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Philadelphia Eagles News

QB Donovan McNabb

On how exciting of a game this game against Dallas is: "It's an exciting time and I think it comes at a great time for us because leading into the playoffs we want to make sure that we are clicking on all cylinders, and what a better stage than to play in Dallas against one of our top rivals and for a lot on the line. We're all excited about this opportunity, and we're looking forward to this week of practice, to get out there and hopefully be able to bring a win home and secure a nice spot in our division."

On whether the pass to WR Jeremy Maclin on the game-winning drive against Denver was intended for him: "It was intended for Jeremy, but the way that I look at it at this point is it's something in which we've been able to do for a couple of weeks, but that's over. Our focus now is on the Dallas Cowboys and we're looking forward to this opportunity."

On what is different about big games and whether big games are defining for quarterbacks: "Not really, no. We've played in numerous big games. This is just a game that we have to approach just like we've approached all the other games, but there is a lot more on the line. We will attack that kind of method at practice of coming out and being able to be real methodical about different plays, different routes, what we will be faced with, and how to answer those questions. I think playing against the Cowboys, a team that we see twice a year, they have an understanding of what we like to do, we know what they like to do, and it's just two teams clashing to try to achieve that common goal."

On what Dallas did in the first matchup of the season that was effective: "They just made more plays than we did. There were a lot of miscues in that game, mistakes that we made. They played well and they just capitalized on opportunities. When you play a game like that against a team that you see twice a year, those are the things that kind of get you over the top, and we have to make sure that this weekend we eliminate that and do what we need to do."

On Dallas getting a lot of pressure earlier this year and why that was:"They have good personnel and they blitz a little bit. They have some guys just kind of coming off of our guys free and making the tackle behind the line of scrimmage, but there were situations where I probably could have gotten the ball out a little faster. Those are things that I've watched on film that we try to correct, but I think for all of us, we were not excited by any means by the way we played and we look forward to stepping out on the field and correcting that."

On whether it will take a lot of work this week for him to get comfortable with G/C Nick Cole at center: "We've worked together for numerous years. We've worked together at practice, we've worked together in the film room after practice watching myself and (C) Jamaal (Jackson) and Nick and (G/T) Todd Herremans, so it's obviously a tough task because Jamaal was the guy. Jamaal was the guy that set the tone for those guys, made the calls, the leader up there, and I think Nick can fill into that role. Nick obviously was a starting guard so he knows all the calls, he knows who to make the MIKE, and where we need to block and things of that nature. We're going to take the time during the week of making sure we secure our quarterback-center exchange and being on the same page and I think he'll be fine."

On what the challenge has been for him this year with all the young players:"With the team that we have I think it's important that we try to keep everybody even-keel, understanding that there are highs and lows in a season like this, making sure that they understand the way of approaching and preparing against different teams – you may see something one week and it's going to be a whole lot different the next – making sure you're watching film and asking questions, practicing at a high level so that come game time it becomes second nature to you. Those guys have truly learned I think extremely fast. (WR) Jason (Avant) and (WR) Reggie (Brown) and (WR) Kevin (Curtis) now coming back have tried to set the tone to make sure those guys begin to follow it. But Maclin and (WR) DeSean (Jackson), (TE Brent) Celek, (RB) LeSean McCoy, (FB Leonard) Weaver, those guys have really progressed each week and we've been able to put them in different positions so that now we feel like we have a mismatch and we can go in and attack it."

On what message he gives the younger players before a game of this magnitude, and whether he thinks the young guys have helped him have the type of season he's had: "They've definitely helped me and I don't look at it any other way because I can't do it without those guys. The thing that I try to express to these guys is don't get caught up in the hoopla of the new stadium and the intangibles in the stadium, the talk of how big this game is and how different this game is from any other game. Prepare like it was the game last week, watch the film, know who you're facing, know what you're going to be seeing as far as blitzes are concerned or coverages, knowing the guy that is going to be playing you and the way that we can attack them, and be able to go out at practice with that same attitude, and when the game comes, let's just go out and have fun."

On how hard it is for the young guys to grasp that message: "These guys have grasped it every week and it's not a problem at all for those guys. If you're asking the young guy to step in in a position like this versus the Dallas Cowboys with everything kind of riding on it then you would have to spend more time. I think with these guys they've kind of understood the situation we're in and how things have been going and just try to make sure that they understand that it's no different."

On whether he remembers how long it took him to grasp that message, and who helped him along the way:"It took me until my second year because I was the starter. For us, being in the situation that we were from 5-11 in my rookie year to playing against tougher teams and me being in there all the time, to us going 10-6. Who led me? (Offensive quality control coach and former Eagles quarterback) Doug Pederson was the guy that kind of expressed that to me and just how to prepare week in and week out, knowing what you'll be faced with, how teams will probably be able to go up against me, and what they would try to do. Doug was the guy that really led the charge for me so that I would be able to pass that on to guys like A.J. (Feeley) and (QB) Kevin (Kolb)."

On him grabbing at his hamstring during the game against Denver: "It was a little tweak but nothing serious. I got back out there and got going. It wasn't anything serious at all, I guess I had to kick the rust off a little bit for a 25, 30-yard run."

On whether he watched the Vikings-Bears game on Monday Night Football: "I watched up until halftime and then found something better to do, played with my kids a little bit. I really didn't watch again until about the middle of overtime and that was really because my phone was going off and everybody was telling me that the Bears were winning and it was a close game so I turned it on. A situation like that, for me, I'm not that deep into it because we're in a position where we can pretty much write our own ticket, and if Minnesota would have won, it still didn't really matter to us unless we beat Dallas, so I didn't get caught up into that whole deal."

On whether the loss of Jamaal Jackson puts more stress on his shoulders because Jackson was such a vocal leader in the huddle: "No, nothing more than usual. Jack was a guy that worked extremely hard all throughout the offseason, worked hard all throughout the year, prepared, made sure that everybody understood what they were supposed to do and I think Nick can do the same. Nick is a guy that may not be as vocal as Jamaal but he has the capability. You just don't want to see this situation happen but it happens in football, it happens to all of us. I wish that Jamaal would have had an opportunity to be selected by his peers to the Pro Bowl for his efforts, but I think Nick will be fine."

On him being selected as a first alternate for the Pro Bowl: "It's still funny to me that I was a first alternate. I just didn't see that happening, neither did I even pay too much attention or care about it because my main focus is obviously what I said early on in the offseason when I was sitting up here with (head coach) Andy (Reid) and (owner) Jeffrey (Lurie) was to focus on the main goal and that's to be in the Super Bowl in Miami. It would be nice to be down there that Sunday for the game but then the practice that following week – but that is my main concern, that's all the other guys' main concern if that's the case that may happen."

On why he didn't see himself getting a Pro Bowl nomination: "For me missing two games, or three games, or so, and the numbers that these other guys have put up, I just really didn't see it, neither did I really focus on that anyway. These guys have put up some great numbers, and as a team we've done a lot of great things. So again, my main focus is to get to Miami and then next week, not in that week."

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