Philadelphia Eagles News

FS Brian Dawkins

On what changes he has to make in his preparation when preparing for a playoff game as opposed to a regular season game:"I think the thing that [changes], for me anyways, is containing my emotions. Not playing the game too soon, and trying to bottle all that energy up and unleashing at the right time, that's the toughest thing for me. Other than that, you kind of go about your normal way of doing things in preparation for the game. If you've done what you've supposed to have done during the season, you shouldn't have to change anything as far as preparation and watching more film and all the stuff, you should have been doing that the whole time."

On how he goes about calming himself down:"Just a lot of talking to myself. Just telling myself over and over again to calm down and trying to focus on the team at hand, which is Minnesota, and what Minnesota is going to bring to the table and what I have to prepare myself for."

On what it means to him to hear fans say, "Now Dawk, he's a real Philadelphia Eagle": "It makes me feel good. It really does. Because like you said, I kind of know what they feel for the most part. Now, obviously, I haven't been here all my life, but I've been around here long enough to understand how bad they want another championship here, especially football, and how passionate they are about it and the attitude they have as far as not being ashamed to speak their mind, not being ashamed to have a good time, and really, having a 'you give everything you've got' mentality, whatever it is, you give what you've got."

On whether he had the same energy going into last week's game against Dallas that he now has going into this Sunday's game: "Yeah. I don't think you could look at the game and not see that there was a sense of urgency to this team, not just me, to this team and what we are trying to get accomplished here; digging ourselves out of a hole that we dug ourselves into with a lot a help along the way. But at the end of the day we had to do something that people didn't give us a chance of doing and that's beat a pretty good Dallas team."

On what was going through his mind before the game against Dallas when he was walking back and forth during warm-ups saluting the crowd:"At that time I was into the moment, kind of envisioning what was about to happen and once again telling myself to calm down. [I was] trying to conserve everything that I could for the task at hand because I figured it was going to be a very tough, tough fought ballgame, and [I was] just very excited about the opportunity and appreciating the fans at the same time; appreciating for everything that they had helped me through, and been criticized at times, absolutely, but at the same time we've had a great time partying and just saluting them for that."

On how some of his teammates have expressed that they wouldn't be where they are right now without him and what that means to him: "That's what I tried to set out to do as a person and as a player. It's kind of a cliché for me to say it now but I give everything that I have. I am a blessed individual, so I sometimes dig down deeper than just myself to have called upon some more strength and I lay it out there. And whatever I need to do to give to the so-called universe, I give to the universe, and the universe is my teammates and they know that. I think they understand that and that's just what I believe. That's who I am, and that's what I try to do for my teammates, not just because of the game of football but because I think they depend on me for certain things, and I want to be there for them."

On what he thinks this game means to McNabb after everything he's been through this season:"I think he's a very focused individual right now, very focused on the task at hand. I think this will be another opportunity for him and this team to hopefully show what we are as a team once again. But Donovan has obviously been through some tough things during this season and through his career, but time and time again the cat stands up and stands tall, and so I don't see any evidence of that changing for this playoff run."

On Vikings RB Adrian Peterson and what is different about him this year: "I think that he doesn't look to bounce everything. Last year he was bouncing everything. If it was closed off he is going to bounce it quick and sometimes give up the whole inside just because he wanted to bounce it using his speed. This year he is more patient. He will hit it inside and then bounce it. I think that's the thing that you see more so than anything. Even last year he was a dynamic runner and that hasn't changed. He's a guy that you have to run to the ball. You can bottle him up for three straight quarters and all of a sudden if you get out of your gap in that fourth quarter, he can gash you for a couple of long big runs. We have our hands cut out [for us]."

On how he would describe RB Brian Westbrook's season and the injuries he's had: "I feel for him in that respect because I know how frustrating that is, obviously, from when I was banged up and was nowhere close to where I needed to be for my teammates. So, I know how it made me feel that I couldn't do what I needed to do for my teammates, so I feel for him in that respect. When he is healthy, man, he is, to me, the most dynamic running back there is, period. What he does out of that backfield, carrying the ball, catching the ball; the attention you have to give him even when he is lined up at wide out, you have to give him attention. He brings so many things to the table, and so when we get him the ball and get it to him on a consistent basis, you see what he can do when he's healthy."

On how he handled the criticism earlier in the year and whether there was truth to it: "I definitely don't say there's not any truth to that. I've said this before, you can look at it in a couple of different ways, you can look at it and say, you know, maybe they are right, maybe I am, or you can look at it as a challenge, and I look at it as a challenge. I know what I can do for this team and I've said it. I know what I can still do. I've been blessed with a lot of abilities, and I still have these abilities built up inside and I still can do it. So, you look at it as opportunity and all those things just add, you put more things on the pile for the field to burn and utilize it."

On whether there is something to be said about being a hot team going into the playoffs:"That's always a good thing. You definitely want to be playing, perhaps, your best ball at the end of the season. That's for any team. I would think every team would say the same thing. They would want to have everybody healthy for one thing, and then playing at a very high level as a unit is always the key. And I have no idea why that is the case though, why we start off slow and then build momentum. The character in this locker room and the way that there is a never-give-up mentality, I don't care what the circumstances are or what the situation presents itself, there's a never give up. Yeah, we're going to feel bad after a loss or after a couple of losses or whatever, but by the time that Wednesday rolls around it's work and it's about winning that next game, and we feel like we are going to win that next game. So, maybe that plays a lot into the fact that we are able to turn tough starts around because there is a never give-up [mentality] and we have a lot veteran leadership in that locker room."

On how this team has consistently been in "must-win" situations since the Baltimore game: "I've said this before, we've been in playoff mode for a long time now. In our minds, we could not afford to lose one game. Yes, we lost one game against Washington which almost cost us, but in our mind it was playoff game after playoff game after playoff game every week, and so that's been our mindset. We don't have to wait until now to so-called flip a switch to play playoff ball, we've been playing playoff ball. I think we are going to go into a hostile environment against a, I would say more than just a pretty good running attack, with probably the best running back right now playing doing his thing on a consistent basis. A young quarterback that understands his role a lot better now this time around after being set down. And in a tough, tough loud place with a good defense that our offense is going to go against, so we have our hands cut out but, I'll tell you what, it's going to be an exciting game, exciting game."

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