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Philadelphia Eagles News

QB Donovan McNabb

On the election of President-Elect Barack Obama and the fact that he is from McNabb's home-state of Illinois:"Anything is possible. We've made big strides from what could possibly have happened in the past. Here's an individual who's truly intelligent, smart, has a gameplan for change and I'm truly excited for him. I had a chance to meet him in 2005 and got a chance to talk. He's a wonderful individual. I'm excited for him, I'm excited for the city of Chicago and just the world. I think everyone will be excited about what he expects to do and what he's going to get done. For the first time, I had the opportunity to vote and I can say that I was a part of it."

On how he met Obama:"I met him at the President's Dinner in (Washington) D.C. I believe it was around the first mini-camp of 2005. (Patriots QB) Tom Brady and I both were there and I got a chance to meet him and his wife and just talk about different things."

On why this was the first time he has voted:"I'm a registered voter now, so I had the opportunity to vote for the first time."

On why he didn't vote in previous elections:"I wasn't registered then."

On whether he ever imagined, growing up, that the election of an African-American president would be possible:"No, not at all. Obviously, growing up and seeing and hearing how some people may feel about having an African-American president, I didn't think it was possible. But, when you have an individual who people have truly looked past his skin color and just listened to his thoughts and what his gameplan is of what he wants to do in office and how he would go about it, that's the positive thing that I think people should truly focus on; how people have looked past his skin color and look to support him as an individual in what he plans to do."

On whether Obama was helped by his strong Caucasian support:"I think it truly helped. Not just his Caucasian backing, but he had the females as well and he just went about it business as usual. Through the criticism he received, he stayed strong, stayed on course and finished off on top."

On whether he stayed up to watch the election last night:"I did."

On what he thought when he saw all the people in Chicago to support Obama:"It was historic. He's such a great speaker. It reminded me of, obviously, when Martin Luther King (Jr.) spoke and the messages that he spoke about. It was so similar. He's a wonderful speaker and he really reached out. As a man, if you teared up, it was acceptable because it was that deep."

On whether he talked about sports with Obama when they met:"We did. I went to high school not far from his house in Chicago and he had an opportunity to watch me in high school and in college and, obviously now, in the pros. We talked about that a little bit. He said he was a big fan of mine and, obviously at that time, being a Senator, it was nice. Now, you look up and he's the president. I got a picture with him. It will be in a frame. I'm definitely going to put it in a frame and maybe he'll get a chance to sign an autograph for me. The thing that I think about now is, wouldn't it be special if we make it to the Super Bowl and win and I get the phone call from Barack Obama? That would be excellent."

On how much sports influences society:"Sports play a major part in it. The percentage of African Americans playing in each individual sport and spreading the diversity of it and accepting the fact that there are some big-name African Americans playing in a sport that people didn't expect them to play in. Jackie Robinson and the things that he was able to do in baseball. Basketball, you look at guys like Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and those guys playing at that time. Now, looking at hockey, you have more than a handful of African Americans out there playing. No one expected it to get to that point, but now we have. We can make change, just like Obama said, and change will be made."

On why he is willing to talk about the election now:"The fact is, the election is over. You just hope for the best. I didn't want to jinx anything by talking about it and it never getting done. Just continue to stay prayerful for it and have confidence that it would happen. What do you know? History was made."

On whether he watched the way Obama dealt with criticism throughout the campaign and whether he learned anything about his own life:"I think it was similar in his process and the things that he went through of the criticism that he received; people going back into his past and trying to really characterize him and figure out what type of person he was. For people to make assumptions without even talking to the guy or getting to know him, it's similar to everything that I've been through. Obviously, it's on a different level with him because he's the president of the United States, but I just watched the way he handled it; standing strong up there, continuing not to get rattled. In that situation, it's easy to get rattled and try to fire back, but he continued to stay even-keeled and stayed focused on his plan and his goal. He was able to accomplish that."

On how important this week's game against New York is to get to the Super Bowl:"Thank you. (Jokingly) I felt like I was running with (Obama). It's truly important. This week is important because it gives us an opportunity to move up in the standings. Also, it adds more confidence to what we want to get done around here. Playing a tough team like the Giants who are coming off a Super Bowl when they're playing well at this particular point and we're playing pretty well at this particular point, it's important that we continue to keep that same mindset that we've had in previous weeks of just going out and establishing the tempo and finishing strong in the game. If we're able to do that this week, we'll find ourselves in better position, but we'll still have to keep that same approach the following week as well."

On the team's struggles against the Giants last year and what they can do to be better on Sunday:"We have to block better, we have to run the ball better and we have to pass the ball better. We have to eliminate turnovers and be able to move the chains consistently and come out with points. When you're playing a team like this that shows blitz and, at times, they may sit back in the zone, you have to be able to capitalize on those opportunities. There were opportunities in that first game, as well as the second game, for us to come out with touchdowns instead of field goals. When you're playing a team like this that feeds off of turnovers or feeds off of mistakes, it's important that you eliminate those and be able to go out with a different attitude, a different approach, to keep them guessing."

On how you prepare for and win an important game like this:"I think you have to forget about the past and focus on the present time. I think it's a different team now. The attitudes are a lot different and I think what helps, in this situation, is the fact that we've won three in a row. Last year, it seemed like every time we won one game, we lost two. So, we couldn't get into a rhythm. In the previous years, it was the same way. When you get into a rhythm, your confidence level continues to grow and it feels like whatever play is called, that could be that big play. There's no team to overlook in any way. We know how important this game is and, obviously, when we play a team two times a year, we know the importance of winning both games. We know what situation we're in, we just have to be able to go out and secure the win and it starts from the very beginning of the game."

On how he feels about the fact that odds-makers favor the Eagles in this game:"I view us as the favorite. Any player will say that. It's no slight to (the Giants). It's no slight to anyone. You have to go into the game with confidence and you have to go into the game feeling like, if you do your job individually and play at a high level, you can win the game."

On how he would describe the rivalry with the Giants:"For the better part of ten years, it's probably at the top of the list for me. I remember, my first couple of years—my first two years actually—I believe we lost nine or ten or eleven in a row to them before we beat them on that Monday night. This rivalry is something that's been going back and forth. It's something that everyone knows about. As a player, you definitely understand it as well."

On whether defensive coordinator Jim Johnson gives the offense any insight into Giants defensive coordinator and former Eagles linebackers coach Steve Spagnuolo's defense:"No, not at all. We compete against our defense all the time and the one thing I think is, as a coach, when you've been in the system for so long, you want to add your own wrinkle to it. It's the same as on offense. The west coast offense, if you look across the league, when people hear west coast offense, they think it's really similar. But, coaches add their own wrinkles to it. This west coast offense is different from (Tampa Bay head coach) Jon Gruden's offense, it's different from (Denver head coach) Mike Shanahan's offense, and it's different from (Seattle head coach) Mike Holmgren's offense. The defense is the same way. You look at this defense compared to what Spags is doing and his defense is doing a little bit more things than Jim would do. That's just based on your personnel. You have to be able to know your personnel and put your guys in positions to be successful. But, there are some similar things that they run that we've seen with our defense."

On whether he has to try not to get too hyped up in a game like this:"No. I enjoy playing these games because you know that everyone is watching and this gives us an opportunity nationally to show what type of team we have. We'll be fired up all week, but we understand that we can't play the game until Sunday night. We look forward to it."

On how the Giants have been able to overcome the injury to DE Osi Umenyiora:"You credit those guys like (LB Mathias) Kiwanuka, coming off of injury, and (DE Justin) Tuck for, late in the season, playing as well as he did—even in the Super Bowl, to stay at that high level the way he's been playing. But, the guy who really stands out on film who's truly been playing really well this year is (Fred) Robbins, their defensive tackle. He and (DT Barry) Cofield both have been applying pressure on the inside so it's tough for quarterbacks sometimes to step up in the pocket with that wide rush coming, which takes pressure off of their linebackers. They've been interchanging their linebackers. They brought in Danny Clark, and Antonio Pierce has been with them for a couple years. When you have your front four applying pressure to the quarterback like that, you're not telling your coordinator that he has to blitz more guys because you feel confident in those guys getting to the quarterback. Missing guys like (former DE Michael) Strahan and Osi, you would think that they would take a backseat or take a step back from where they've been, but they've actually been playing really well."

On how a quarterback can get into a rhythm in a game after starting out slow:"I think, when you get in that situation, if it starts maybe like Seattle or even the week before, you're just looking for those next couple plays to get into the rhythm. When you get into that rhythm, it feels like whatever pass play is called is going to be complete. That's what it's all about, just getting into a rhythm. When you get into a rhythm, it's just like being in the zone in basketball. You feel like whatever shots you throw up, you're going to make."

On what adjustments he has had to make this year with the injuries to the wide receivers:"You have to work with the guys that you have and build that chemistry and timing. In that process, you continue to show trust in those guys that, if they get open, you reward them with the ball. Let them understand that the ball may be there as soon as they come out of their route and that's something that we've been able to do and our guys have been successful with that. We've called plays for certain guys and they've done a great job of making plays for us. Being in a situation where you have guys going in and out due to injury or whatever it may be, you just, for the guys that are in there, keep that same attitude. Run great routes and if you come open, you get the ball. Everyone, I believe, that has played on the offensive side who can catch the ball has caught balls and has picked up yards for us."

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