On how the ground game was important in the first two matchups against the Giants and whether he anticipates that being the case again this Sunday: "You never know what can happen come game time. I'm sure that's something that both teams are looking at, and obviously the effectiveness of the run. You know, you can run 30 times and only get 30 yards, that's not really being effective. I guess it may come down to who's being able to run the ball to pick up big yards, so it may come down to that. I think that what it comes down to in this particular game is eliminating turnovers on the offensive side, and the defense being able to create turnovers."
* On whether their last win against the Giants sparked their run to get to the playoffs:*
"It's hard to say. It's hard to say. It could be Arizona. It could be other games. But I think, just from those particular games, we all understood what we were capable of doing and doing it consistently and what we had to do in order to win. And when you play a game like that, obviously with so much on the line for us at that given time, it's just something that you have to focus in on at this time."
On whether he has confidence that RB Brian Westbrook has enough left in him to have good numbers this week: "Absolutely. It's a long season. It's a long season. And you're not going to be a 100 percent past game one or two, so I think he's done a great job of just taking care of his body and giving us all that he has. That's why you have guys like (RB) Correll Buckhalter, (FB) Kyle Eckel, guys that come in and spell him, and it's important that the other guys, like the receivers and tight ends, be able to take pressure off him as well of being able to make plays on the outside to keep defenses honest and give him an opportunity to run through lanes and pick up yards for us."
On what effect he thinks not having Westbrook 100 percent healthy most of the season has had on the team: "I mean, it's like I said, everybody is not at 100 percent. He's been battling injuries all throughout the year just like everyone else. Not to discredit anything that he's been able to do for us because he's played a major part on our offensive side, but when you have a guy like Correll Buckhalter, that when he gets in the game he picks up yards for us and catches the ball out of the backfield, it takes pressure off of Brian. And that was kind of the main thing that I mentioned early on in the year that we have to use all of our guys, and when Brian didn't play against San Fran, Buck came in and played great. So, it's important that we are able to use all of our weapons, especially at this time during the year where it's important that we give guys opportunities to make plays for us and spread it around."
On where he finds the resiliency to bounce back after all the hard times in a season: "You know what, when you go through tough times it's important that in our situation that you go in that locker room and you begin to show the guys that none of that ever affects you and that you do everything you need to do in order to change that. And the guys begin to see that, confidence begins to grow, and everybody understands that none of this will ever affect you, and then you get out and play well. Winning cures everything. And I think this team has really stood with everyone of just providing that confidence for everyone, knowing that if each individual guy does their job, then it's not just one person that will begin to get criticized. We will all play well and we will all kind of get this thing going the way we want it to. For me, it's really just understanding that there are a lot of positive things that can happen, although there were some negative sides of not playing well at that time, and was given the opportunity, things have changed."
* On whether facing the Giants' defense is like facing a clone of Eagles' defensive coordinator Jim Johnson's defense or whether Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo does things differently:*
"There are different things that Spags does. Obviously, it's due to personnel, and you know, every coach wants to put his own wrinkle on things. It's just like the West Coast offense, everyone runs a different type of West Coast offense, and Spags does a lot of things that are similar and he does some things that are different. They had a lot of success last year of really just Spags putting (DE) Osi (Umenyiora) and (DE Michael) Strahan and (DE Justin) Tuck in different situations where they can be successful. We are facing a different type of scheme, and we are going to be prepared going into this game and knowing that Spags is really going to try and challenge us, and we just have to make sure that we go out and answer the bell."
On how important RB Brandon Jacobs, RB Derrick Ward and RB Ahmad Bradshaw are for the Giants' offense: "You know what, when you play against an offense that really people can look at and say 'they are a running team,' it's not just one particular guy. We all know Brandon Jacobs is a big running back, but he's pretty quick as well. I believe he had 10 rushes for 52 yards on us before he got hurt. Then you bring in Derrick Ward who is a little quicker, can find the hole. He really had a great year when Brandon Jacobs got hurt, until he got hurt. Then Bradshaw is their fastest guy, and he really does a lot of things for them as far as out of the backfield or hitting the hole as well. They have kind of a three-headed monster that takes a lot of pressure off (Giants QB) Eli (Manning). Where Eli now can just kind of dink-and-dunk and look for the big-time play, but they've done a great job of spreading the ball around for them on the offensive side."
On whether being in the playoffs again for the first time in four years feels any different to him and whether he is having more fun this time around:"I don't look at it as not being involved in the last four years. I was a part of the team when they went (in 2006). I didn't play, but I still was a part of the team. Early on in my career we were doing it consistently, it's really no different really because it's a fun time of the year. This is a time where you want to play your best, put your team in a position to win, and you see the ultimate goal of being, obviously making it to the Super Bowl and winning it. I think for all of us, it's an exciting time because of the things that we had to go through to get here and we don't want it to end. For me, it's enjoyable to see the guys in the locker room excited to get back out on the field and hopefully win this game and move on."
On whether having a different gameplan for the Giants the second time around added an element of surprise: "Weather conditions were a little different, too. I think what it shows is that we can run the ball if we do it, we can throw the ball if we decide to do that. It's important that you run the ball to set up play action and things of that nature and be able to set up for big plays outside or the intermediate passing game to work out something else. You look at the Minnesota game, we weren't being able to run the ball effectively, we threw the ball pretty well and that set up the screen. So, you just never know how that team is going to play you or defend (you), whatever, but we have to be able to pick up big yards and score touchdowns in this game."
On whether he thinks that it will be Spagnuolo's No. 1 objective to go after him: "We expect him to bring the heat. We expect him to bring the heat. Obviously, coming off a bye week and seeing how we played last week, we expect them to bring the heat. And we will be prepared and go out and try to make some big plays."
On whether he thinks winning a Super Bowl would lessen the criticism that he receives: "Winning cures everything. Winning cures everything. I've had fun since I've been here and I look to have more fun here. This is an exciting time. This is the playoffs. I'm looking forward to playing this weekend against the Giants and hopefully advancing. We are going to be ready to go. I don't worry about that outside stuff or worry about anything of that nature, but this is fun. This is a fun time. Football is fun for me and for a lot of guys as well."
On ESPN's report that McNabb's agent said that his future in Philadelphia hinges on a meeting after the season with Reid about his benching during the Baltimore game: "My agent did not say that. Sal reported that. At this point, it's just focusing on football, focusing on winning this game and hopefully moving on. And anything else, that's further, so I don't focus on that."
On whether being benched has had any effect on the way he has been playing or whether it's coincidental:"I think it's completely coincidental. I don't think that that played a factor into the way that I am playing now. So, that's in the past and we've moved on."
* On whether he thinks his benching had an effect on any of the other players:*
"It may have, but I mean, can't speak for them, so you would have to ask them."**
On how Sports Illustrated has called this team dangerous and how dangerous he thinks this team is:**
"(Jokingly) Well, they called the Cardinals dangerous, too. It's a regional copy. Everybody's dangerous."
* On whether he has gotten used to what Spagnuolo tries to do to them:*
"Well, I mean, like I said, game by game things change. And it's just like Jim, you may see one blitz one week and then you see something the next. That's the way it was when we played them here in the first game, and things changed in the second. We expect them to come up with different types of blitzes to obviously apply pressure to our passing game as well as to try to stop our run. Last year, we weren't successful with what we were doing versus the Giants. We've had some success this year obviously being able to win in New York. So, it's going to be a challenge for us, and hopefully we can put it together again."
On whether it helps to have seen those variations although some things will change:"It's always good to have that opportunity of playing them twice where you see different blitzes, but I'm sure (Spagnuolo) has something else up his sleeve."
* On whether he sees any similarities between last year's Giants and this year's Eagles:*
"To be honest with you, not really. It's easy to say that at this point, but no. They went on and won the Super Bowl. We are just in the second round. Maybe as we continue on, maybe. But we just want to kind of be the Eagles of 2009. I mean, it's easy to sit back from afar and say that, but I don't see it right now."
* On whether he has a tendency to look for certain receivers in certain situations despite how much he spreads the ball around:*
"Not really. I mean, it might seem that way but we've gotten first downs from (WR) Hank (Baskett) and when (WR) Reggie (Brown) was in, (WR) DeSean (Jackson). It's really about just taking what the defense gives you. And also, as an offensive coordinator, Marty (Mornhinweg) is trying to come up with schemes where we can get mismatches, and when you do that (you), give guys opportunities to not only get completions or receptions but to pick up yards after the catch."
On what he sees from the Giants' cornerbacks and safeties: "I see an aggressive-style defense. They will not put their corners in tough situations. (Giants CB Aaron) Ross as well as (Giants CB Corey) Webster –Webster has been playing well this year, and I think what Spags tries to do is he tries to put them in a position where they can be successful and not be kind of left out there. Their safeties are aggressive. They come down and they blitz well, they cover well, so it's a challenge all around for us in the secondary."
* On whether the Giants' pass rush lost anything without Umenyiora:*
"I don't think so. I don't think so. You know, Tuck really made a name for himself in that Super Bowl. And he had been doing that all throughout the year last year, but I think that he was kind of overshadowed a little bit by the record day that Osi had on us and the way Mike (Strahan) was playing, maybe it being his last year. But in the Super Bowl he really made a name for himself. (DE Mathias) Kiwanuka who was coming back off of injury, has really had a great year as well. So, I think the thing that I focus on on that team, the way that the front four, all of the guys are playing, I think they are all playing well and that really takes pressure off of their linebackers."
* On whether the Giants' defense has been struggling recently due to personnel:*
"I don't think it's personnel. You know, just sometimes, I guess during the course of the year you don't play as well as you did early on. (Jokingly) So, none of them got benched."