Philadelphia Eagles News

QB Donovan McNabb

On whether he has run the offense any differently over the last two games:"I thought we kind of got it back to the way we started the season out. That was getting guys involved and giving them an opportunity to make plays for you. Also, being able to set up the run a little bit. Obviously, people can focus in on just us running the ball. There's a difference between being successful in the run, the way we have been in the last couple of weeks, and running the ball and not being able to pick up yards. It's not something that people are used to, but we have kind of used the run game, as well as the intermediate passing game as the run game. Five to eight-yard routes to pick up yards on first down and be able to keep the chains moving. These couple of weeks, obviously, have been different because of the success we've had in all areas—being efficient and being able to control the clock. That's something we need to do and look forward to doing in these next couple weeks."

On whether it's a different style of offense for him not to throw as many deep passes:"No, because people were complaining that we weren't going deep before. Then when we were going deep early in the season, then people were complaining that we weren't running the ball. Now we're running the ball and throwing intermediate passes. We're still trying to attack downfield, but if nothing is there, then hit a shorter route and give him an opportunity to get big yards for you. Just continue to play smart football. I think [offensive coordinator] Marty [Mornhinweg] has put an emphasis on making sure that we do the right things and put us in the right position to do the right things. It's something we need to do at this particular point in the season, as well."

On whether he feels like he has been asked to help win the games now, as opposed to being asked to win the games:"I've been asked to win the game every game. Although it may not look that way, quarterbacks are asked to win the game—some quarterbacks. In this situation, [RB] Brian [Westbrook] has definitely aided in that in being able to pick up yards for us. Even when he has been banged up, [RB] Correll Buckhalter and [RB Lorenzo] Booker stepped in to pick up yards for us. Early on in the season, we were throwing the ball a little bit more and picking up big yards and scoring touchdowns. At this point in the season, it's important that you be able to run the ball, obviously due to weather. Teams now have to decide if they want to blitz or sit back in the zone. If they decide to sit in the zone, you have to be able to run the ball effectively."

On whether he thinks that sitting in the second half of the Ravens game has helped him over the last two weeks: "No."

On the Browns defense: "They are a team that I think is being overlooked. They're a team who creates turnovers, whether it is fumbles or interceptions or batted balls. At times, people tend to just focus on the record or focus on where they are ranked, as far as stopping the run and the pass. They are 28th, I believe, as far as the run is concerned, and 15th in the pass, or so. It's important to be able to establish that run game. It sets up the play action and gives us an opportunity, maybe, to look downfield. If nothing is there, check it down. In a game like this, it's important that we play smart football—don't turn the ball over, create turnovers on defense, special teams giving us big yards and forcing them to be backed up. That's something we've been doing in previous weeks. It's important that we stay on top of it and do what we started in the Thanksgiving game, and continue on."

On the sense of confidence on the team right now:"We've had that confidence. Obviously, you get more confidence with winning. I felt like we've had that confidence going into each game, because we knew the talent we had and what we were capable of doing. Again, when you win games, everything gets sugar coated. You don't really want to focus on the weaknesses that you have, because you are winning games. We've won the games in the last couple of weeks, now it's coming out that we have that confidence, that swagger. We are still the same team, we're just eliminating the mistakes we were making in the previous weeks and focusing on what we need to do in order to be successful in these games we've been playing."

On what it does to opposing defenses when he takes off and runs for a first down: "It gets you upset or it gets you frustrated, obviously, when you're covering all the receivers and the check-downs and you feel like you can at least get pressure to the quarterback because you've covered all his options. When the quarterback decides to get out of the pocket, it frustrates you. Now you're trying to figure out, 'If we decide blitz, will we get to him fast enough before he gets the ball out.' When they do decide to blitz, you get the ball out to receivers and they pick up a first down, now teams really need to second-guess everything they have decided to do. Yes I've been using my legs, but it's a credit to the defense that we've been playing—either they've been getting pressure or they've been covering our receivers."

* On whether he can sense defenses getting frustrated when he runs:*
"They've kind of talked about it a little bit on the field and kind of shown a lot of frustration. As an offensive player, you get excited about it, because it's the answer to the questions they may have had. I think we've been successful with that and hopefully continue on with it."

* On why he has run more often recently:*
"We have been getting some pressure. You have to avoid pressure and buy time and try to get something going positive."

On how excited he is about potentially going to the playoffs after not personally playing in a playoff game since the 2004 season:"You play to make the playoffs and put yourself in position to make the Super Bowl. I don't think any player just kind of plays to go through the regular season and that's it. I don't look at the last time I've been there as a starter. I was a part of the team that made it with Jeff Garcia [in 2006]. I would say I made it then as well. I look to get on a win streak and obviously continue on what we've been doing and hopefully put ourselves in a position to make the playoffs. Whatever happens after that, happens. The only thing I'm focused on at this particular point is playing against the Cleveland Browns."

On whether it was difficult for him to watch the 2006 season from afar:"It wasn't difficult at all. When I was able to stand on the sideline and cheer for the team against the Giants, I didn't want to become a distraction, by any means. If Jeff [Garcia] had any questions, or whatever, [I was] there for him. I didn't want to be in the way or try to draw any attention to myself. That's the way I try to be. I try to be the ultimate team player. If I'm injured or not able to go, then the next man who steps in, just continue to provide confidence for him so that the team can rally behind him and hopefully good things can happen for the team."

* On what he remembers about the atmosphere at the end of the 2006 season:*
"It was a different position for me, but you see that confidence. One thing I don't think this team lacks is confidence. Production? Maybe. But, I think this team has really stepped out on the field to go out and make big plays. That's similar, because you're seeing guys step up and say, 'Hey, I'll be open, just throw me the ball,' or 'I am going to be that guy who is going to make the big play.' You see that confidence from individual players. That's what you like; that's what you want to see."

On why the offense got away from being balanced during the middle of the season: "We had a lot of big plays. I believe we are in the top five in terms of plays of over 20 yards. You try to go through a course of a game and try to create those. We had a lot of plays of over 20 yards, big-time plays, touchdowns, whatever it may be. Whatever the case may be, at that particular point, we changed a little bit. At this time during the season, this is when you kind of get back to hard-nosed football. You get back to running the ball, you get back to play-action passes, maybe the intermediate passing game that sets up some of the deeper routes that could lead to long touchdowns."

On why he thinks the team has been more successful in short-yardage situations recently: "Picking up first downs. It's important that you pick up yards on first and second down to set it up for third and short. Third-and-two or third-and-three, where you're able to run the ball or set it up for a big passing play. First and second down are very important."

On whether he sees a difference in defensive schemes when he is able to run the ball:"I don't see it. Teams know I can run the ball. I'm not going to just drop back and run the ball 15 or 20 times a game. That's not my job title. You have a running back for that. If it calls for me to get out of the pocket and use my legs at times, that's what I'll do. I don't see teams kind of going back to the whole 'spy' or whatever defense they had called at that particular time, when I was younger. Teams know we can throw the ball and we can throw it successfully."

On Browns CBs Eric Wright and Brandon McDonald: "Two young corners. I believe McDonald has three interceptions. Wright is a young guy who is really fast and has a lot of confidence in his speed. The scheme they have for them is playing a lot of zone and not much man, where they're not really putting their hands on receivers as much. I think Wright is a little more aggressive than McDonald, but McDonald really reads his keys well. He had a pretty good game against the Giants on Monday night, McDonald against [Giants WR] Plaxico Burress. They feel really confident in their safeties, to be able to aid in stopping the run, as well as being in the middle third versus some of the deeper routes."

On what he is looking to do when he is flushed out of the pocket: "I'm looking to throw. It's about buying time for your receivers. If there's a running lane, you step up in the pocket. Hopefully one of your receivers or running backs finds a way to get open. Then, you just deliver it to him to give him an opportunity to make a play. You have to have that clock in your mind on when you're getting close to the line, to just tuck it away and pick up what you can."

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