Philadelphia Eagles News

QB Donovan McNabb

On his comfort level in the playoffs: "I think, when you've been a part of it for so many games in so many years, you try to approach it as if it's just like a regular-season game; knowing the magnitude of it and knowing that it's a one-game season. Being a part of it, for myself as well as for the other guys, is having that mentality that you have to play mistake-free football and you have to go out and play at a high level, in order to move on; you know that. In the game, as you get into that rhythm, it feels like it's a normal game. You want to continue to express that to the rest of the guys. You want to continue to show that during the week of practice, that you're not changing anything that you're doing; your preparation or going out and approaching practice. You're still keeping the same attitude in practice, just having fun and playing around and getting guys loose, because you don't want any of the other guys to tighten up or catch butterflies and get out of their element. For me, it's just a matter of treating it as if it's a regular season game, but still knowing the magnitude of it."

On how he would describe the last seven weeks of the season and whether there's been anything comparable to it in his career: "Not really. These last seven games have been exciting. What you're seeing is you're seeing Eagles football; guys stepping up and making plays. You're seeing (CB) Asante Samuel, who we brought over here from New England, a well-known playmaker in the league, he's making plays for us. (FS) Brian Dawkins, who is a well-known playmaker for the Philadelphia Eagles, is making plays for us. Our young defensive line is stepping up and making big plays. Offensively, you're seeing a young receiver in DeSean Jackson making plays for us and (WR) Kevin Curtis and (TE) Brent Celek and (TE) L.J. (Smith), and the list goes on. That's something that excites me is the fact that now you're seeing guys who everyone expected to step up and make big plays and they're doing it at the right time. It takes a lot of pressure off of the other guys who are in key positions to just go out and do their jobs."

On how much pressure it takes off of him: "Yeah me too. But again, that's what it's all about. That's why this is a team game and a game in which you can rely on other guys to make plays. Then, you go out and you make a big play and then someone else steps up and makes a big play. It's an exciting time for us at this particular point."

On what is different about Arizona's defense since Thanksgiving: "You know, you're seeing their front four playing well. Everyone's talked about the turnovers and the interceptions that they got last week; the way that their secondary played against Atlanta. But, the thing that I see is I see their front four really playing well. Starting with the first game against Atlanta, being able to shut down (RB Michael) Turner and hold him to only 45 rushing yards, where a lot of people thought that wasn't possible. Then you go into Carolina where they had almost two guys go over 1,000 yards, or maybe they did go over 1,000, to shut them down. I see they front four, really their front seven, really clogging up running lanes and just forcing teams to go into the pass and, like Carolina, being able to get their hands on the ball and create some turnovers as well. I would say that their front four has really been very effective for them later in the season as well as now in the playoffs."

On how he thinks the last seven games have changed the fans' perception of him: "That really doesn't concern me and it never really has. Given an opportunity, at some point you will begin to flourish. Again, I enjoy the fact that other guys are stepping up and making plays. It takes pressure off of a guy like myself. It takes pressure off of a guy like (RB Brian) Westbrook. The offensive line feels confident that they can hold their blocks and the guys on the outside, or whoever is in at the running back position at that time, is going to make a big play. The same on defense. They feel like they're gap-oriented, where guys are in the right lanes and that someone is going to make a big play or big tackle or interception, whatever it may be. That confidence, right now, with the team is definitely there. At this particular point, we're just so excited about getting out there on the field against the Arizona Cardinals and continuing on what we started several weeks ago."

On whether he's surprised that he's getting better with age: "Fine like wine, baby. I think the cop-out at times is people saying 'he's getting too old' or 'he's not able to do the things he was able to do back five years ago.' None of us can do the things we did five years ago; including you guys. (Jokingly) Some of you are writing slower than you did five years ago. The stuff you talk about in the paper just doesn't make sense. Some of you are dressing kind of funny. But you know what? That's just something that people can just cling on to and everyone goes with it. Then you have (former QB) Vinny Testaverde coming in at 44 years old and winning a game. You have (Arizona QB) Kurt Warner being second for the MVP and putting up almost 5,000 yards passing. It's really in the position that you're in. Given the opportunity, some guys flourish and some guys don't. 32 years old is really not old, that's almost at the prime of your career. Some of you guys sitting in here wish you were 32. I'll tell you about it. It's fun."

On whether it's special to be playing in Arizona where he lives and trains in the offseason: "It is. It's something that I've been communicating with the guys that I train with and guys that I know on the team of 'how sweet would it be to come back and play here in Arizona?' We didn't really go into the whole NFC Championship deal, but just to come back and play for something special. Obviously, something special would have been last year, playing for the Super Bowl in Arizona. But, you know what? We're playing a big game here, playing against a bunch of friends; guys who I text back and forth all throughout the year and communicated with throughout the playoffs and now we're here playing against each other. I'm excited, those guys are excited, and this team is excited just for the opportunity. Just seven weeks ago, nobody would have thought that we would be in this position. Now we're here and we want to take full advantage of it."

On who he knows best in Arizona: "Ken Whisenhunt, the head coach, is a guy that lives a couple doors down from me. (SS) Adrian Wilson lives a couple doors down from me. (DE) Bertrand Berry is a guy that I communicate with frequently; and (WR) Larry Fitzgerald. I have some friends on the team and we talk consistently. I'm just really happy with the success that they've had and happy about this opportunity."

On whether this is his most special trip to the NFC Championship: "Maybe I'll be able to answer that if we go out and do our job and win this game. Then I'll be able to rank the NFC Championships. But, you know what? It's tough to say right now. It's tough to say. We're just enjoying the moment right now; not looking further by any means and just counting the days down until we get an opportunity to step out onto that field."

On what memories stick out from past NFC Championship games: "I think everyone would go with 2004, being able to hold that trophy up and getting hit by the confetti and knowing that you're moving on to the Super Bowl. Obviously, the lows would be the losses that we've had. The things that stick in your mind in situations like that are the opportunities that you had that you didn't capitalize on; the Carolina game, the Tampa game. This is another opportunity for us and we understand that we are fortunate to be in this position, but I'm just excited."

On whether he sees those two games versus Tampa Bay and Carolina as low points in his career:"Not at all. Not at all."

On how he views the Tampa Bay and Carolina games: "As opportunities, just like any other regular-season game that we didn't take full advantage of. Knowing the magnitude of it of, obviously, we win and we move on. But, I don't put them as low points in my career."

On whether there was a point, during his wife's pregnancy with twins, that he thought about stepping back from football: "No. Family is family and football is another issue. It was tough, but we all have been through difficult situations, whether it deals with family or football."

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