Philadelphia Eagles News

QB Donovan McNabb

On whether he'll have to control his emotions on Sunday, playing in his first playoff game in four years: "Not at all. It's just like riding a bike. I think when you look at it in that way, as a player, now you're focusing on the wrong thing. Obviously, I've missed, due to injury and us not making it last year, but I'm just excited about the opportunity of getting back out there and playing. And, the team's looking forward to this opportunity, playing in a hostile environment like Minneapolis. It's going to be exciting."

On whether it has felt like more than four years since his last playoff game: "No, it's been four years. It's not longer than that, but you know what? It's no different than it was in 2004. Anytime that you have an opportunity to continue on with your season and play in a playoff, you just want to relish the moment and continue it on."

On whether he got used to making the playoffs every year and whether he missed the feeling:"You want to continue on and you want to play in a playoff. Yeah, you miss it. It wouldn't take three or four years for me to say I missed it. You miss it after a year. Even when we made it when [former Eagles QB] Jeff [Garcia] took over, I wanted to be in there. I just continued to rally with the guys and tried to motivate them in any way, while I was out and Jeff was playing. Again, when the time comes, you just don't want it to end. You want to take care of each opportunity or take care of each chance that you can, while you're in to stay in. That's something that, obviously, we're looking forward to this playoffs and, hopefully, we'll continue it on."

On how he focused on the playoff games in 2006, when he wasn't playing due to injury:"I was still part of the team. I was excited to see that we went on, I believe, a six-game winning streak. The locker room was excited, the people in Philadelphia were excited, and I was excited. When we played the first game against the Giants, on the sideline, I was excited for the guys. In the same way, when they went down to New Orleans, I sat in front of the TV and cheered and wanted us to, hopefully, make it to Chicago, but that didn't happen. That just added motivation for me after that, to just work hard and try to get us back to that point and, possibly, move on."

On this being Minnesota QB Tarvaris Jackson's first playoff game and what he remembers from his first: "You think about so much in your first playoff game. You want to be perfect, you want to lead the team to a victory, and you want to go out and play well. There are a lot of things racing through your mind at that particular time. I wouldn't say that butterflies kick in—maybe for some—but you just think about so much, instead of just focusing on going out and being methodical and just running your offense. As the game continues on, you begin to settle down and just play football. He's going to have a lot racing through his mind. Everybody goes through it, but eventually he'll settle down and just play football."

On how he feels about playing against Minnesota head coach Brad Childress who was Philadelphia's offensive coordinator from 1999-2005: "I'm happy for him. I'm truly happy for him for his first couple of years there. The team was trying to weigh him out and see if he was the right coach and they weren't buying into his system or philosophy. As it continued on, they brought more guys in to try to help them out in so many ways. [DE] Jared Allen has done wonderful things for them on defense and, offensively, [WR] Bernard Berrian has played well for them. [RB] Adrian Peterson has played well. It makes their job a lot easier. I'm excited that he's had the opportunity now to move into the playoffs. Not excited about playing him, but we have to. I think, for Brad, it's a step further. The team seems to be rallying behind him and has bought into his philosophy."

On Childress being familiar with a lot of the Eagles players: "Brad and I both came into the NFL together. Brad came from Wisconsin and, obviously, me being drafted. It was a learning process that we all had to go through together; him not being an NFL coach and getting used to that system of what he had to do, and now both of us working together to see how we can be better at what we do. I was excited about his opportunity of getting that job, but still it's another learning process that he had to learn of being a head coach now. This stepping stone right here is big for him and those guys, but it's also big for us as well. It's a challenge for both sides."

On whether Childress' knowledge of McNabb and the Eagles offense is an advantage for him:"I don't know. We tend to change, year-in and year-out. It's easy to sit and say 'I know him' and 'This is what I taught him' and 'This is what he does', but I'm a little older now. I've worked with [quarterbacks coach] Pat Shurmur and [offensive coordinator] Marty Mornhinweg now and things have changed. Will it help him? I don't know, maybe not. [Former Eagles' defensive backs coach] Leslie Frazier was here as well, their defensive coordinator. It's not like he doesn't know anything about me either."

On playing at Minnesota in 2007 and whether he saw anything in that game that will help him on Sunday: "No, it's a lot different when you're away because you want to put your spin on things. He's not going to do everything [head coach] Andy [Reid] used to do and Leslie's not going to do everything that [defensive coordinator] Jim [Johnson] does. The defense is a whole lot different than what Jim runs. Offensively, it's somewhat similar, but he still put his little wrinkle on things. We're similar, but very different in so many ways. In that first game, I didn't see them doing anything out of the ordinary that I hadn't seen in the previous years from other teams."

On what his range of emotions has been since the game at Baltimore: "No range of emotions. I'm happy."

On whether he was happy after he was benched at Baltimore: "I was happy then and I'm happy now."

On how much DE Jared Allen has helped the Vikings: "Jared Allen, he's a force. His last year in Kansas City, I believe he had 17 sacks or so and he just continued it on in Minnesota and is a guy that, obviously, you have to pay attention to. When you play a guy like [Dallas LB DeMarcus Ware] who's very close to breaking the record to now playing Jared Allen, it just doesn't get any easier. For their whole defense, you look at, obviously, Jared Allen and the numbers that he's put up, but then [DT] Pat Williams may come back. Then you have Pat and [DT] Kevin [Williams] to worry about. [LB Chad] Greenway has been playing well for them. Their secondary has 17 interceptions or so. They've really been playing well and playing well at home. It's going to be a challenge for us, playing against that defense."

On whether establishing RB Brian Westbrook early helps the offense: "I don't know if it's necessarily getting Brian going early. I think it's more about the offense getting going early. It's important that we start out fast, if it's passing or running. I think anytime you get in the mode of just trying to run, run, run, just because everybody wants you to run, it takes away from what you're doing. When we do run, we have to be effective in the run. When we pass, we have to be effective in the pass. In playoff play, it's about eliminating turnovers, for the defense to create turnovers and being consistent on the offensive side to sustain the clock, to sustain the drive, move the chains and score points. That's what playoff play is all about."

On what it says about Andy Reid that head coaches Brad Childress and Baltimore's John Harbaugh, who got their start under Reid, are in the playoffs: "It says a lot, not just about Andy, but about that whole west coast tree of all the guys starting from [former 49ers head coach] Bill Walsh and moving down the guys who branch off and do their own thing; Andy being a part of that. Guys like Brad Childress and [San Diego defensive coordinator] Ron Rivera, who moved on from linebacker coach to now defensive coordinator. The list goes one, Leslie Frazier is now a defensive coordinator, Spags [New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo] is a defensive coordinator. The guys that have coached here have been given opportunities to move on and do something better. It says a lot about the success that we've had here early, which has opened up the doors for those guys."

On whether he thinks the Eagles are one of the hottest teams going into the playoffs:"It would be easy to say that, but I think we're all even. That's in the NFC and that's in the AFC because everyone is starting out 0-0. Some of the top teams have fallen off, have lost to teams that they shouldn't have. We're all going into this thing even and what team is going to come out at the end? We'll see."

On whether he feels the need to talk to first- and second-year players who will be playing in their first-career playoff game on Sunday:"I think, in this situation, you don't want to put any more added pressure on them than they have already. You want them to have the same mentality, just like it's the regular season. The way of handling that is just making sure that they're loose and still prepared to go out and have a good game. These guys that you mentioned, [C/G] Nick Cole, the [TE] Brent Celeks, the [WR] DeSean Jacksons, even [WR] Kevin Curtis, to make sure that those guys are ready to go, prepared and confident to go out and have a good game."

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