not throwing – for the first time since his rookie season. And now, the starting quarterback thinks he's going to bounce back against the Cardinals on Thursday night.

"I don't think it's Father Time," McNabb said. "You go through some droughts. Peyton (Manning) didn't start out this year as well as he wanted to. ... What I have to do is just make sure that I kind of do the right things coming into Thursday's game playing against a tough Arizona team."


QB Donovan McNabb

Make no mistake, McNabb remains unhappy about his benching. He reiterated his comments from Sunday night that the game was too close and, had he been the coach, he wouldn't have made the move himself. "As a competitor, you wouldn't take yourself out." he said.

But he said he understands he needs to play better coming off undoubtedly the worst two-game stretch of his career, in which his team was blown out in Baltimore and tied a one-win Cincinnati team. McNabb personally turned the ball over seven times in seven quarters of football before head coach Andy Reid decided to sit McNabb at halftime in favor of second-year man Kevin Kolb. Kolb fared little better than McNabb, though, and Reid opted to go back on his switch.

McNabb didn't describe the meeting he had, presumably, with Reid in which he found out he would be starting on Thursday, or when that meeting occurred. Instead, he jokingly offered multiple accounts of the revelation, including a powwow with the NovaCare Complex's janitor and finding out through a country music radio station.

The most he revealed is that he did, in fact, find out before anyone else knew.

McNabb said, from his end at least, his relationship with Reid is no different than it's ever been.

"""Will it continue on? I hope so," McNabb said. "I said the relationship is where it was and where it should be. But, even asking me that question, I guess you would have to ask Andy that same question."

McNabb's confidence that he will return to form partly stems from previous struggles in his own career that he bounced back from, including an 0-2 start in 2003 in which McNabb started the season 37-for-82 for 334 yards and three interceptions.

Despite the team righting the ship, McNabb never fully recovered until Week 8. But he did eventually recover.

"I just kept on, kept firing," McNabb said. "That was the attitude that I had earlier this year and that's something in which you have to get back to."

This season, McNabb has not only had to deal with his own personal struggles, but also the fading playoff hopes of his team. So, he says, outside influences aren't affecting his team's mindset at all. The Eagles are working themselves up quite enough.

For one Sunday, an Eagle loss took a backseat to McNabb. But with McNabb again entrenched in the lineup this week, that loss is back on his plate. It's his ship to right.

"We put pressure on our own selves, so we don't really have any more room for added pressure on our shoulders," McNabb said. "We expect the best from our team, and what we have shown so far is not the best. And we have to get it done now. We have to start now, and it starts against Arizona."

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