Philadelphia Eagles News

FS Brian Dawkins

On the Eagles-Giants rivalry: "Usually those games are physical games. Usually they are nail-biters all the way to the fourth quarter. They know us; we know them, personnel-wise and scheme-wise. I love playing these games, I really do. It's a huge challenge. Throw out the records and all that good stuff. It's just playing against a team you respect, players you respect, a coaching staff and organization, front office, everybody, that you respect as a player. That just adds to the intensity of this rivalry."

On whether their Super Bowl championship adds anything to the respect he has for them: "For me, what they've won has nothing to do with it. I have always had that respect for them. When you step on that field, you know you have to be ready to play when we play this game. You really do. I'm not saying that it's not that with any other game. For me, this has been my biggest rivalry since I've been with the Eagles. I know everybody can't really stand Dallas, and I understand that, but for me, since I've been here, this has been the game that I get up for every time. Big time."

On Giants QB Eli Manning's growth: "It's tremendous. You saw, obviously in the playoff run, him not making mistakes and putting the ball where it needs to be when he needed to and managing the game. He's not doing anything to set this team back. He's not throwing off of his back foot like he was in the past. He is stepping up and making the tough throws and standing there taking the hits. You definitely can see him maturing into the quarterback he has become, which is a pretty good one."

On whether Manning has continued the things he showed at the end of last season: "You can see it. He is still doing some of the same things. The runs that need to be run against certain formations, the passing sets, where the ball needs to go, he is doing it. He has turned the ball over a couple of times, but all in all he is not doing it on a consistent basis."

On tackling Giants RB Brandon Jacobs: "He's a beast. He knows it. He knows he's a beast coming through. You have to bring your lunch with you; you have to bring everything that you have against him. He still might gain another three yards after contact. The thing about him is that you have to swarm to the ball. One guy can't be in there trying to bring him down every time. We have to get to the ball and get to him to not let him get that steam going. He definitely is a beast to bring down."

On QB Donovan McNabb being injury free and controversy free this season: "For him, controversy aside, it's always been about him being healthy. When he's healthy, he is going to do what he's doing right now and that is lead this team, put the ball where it needs to be put, scramble for first downs, keeping the play alive with his legs, being able to put the ball downfield on the money. Those are the things he does when he's healthy and he's healthy right now. That's what we expect out of him, to tell you the truth."

On their recent struggles in prime time games: "You kind of have to give other teams credit for playing. They do come to play, too. We are not the only team on the field playing; you have to give them credit. We have made mistakes in those games. We have helped allow teams to have more opportunities to make plays. We haven't capitalized in the fourth quarter in those games, when in the past we did. I think we have turned that corner and we are doing a better job of making the plays when they are presented to us and not making too many mental mistakes to assist teams."

On how tough it is to wait until 8:15 p.m. to play a game: "It's really tough. You try to have a little routine that you do; how you are going to go through the day. (You) try to not be ready to play the game too early and get yourself too hyped up. It's tough. It's really tough."

On whether things get kicked up another notch because everybody's focus in Philadelphia is back on the Eagles right now: "I don't know if you can kick it up another notch for me. I really don't. Had the Phillies not had the success that they did, it would not diminish or knock down my intensity for this game. It would not have me any more enthusiastic about playing this team. Super Bowl champions, big rivalry game, physical game, tremendous competitors over there at the receiver position—we know that. They have a big running back in the backfield. I don't know what else you need to add to that. I don't know if that feather that is going to add to what is already that huge mountain."

On whether having CB Asante Samuel will make the matchup against the Giants receivers any different: "We will see. I believe it will, but we will see."

On how Samuel would make a difference: "He is a playmaker; you see that. He is getting his hands on balls, he's playing the ball in the air, he's not going to quit on a deep ball. Most of the time when it is thrown, the ball is hitting the turf a lot more than it is staying in the receivers arms. That's a great thing."

On giving up big plays early in games and then buckling down: "I don't know. It's plays that aren't being made, period. Whatever the case may be. (Last week we asked CB Lito Sheppard) to play aggressive. I just have to get the receiver out of bounds and not allow him to turn up the sidelines like that; that's what it boils down to. We just have to, I think, be a little more patient early on. I think we are getting too amped up and going after it a little too much early. Then, settling into who we are after that. We can't allow that to continue to be a theme this year."

On whether big plays are a byproduct of being aggressive: "That's going to happen anyway, but you don't want it to continue to happen early in the game and set a positive tempo for the opposing offense."

On Giants TE Kevin Boss: "There is only one ball they have to throw the ball around. They have a couple receivers, especially one in particular, outside who wants the ball a lot. You can kind of tell why the tight end is not going to be too much of a feature. He is going to throw him the ball, absolutely. When he is open or they have a matchup they like or a play they like, they're going to go to him. When you have a player of (Plaxico Burress') magnitude standing outside, why not throw him the ball as much as possible."

On why TE L.J. Smith hasn't been a bigger part of the offense: "I don't know the playcalling, I don't know exactly what the plays are. I know covering the guy is tough. I know when we're playing one on one, when you have to cover him, it's a tough assignment. I can't get into all the details of why; all I know is that, given the opportunity, you definitely can see that he has the potential, still, to be a tremendous weapon for this offense and a headache for the opposing defense."

On whether this is a season-defining game: "I thought San Francisco was a defining moment. I thought Atlanta was a defining moment. I thought last week was a defining moment. Every game is going to be a defining moment from here on out. That's honestly the way I feel. As soon as we won that Seattle game, guess who I was thinking about? The Giants. As soon as we beat Atlanta, guess who I was thinking about? Seattle. Every game presents different challenges. Our focus is one game at a time. We are not going to allow one victory to have our heads swell or one loss to consume us so we can't do something. I think our minds are in the right place, let's just put it that way."

On Barack Obama winning the Presidential election: "Wow. I stayed up till about 2 o'clock watching the whole thing. But to watch all the things that went down, the way that he won it, and as I thought back, I thought about some of the stories that my granddaddy told me before he passed of how things were, about things that my father told me about the way things were, the things that he kind of sheltered me from, my father that is, of the racism that was around. And to live to see this day, to see an African American at the president, you're talking about maybe 40 years ago in the (19)60s that there was no way possible you would ever think something like this would happen, but here it is. Here it is. And for me, I've always been one that as I grew up, I said that I can make it and play professional football because I saw guys in professional football that looked like me, that talked like me. You hear people say, 'I want to be a doctor' because you've seen doctors that are African American, 'I want to be a lawyer' because you see lawyers that are African Americans. But people who say when you are little, 'I want to be president,' the likelihood of that happening was not high, but now it is. Not just for African Americans but for minorities in general. Women were thought of as objects. Now, you had an African American and a woman running in the same race. We've come a long way, we have yet a long way to go, but I'll tell you what, we've come a long way as a nation. One of the memories I will always hold from this election when he was announced, was the stage. You saw African Americans. You saw his counterpart, a white American. You saw everything on that stage. Shaking hands, loving each other and having respect for one another. And then, they showed the pictures in the stands as people celebrating, and you saw the same thing, people with tears. African Americans, Whites, Latin Americans, you had everybody all happy and celebrating, and I just never thought that I would be alive to see that, I really did not. So, this is huge. It's emotional for me to see that, to know that that's the America that we live in now. I couldn't have said that 30 years ago, but that's the America that we live in today."

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