Outside of the NovaCare Complex, the attention for this Sunday's nationally televised battle between the Eagles and the Redskins is focused on the return of Donovan McNabb to the city where he played for 11 years. Inside, however, the Eagles understand that they must prepare not just for McNabb, but for the entire Redskins squad.
"We're playing the Redskins this week. We're not just playing Donovan," linebacker Stewart Bradley said. "You have to look at what the Redskins do and the offense they run and what their differences are and play off of that."
"It's made for the fans," defensive tackle Mike Patterson said of McNabb's return. "For us in here, we're just staying focused and worrying about what's going on underneath our building and that's it. We're not worried about what's going on and who said what or anything like that. We're worried about this game and that's it."
Wide receiver Jason Avant understands how much McNabb has meant not just to his own career, but this franchise. With all of that being said, McNabb is now on the other sideline.
"Donovan is a Redskin and that kind of overrides any kind of friendships there," Avant said. "He's a great guy. We love him and he's a great player. That's not going to neglect the fact we're going out and playing the Redskins."
A storyline within the return of McNabb is how will he be received by the fans. Tight end Brent Celek believes that the fans have a lot of respect for what McNabb accomplished and will properly welcome him into Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.
"I have a lot (of respect) for him and I think the fans have a lot of respect for what he did for this franchise, what he took them to. I think they will applaud him," Celek said. "If they don't, so be it."
But once kickoff is underway, the Eagles want McNabb to make sure he knows that he plays for the opponent.
"We always want (Lincoln Financial Field) to be hostile. Right now, everybody that's wearing a Redskins uniform, we want them to be hostile towards and everybody that's wearing an Eagles uniform, we want them to cheer on," said guard Todd Herremans.
Sunday is the Eagles' first NFC East clash. The Eagles put themselves in great position for the playoffs last year by going 4-2 in the interdivision battles. It'll be important to make sure that they're ready for the Redskins and not just the signal caller.
-- Posted by Chris McPherson, 3:15 p.m., September 29