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Philadelphia Eagles News

QB Donovan McNabb

On head coach Andy Reid's comment that "he's playing right now as well as he's ever played""I think, as a team, we're playing well. Individually, I don't look at it that way. I look at it that, offensively, we've been doing a lot of different things, as far as the run game, play-action, the screen game, as well as the pass game. We're being very effective on third-down, as well as time of possession. As far as team is concerned, an offensive unit, I think we're really playing well and, defensively, we're playing well, as well. Energy wise, I think you're seeing a team out there that understands the situation, being able to capitalize on each opportunity, and that's exciting for us."

On what it does for an offense to be able to spread the ball around like the Eagles have been doing: "We've done it before. We've done it numerous amounts of times. It shows that we're not just trying to focus on one or two guys to try to feed. Everyone has a perfect opportunity to make plays for us and, when teams just want to sit back and play a man or zone coverage, the ball can go anywhere. That's something that I take pride in, of just rewarding guys for their great effort, creating separation or running great routes and giving them an opportunity to help us in so many ways."

On whether he thinks his benching at Baltimore was an attempt to make the team play better: "I think the team is playing well. I think we're all playing well together. For me to be used as the guy to motivate other guys, I really don't think that was needed, but I guess we've all seen what happened and have learned from it and moved on. It's a different situation when it's really not you that's being the guy to motivate everyone else. I think, in light of it, I guess we're all playing well together."

On whether his relationship with Andy Reid has changed since his benching: "My relationship hasn't changed with Andy. I guess that would be an assumption that people would make because of the situation and the coverage which it has received. I guess maybe they took it from 'we'll have to talk after whenever', but in this situation, we're professionals. We know what our job entitles us to do and that's for me to go out onto the field and lead this team to successful wins and try to get us in a position to make the playoffs. Anything else after that is after we're done. As far as right now, we're focusing on what we need to do to beat Washington."

On the holiday season: "This is a great time to spend time with your family. When you talk about the holiday season, it's about bringing joy to your family and joy to others who may not have been able to receive something like this. We're truly blessed who receive gifts and give gifts. There are people out there who are less fortunate and, obviously, at a time like this when the economy is bad, you just want to make sure that you bring joy to people's hearts. For us as football players, it could be us just going out and playing football, playing well and bringing excitement to families across America who watch the Philadelphia Eagles. That could be a Christmas gift that not a lot of people would be able to receive or go out and purchase."

On whether it's tough having to work through the holidays: "It's not tough. At least we're given some time to spend with our families during the Christmas time. Again, I enjoy when you can give gifts to someone who may not be able to receive something like that; if it's kids, if it's adults, families, whoever it may be. If we can do anything, and maybe winning this weekend or winning these next couple games is something, that people can't just go out and buy."

On whether it was important to win without a big game from RB Brian Westbrook vs. Cleveland: "We've done it before with injuries. Guys get banged up and other guys have to step up. When you play games, everyone knows the effectiveness that Westbrook brings to our offense and the way that we try to get him the ball. Everyone has to elevate their game. In the early part of the season when Westbrook was a little banged up, guys made a lot of plays for us. We're asking them to do the same thing now. With that, having a healthier Westbrook out there helps us in so many ways it's an added bonus. For what we need to get accomplished in the next couple weeks, it's important that we do that."

On how the team can avoid overlooking the game at Washington for the following game vs. Dallas: "We can't afford to look past anyone. This Redskins team, we remember what happened in the first game that we should have won that game. This is another opportunity for us to, obviously, erase what happened in that first game and just start us a little bit where we want to go. I think this team has understood the fact that each individual game that we play is very important. That's our approach out at practice, that's our approach in the film room and that's our approach on gameday when we step out onto the field."

On what Washington isn't doing now that it was at the beginning of the season: "They're pretty much doing the same things. It's just the fact that they may not be making as many plays as they were early on. It's sort of a different team from the way they started things out. They got on a roll. Offensively, they were doing some great things and, defensively, they were creating turnovers. That's something that you just don't see as much. I think, when we play each other, everyone brings their A-game and it becomes a battle and a grind. It's important that we continue on with what we've been doing; creating turnovers on defense, getting good field position in the special teams department and, offensively, being able to control the time of possession and also converting on third downs to come up with points."

On what he likes about the team's group of wide receivers: "I think our guys have really stepped up and challenged themselves to make plays for us. Early on, with our top two receivers being injured, I thought (WR) DeSean (Jackson) stepped into the role and has been playing well, consistently all throughout the year. (WR) Hank Baskett stepped in and really made some big plays. (WR) Jason Avant, as you see, has continued to flourish in this offense. (WR) Greg Lewis, when called upon, he always seems to make plays. And, it's not just the receiving corps., I think you have to add in our tight ends and running backs as well. This year has been an excellent year, as far as our passing game is concerned. We've had some tough games in there, but still we're on pace to pass for more than we've had since I've been here. We need to put that together and win these next couple of games and, hopefully, good things happen for us."

On whether this is the best group of wide receivers he's ever had from top to bottom: "That's hard to say. I think in 2004, having that one individual player, T.O. (WR Terrell Owens), who made a lot of plays for us, big plays, and then you have guys really making bigger plays. (Former WR) Todd Pinkston was in the top three or top two as far as big plays over 20 yards. Greg Lewis really flourished that year, (TE) L.J. Smith had a great year. Brian Westbrook, although not rushing the ball, but as far as receiving, he was up there as far as yards were concerned. Really, we only played probably 11 games, 12 games. T.O. got hurt and Andy took us out after that first series in the St. Louis game on Monday night and then we really didn't play that much until the playoffs started. It's kind of hard to compare the two, but I think these guys have really been doing a great job for us."

On what the advantages are of having as many receiving targets as this team has: "It's always good when you have guys that have the ability of making plays after the catch. You just want to give those guys opportunities to make plays and call plays for them. I think, sometimes, when you look across and you have one or two guys who demand maybe a double-team or guys who teams have to focus on, you forget about the other guys. When you look across the board at our guys, you have (TE) Brent Celek coming in and making plays, you have Jason Avant, Hank Baskett filling in for Reggie, DeSean, Kevin Curtis or whatever. It's a handful of guys that really have done great things for us all season. As a quarterback, you just want to get ways to get them the ball to make plays for the team to help us win."

On whether the offense is playing its best football of the season right now: "We've had spurts all throughout the year. I think right now, we're really bringing things together, knowing that this is what we have to do at this particular time. I think our third-down conversion has really helped us in so many ways and I think that's something that we have truly focused on and we need to continue to improve on. Staying on the field is important, it's not just three-and-outs or just trying to put ourselves in position to convert in some way. We're converting third-downs so that's very important."

On whether he's been playing with a chip on his shoulder since the Baltimore game: "I've been playing with a chip on my shoulder since the beginning of the season. I didn't need any added motivation to come out and play well by any means. I've been a part of a lot of different situations, so finding motivation for me is not a problem."

On why he's had a chip on his shoulder since the beginning of the season: "Because I wanted to play better than I played last year."

On whether he plans to call Minnesota head coach Brad Childress to wish him good luck this week against Atlanta: "No. We'll definitely be rooting for them, but we'll be rooting for San Diego as well as Baltimore. We just have to do our jobs and make sure that we go out and play well against the Redskins."

On whether these last two games will determine his future with the Eagles: "I'm not truly worried about my future at this point. I'm just focusing on playing well against the Redskins."

On his strong statistics this year and whether he's disappointed by not making the Pro Bowl: "You win ballgames, you get a better nod I guess. I guess the same would go for (San Diego QB) Philip Rivers, who leads the NFL in almost every category and he doesn't make it. I've been in this game for a while where I've seen a lot of people who should have made the Pro Bowl, but didn't make it. The only thing that I can do at this point is go out and play well against the Redskins and hopefully put us in the playoffs."

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