"First of all, last week, great job by some of the backup players. They got great experience to get in a football game and they battled through it and did a pretty good job."
On whether playing a lot against the Falcons last week helps the younger guys in terms of an experience factor if they have to get in the game in the playoffs:
"Sure, absolutely. Some of our offensive linemen played different positions and we got some of the young guys in there as well and that will certainly help us down the road."
On what he has seen from WR Hank Baskett:
"He's played well all year. He's done a heck of a job with his preparation and hard work. He certainly has some skill and ability and when you combine those three, it typically turns out pretty good. He's done a heck of a job, especially for a rookie because normally rookies hit a little spell in there where they get fatigued and he just fought right through that."
On what kind of pressure the Eagles offense puts on an opposing defense with all the threats that they have:
"It certainly does [put pressure on defenses]. You mix in a little run with a host of different people catching the football, it usually turns out pretty good."
On how much advanced notice G Shawn Andrews and G/T Todd Herremans had that they would be switched from guard to tackle in the Falcons game:
"None. Now, they practice sets and things like that and [offensive line coach] Juan [Castillo] does a heck of a job with them, preparing the offensive line and preparing them mentally, and then simply taking pass sets before and after practice throughout the whole season."
On whether Andrews and Herremans looked good at tackle:
"Yeah, both of them did a pretty good job."
On whether it's fair to say that the offensive system they have is one of the reasons for QB Jeff Garcia's success:
"Most quarterbacks can play pretty well in this system. Certainly, Jeff has some gut instincts and has always had those and always will, and then his decision making, his accuracy and timing. All three of those are important and all three of those Jeff has and he does all three of those at a pretty high level. You combine that with those instincts that he has and usually you get a pretty good player."
On whether the offensive line is the best in the NFL:
"I would think at least it would be one of the best. I think it would be up there. I have not had the ability to study every offensive line in this league, but that was certainly our goal. And the guys up front, that was their goal going into the season and I would think that they're right up there with any offensive line. [They are] certainly the best offensive line I've ever had the fortune to coach."
On what T Jon Runyan brings to the offensive line:
"Jon brings toughness and consistency. He works through many different injuries that he's had throughout the years and every season. We've been fortunate where all five of those guys are very tough individuals both mentally and physically. None of them have missed any extensive period of time this whole year. That's been a big plus for us and our offensive line gives us a chance to have some success."
On whether there is a common thread in the success that they've had offensively against the Giants in the previous two games:
"I think the fellows played pretty well in those two games and we'll see what happens here Sunday."
On how he sees the personal tragedies Garcia has gone through in his life shaping his football career:
"You'd have to ask him that because I can't feel the things that he felt from those incidents. However, I do know that he's very, very tough physically. He's very, very tough mentally. He's been through a lot, both in his personal life and his football career. He's certainly had some ups and downs there and he's come off the other end and it may very well have made him stronger."
On how he sizes up the twelve playoff quarterbacks:
"We don't concern ourselves with any other quarterback or any other team. We concern ourselves with what we're doing right now and our total focus is what we need to do on Sunday. We've talked about this before. We need to prepare hard and we've got to double our preparation in some cases and we have to work extremely hard on the practice field because we're so young. We've talked about our center's starting basically for the first year. Our right guard is [basically] in his second year starting. Our left guard really is in his first year [starting at guard]. Our fullback is in his first year of starting. We've got two rookie receivers that play. Our starting flanker is in his second year and [WR] Donté [Stallworth] was new. And then we were forced to make a quarterback change. So, we have to prepare. We have to work extremely hard each and every day to have any chance of success on the football field offensively."
On how important it is that Garcia is playing so well heading into the playoffs:
"That's an important thing going into the playoffs. It's important for your football team to be pretty hot going into the playoffs. We've made a pretty good stretch run here and we'll see what happens here Sunday."
On how big it is to have TE Matt Schobel playing better to give them two options at tight end:
"That is a good point. That's one of the things that I wanted to get done going into the year and throughout the year and I just didn't get it done. I'll try to do a better job of that, getting Matt more involved because when you give him enough opportunities he certainly has made the most of those opportunities. He's a fine player. He's athletic and typically he catches the football pretty well. He certainly adds something to our offense."
On what role he played in bringing Garcia in:
"It was a long time ago. I do know that [head coach] Andy [Reid] and [general manager] Tom [Heckert] both liked Jeff Garcia very much and then I had some experience with him from the past. So, all that combined and all of a sudden we signed him and it's worked and it's been good."
On whether the dropped passes Schobel was having was the reason he wasn't playing as much in the middle of the year:
"He had the one drop in the end zone over there and that certainly was not the reason that he hasn't shown up, or I should say he's shown up sporadically during the season. It certainly was not the reason, but it didn't help and he certainly has caught the football very well as of late."
On whether his time as a head coach has shaped him into the coordinator he is now:
"I haven't thought much about that. However, that experience in Detroit, that cup of coffee I had, man, it was a good experience looking down the road. I probably am a little bit different. Everybody changes with experiences that you go through. I thought we were pretty good in San Francisco when I was coordinating, too, with [former 49ers QB] Steve Young and Jeff [Garcia]. We were pretty good back then. We had some great, great players like we do here. So, I probably have changed a little bit."
On whether this offense works best when they spread the ball around:
"Yeah. That's a good point too. You can do it both ways. I've been in those situations where you have a go-to guy and man, that's fun and creative, and you've got to be creative to get that particular man the football a little bit. I've been in other ones, including here, where you spread it around a little bit and that's fun too. You have to be creative to pop people open that way as well. I think both ways puts a tremendous amount of pressure on defenses. And so, you can do it both ways. There's no question about that."
On whether he prefers spreading it around or having a ‘go-to guy':
"I like great players. That's what I like. I like great players."
On whether RB Brian Westbrook is reaching the level of a great player:
"Brian Westbrook's been there. Brian Westbrook is one of the few elite players in this league. Now, I'm biased towards Brian a little bit. Brian Westbrook in fact, I think of all the starting running backs, he has the highest yards per touch. He helps us in many, many different ways. He does about everything you can ask a running back to do at a very high level. Pass protect, run block we don't ask him to do very often, but when he has he's an excellent run-blocker. Certainly, running the football I think he's one of the very best. And then his route-running and adjustments and catching the football, he's one of those guys that puts a lot of heat on the defensive structure."
On whether he gets into a flow as a play-caller like a player can get into a flow:
"There are two things that go into that. One is all of your preparation. That's the biggest thing and the biggest key is the preparation. And then, once the game unfolds, certainly we've got to counterpunch and get into a flow and some of it is a little bit of instincts."
On what the biggest challenge is in facing a team they just played three weeks ago:
"The biggest challenge is in many cases you've played them twice. You played them just a few weeks ago and then you tend to think that you know them and we just can't do that. We've got to mentally think we've got to double our preparation, so we're just right on. Like you guys know, the local guys know, we have to prepare at a high level to have a chance."
On whether he sees his success this year as redemption for his time in Detroit:
"No. We went to a Super Bowl just a couple years ago here. And that's a long time ago. To be honest with you, for probably six months to a year I was checking on them a little bit. But, that's a long time ago. It's in the past. I don't look back very often. We tend to look forward here. And so, when you have that mentality I think it works a little bit better."
On whether Garcia or another player on offense that has surprised him this season:
"Jeff didn't exceed my expectations. We've talked about that. He hasn't surprised me one bit. I think he's playing every bit as well as when he was in his prime. He's with some pretty good players here. Our defense certainly has helped as well as our special teams. When you have a defense and special teams playing at a high level then you're quarterback tends to play a little bit better. Those things go hand-in-hand. And our focus really is we try to cut out any of the outside influences and we're just focusing specifically on the New York Giants here for this Sunday. That's what we've done all year. Our preparation and our hard work on the field has got us to this point. So, we have to remind each other that we have to continue to do that to have a chance to win this ball game."
On whether Garcia gets after guys in the huddle more than other quarterbacks he has seen:
"That's a good point and Jeff has always been that way. As an offensive coordinator, you never or rarely have to concern yourself with the tempo of practice because he starts the tempo and he continues his tempo through practice. That is one of his responsibilities as a quarterback and he does it at a high level and he keeps it going during the game. And he certainly has given us just a little bit of juice. When he came in we were in a little bit of a lull. That's a credit to him. It's a credit to [the fact that] he's a coaches son. That has a little bit to do with it. And he's got a great personality. He's a winner. He's been a winner. He'll always be a winner. He's tough. He's physical. So, all those things combined give us a little shot in the arm."
On what it feels like to go from not knowing if he's going to be able to take a snap in a game to being on the cover of Sports Illustrated going into the playoffs:
"I guess it's never too late in your career to all of the sudden show up on Sports Illustrated. It's an honor, but it's not something that I attribute to just my own success. It's definitely related to the team's success and I just happen to be the guy pulling the trigger right now, being able to represent the team in that sort of way. But, it's something that has created a lot of excitement within myself. I'm so thankful for the opportunity that I've been able to have; playing football here in Philadelphia, being able to be a part of a great organization, being able to be a part of [a] great locker room atmosphere. The guys that I play the game with; I truly appreciate. So, in those sort of ways that is why this experience has been so awesome to me."
On how he liked the picture that is on the cover of Sports Illustrated:
"Not a bad photo. I liked it. I give an approval of it. There's no jinx, I don't even know what that is all about."
On whether he buys into the ‘curse' of being on the cover of Sports Illustrated going into the playoffs:
"No, that's something you guys want to promote. I think it's 70% the other way. It's a positive thing, not a negative thing."
On the recent spark and fire of the Eagles' offense:
"I think that comes with a comfort of being around players that you truly enjoy being around. A comfort of being confident in the offensive system, the scheme and what I have to do. Being comfortable and confident in my own abilities and what I can bring to the table and knowing that I only need to concentrate on myself. I don't need to concentrate on what everybody else is doing because I know that they are doing their job[s], that they are accountable. And when you can do those things, it allows you to play freely and it allows you to bring the most out of yourself. And I think for myself, to play with excitement, to play with emotion – that's part of my game, that's part of how I know that I'm in a zone. And when I'm in a zone like that, I feel like it's going to be tough to beat our team."
On how this team compares to other playoff teams he's been a part of and what he remembers about the playoff game he played against the Giants as a 49er on 1/5/03:
"I don't think there really has been a team like this one that I am experiencing, as far as how we are going into a playoff game playing just good, quality, solid football. The way that we're playing right now is how you want to enter into the playoffs, just really hitting your stride. And that's something that I really didn't experience anywhere else, as much as I did have two playoff experiences in San Francisco. There was one where we somewhat coasted in late and didn't necessarily hit the playoffs playing the best football, even though we did play that first playoff game against the Giants and we were able to have a great comeback. That was just one of those games where it will always be a part of my history, a part of my memory in the sense that it was just a great game at home, a great football game. It was a game where we had to overcome a large deficit. That's attributed to our defense and making the stops when they needed to make the stops and then our offense putting some drives together and scoring some points. But, it was just one of those days where you would love to be able to bottle that up and savor it forever."
On his unexpected day off this past Sunday and whether he thinks it has benefited the team:
"I think it benefited a lot of guys. It definitely gave some of our offensive linemen and defensive linemen some much needed rest. Those guys bang every single day, so when they can get a break from doing that, I think it really allowed them to heal up and get healthy. And our running backs - the same thing, it allowed them to get a break from taking the pounding. I think those are good things. I think as far as everybody is concerned, it was a great game in the sense that we did rest some starters and the other guys who had an opportunity to step in didn't drop the ball. They kept the ball moving in the right direction and we really played well as a team. And it was great to see the young guys get opportunities out there and do some successful things."
On what part of his game makes him so comfortable in this system and how this system compares to the offense in San Francisco:
"The system is near identical to what I played in. There are some variations that have changed over time, I think anybody who works with the west coast system may start to put their own little wrinkle into it. But, as far as West Coast systems are concerned, it is very similar to what I had dealt with in the past. And that is what made it so comfortable for me to come here to Philadelphia, knowing that I would be playing in a much [more] similar situation, much [more] similar system as I had in San Francisco and even in Detroit last year. As far as my game is concerned, I think that balance is essential. I think that utilizing [RB] Brian Westbrook in the way that we have is only going to benefit our passing game. I'm just one of those guys, I'm willing to do anything and everything that is going to allow this team to win football games. If that means handing the football off 40 times because we are being effective, then I am more than happy to do that. If it means passing the ball a larger percentage of the time, I'm willing to do whatever it is that will give this team an opportunity to win because I feel that I'm prepared no matter what. I feel that I'm mentally and physically prepared for whatever we have to offer and I feel great about our game plan every single week. And I'm just ready to execute it."
On how much they have tweaked the offense from what they did with QB Donovan McNabb to fit his abilities:
"That's a question that is asked every single week and it's not like the plays have necessarily changed within the game plan. I think so much of what we do or what is in our game plan is what was in our game plan from week one. It's a matter of execution. I think what has somewhat changed a little bit is giving Brian Westbrook the opportunity to get more touches on the ball, to get his hands on the ball a few more times in a game. And experiencing a little bit more balance as an offense and I think that's just the major change. I don't think that the throws down the field or anything like that have changed. That's all adapting to what we face as far as defenses are concerned."
On this being the first time he will play a team twice since he has become a starter for the Eagles and whether he thinks the Giants will make some adjustments for this game:
"I think they are going to adjust based upon what we were able to have success [doing] in the last game. I think they are definitely going to make their adjustments, but I don't believe that they are going to change a whole lot. This is game 17 for both teams, we are who we are. It's about execution now and it's about them lining up and trying to do the best possible job to execute and stop what we are going to do. And then us trying to do what we can do to overcome how they are going to try to stop us. I don't think that teams are going to necessarily change their colors just because it's a playoff week. We realize that it's about intensity and it's about emotion, it's about feeling good about what you're doing. So, I think that teams are going to come in with a comfort zone, as far as what their offense is or what their defense [is], and then just try to let it fly and execute the best way possible."
On where he thinks character ranks in determining a team's success:
"I think character is a huge part of success on a team. I think teams who have players with a lot of character - who understand the difference between right and wrong, who understand what focus is all about, who understand what determination is all about and overcoming and exceeding expectations, especially their own expectations. I think that plays a major factor as far as how a team comes together and plays together like a family, and excels on the field, and is able to do the things that allow them the best opportunity and the best chance to win on any given Sunday."
On what head coach Andy Reid did or didn't do to keep the team together when they were 5-6 earlier in the season:
"I just think Coach Reid did an excellent job of maintaining the focus within this team. And making this team realize that we were only a play or two plays away from having a much better record then we were showing at a certain time, especially when we were 5-6. We were a team that was just plays away from separating mediocrity and greatness. That's where I think it allowed this team to continue to focus and just reach deep within themselves and try to find a way to be more accountable every single week and do the necessary things in order to create a more winning, more positive situation. I think the fact that Coach Reid stayed so even keel with us, he didn't ride an emotional rollercoaster with the team. He maintained his focus that allowed us to maintain ours and we were able to get things turned around."
On that expectations of the team have changed within the past month and whether that has changed the pressure:
"I think we definitely still continue with [an] our backs are against the wall type of mentality. I think you have to. I think even though we finished strong, it's now a 0-0 season for everybody. There is no, ‘Well, next week we'll get it together.' It's one week at a time and the focus has to be at an ultimate high. Of course, there are expectations now because of the way things went - that this team is playing much better football, playing amongst the best football in the NFC. But, I still believe there is room for improvement. There are still ways that we can be better on the field and there are still ways that we can be more focused and play tighter as a group and do the necessary things that allow a winning attitude to still be represented and still be strong."
On how much the loss of Giants DE Michael Strahan changes the Giants' defense:
"That's something that they are going to have to be concerned with. I think that they've had a young guy [Giants DE Mathias Kiwanuka] that has stepped in for Strahan that has now had a lot of experience. He's had a number of games under his belt. That's just something that their team is going to have to make an adjustment to and I'm sure that they are going keep rolling the best they can without Michael."
On what kept him going the last couple of years and whether he ever thought this could happen:
"I think that what really kept me going was that there was always hope for a better situation. There was always hope for a better team atmosphere, a better team environment. And fortunately for myself, I was able to land in that sort of position this year here in Philadelphia. I don't think that I ever lost sight of the fact that I could be a starter. I always still maintained the work ethic that would prepare me, just in case I did get that opportunity on the field. And I think just having an offseason where I traveled back home and was back on the West Coast, helped rejuvenate my own personal spirits, as far as getting myself ready for football, getting myself ready for what was to come this year and just refocusing my own self to get football back to being fun again. And I think that was just a major factor, as far as being able to turn my own personal career around."
On the leaders on the team and what they did to keep the team together:
"We're fortunate to have some great leaders within this locker room. I think anytime you have some veteran leadership like we have, guys who have experienced the winning tradition or the winning wave here, [FS] Brian Dawkins, [LB] Jeremiah Trotter, Brian Westbrook, the offensive line. Guys like that, that were able to stay focused, continue to work hard. And then a bunch of young guys who were just following their ways and I think that it is just so important to have leadership that leads by example. Not just by the words that they say, but they go out there every single day, they work hard. They work hard in the weight room, they study their film, they practice hard every single day. And I think by doing those things, it allowed us to get out of that slump. It allowed us to turn things around. It allowed this team to become cohesive again or to come back together as a team and grow as a team. Now there is just so much respect for each other. There is so much support for one another and I think that is what has created such a great atmosphere, a great attitude around the facility."
On match up problems with Giants WR Plaxico Burress:
"I don't think we've got anybody close to tall enough to match up with him right now. The guy is 6'6", so it's always going to be a little bit of a problem. I think there are times guys just have to make sure they've got great position on him. He's tough when he gets down in the red zone. There is no question about it and there are some things we've got to do. But, it's not an easy match up, there is no question about it."
On whether he anticipates being able to use CB William James on Sunday to match up against Burress:
"I'm going to have to see how he practices today and tomorrow. I'm not sure he's quite 100% yet. I think today's practice and tomorrow, we'll just see how he's coming along. If he's healthy, there might be a chance we might do that."
On whether he worries that he can't keep a guy like Giants RB Tiki Barber down for a third time:
"Yeah, we've been going up against him a long time over the years. And he's had some great games. The thing that we've kind of kept down the last couple times we played him is the big runs, which he's had before against other people and us. That's been part of it; we've kept [him] to no long runs. But, he's capable of breaking one anytime. That's what our guys have got to emphasize all week. We emphasized it. He's going to run the football. I don't know how many carries he is going to have, but we know he is going to run the football and we've got to make sure there are no big plays out of him."
On what they saw in DE Juqua Thomas that made them bring him back:
"We saw a great competitor. We liked him last year there was no question about it. Of course, we had [DE] Jevon [Kearse] last year, so he didn't get as many reps as he does this year. But, we knew that he was a great competitor. He played well for us, played that joker for us when Jevon was banged up a little bit. So, we knew he was a good football player. And he's a great special teams player, [he] helps out [special teams coordinator] John [Harbaugh], and he does a great job in a lot of our packages."
On whether S Quintin Mikell has taken the same step forward on defense that he has taken on special teams:
"Yeah, he's had a great opportunity ever since [SS] Michael Lewis went down in injury. Now Michael is going to be playing this week and we will probably use both of them a little bit. But, he took advantage of an opportunity and was very productive."
On Giants TE Jeremy Shockey and his injury status:
"I cannot imagine that Shockey will not play. Right now we are going into the game saying that Shockey is going to be there. He is such a great competitor. [Giants TE Visanthe] Shiancoe played well against the Redskins. So, we are preparing for both of those guys and that's part of our game plan. Like I said, I've got to believe [Shockey] will be there on Sunday afternoon."
On what the Giants offense misses if Shockey can't play:
"I think they miss a fiery competitor, a guy who just brings some enthusiasm to the game. Of course, he still is one of the lead receivers. He still is one of the go to guys that [Giants QB] Eli [Manning] is going to go to. But, there's a lot of toughness there and a lot of spirit right there. So, we'll see."
On whether he senses that his players respect Eli as much as they did last year:
"Yeah, I think so. I think they still know what a good quarterback he is. All quarterbacks are going to have a little rocky road some games. You look at certain games [like] against Carolina and he's on fire. He can get on fire. I think our guys watch film [of him] against us that first game in that 4th quarter when he got on fire, so I think they have respect for him and I know I do."
On the leadership roles of FS Brain Dawkins and LB Jeremiah Trotter:
"They've always been good leaders, I think they stepped it up a little bit more. I think they knew that there were some things that we weren't doing quite as well and they showed their leadership and it was good to see. But, they've always been [leaders]. Trotter has always been a vocal leader and Dawk is by example. But, they've kind of stepped it up and it's kind of paid off a little bit."
On what he expects to see from the left side of the Giants' offensive line:
"They moved [Giants G David] Diehl out there to the tackle position. Like I said, you've got to look at last week's game when they made the switch. They had a good game plan, ran the ball well. So, I'm sure you are going to see the same line-up and I think they might try to do the same thing. I know there are some injuries they have. And we'll just have to see how they are going to shuffle that line-up other than that. But, I expect to see Diehl at left tackle."
On whether he sees a drastic difference in the Giants' play calling after the change they made:
"I think they got ahead. I think they felt that Tiki was hot and they kept feeding the ball to Tiki. He had a lot of production, a lot of long yardage and they stayed with it and they were ahead. It might have been a little different. But, I think before they wanted to run Tiki too. It's just all of a sudden, he got hot and they kept feeding the ball to him and that was their game plan, especially in the second half."
On the things he saw from DT Brodrick Bunkley last week and whether that gives him confidence to use him more:
"Yeah, there were some plays that he made that showed his strength and his ability. He is still learning. He's still fighting certain things, as far as gap control. But, he's got a lot of ability. He might play a lot more next year or he might play a lot more this Sunday. I don't know. It just depends on injuries. But, he did show some of the abilities of his strength. He's still a rookie that makes a few mistakes and he knows that too."
On whether he is going back to look at what Giants' QB coach Kevin Gilbride did in other places where he was responsible for calling plays:
"Yeah, we went back. Of course, I've gone against him before, [when Gilbride was at] San Diego and Buffalo. But, I don't think they are going to change that much. It's hard to put all of the stuff he wanted in a couple of practices and stuff like that he might put in. We kind of know him a little bit, but we think he will kind of stay with what he's been doing this last week."
On whether LB Omar Gaither has as high of a football IQ as any rookie he's ever coached:
"Yeah, I think he's made that transition pretty good for a rookie. [He's] playing two positions, the other night, of course, he played the middle linebacker. He did a good job. [He's] played at WILL linebacker. He still makes some mistakes, but you expect that from a rookie. He's got to learn both positions. But, he's done a good job and he shows some good leadership also. So, he's got a decent future ahead of him here."
On whether he still considers Gaither to be a MIKE linebacker down the road:
"He's done a lot right now at WILL. But, I think he eventually will be a MIKE linebacker."
On whether he expects big plays from Dawkins at this time of year:
"Seems like it. He's always been a big play guy. Again, here's another guy that all of a sudden is kind of in a good groove now, making big plays. He's got the ability. Like I said before, turnovers come in bunches, sacks do too. All of a sudden, everything that is in the air now, he wants. So, he's playing with great confidence again, making plays. But, you expect that out of Brian Dawkins."
On whether this has been one of Dawkins' best stretches:
"I think. Yeah, I can't remember a better one where he has made so many plays and big interceptions and stuff."
On how this Eagles team is different from the other Eagles teams he has played on that made the playoffs:
"Different, I guess, because we have so many young guys on the team that are playing right now and playing well for us. I think that would be the only difference. As far as confidence, the confidence is where it needs to be. We are playing our best ball at the right time and I think another thing that is different than other years is we locked up everything by this time, so we were resting. In this year, we've had to play our behinds off to play this type of ball and to win to get in. I think that is another difference."
On whether he feels like having rest last week was more important than keeping momentum going into the playoffs:
"I would say maybe more so, I think we still have momentum. [Head coach] Andy [Reid] does a great job of understanding the guys he had in the locker room in past years and he believed we could get it done by resting and we did. This year was completely different. We had to scratch and claw and play this type of ball. But I think that all being said is one of the reasons why we are playing this way, because of the back-to-the-wall mentality and having to do it. Either you're going to do it or you're not going to do it. We circled the wagons and let all the negative talk stay outside of our circle and we played hard for each other. That's what it is all about, playing hard for that cat next to you."
On whether he has taken it upon himself to let the young guys know the playoffs are a whole new ballgame:
"I think Andy does a good job of that, first of all, of letting them understand that and kind of speaking about that a little bit and understanding the tempo, understanding the pressure, having to play through their butterflies – the young guys are probably going to have a little [butterflies], that you're going to have to work though – and those are the things that they are going to have to understand. But for the most part I just go out and play. I go out and practice the same – I turn my practice up a little bit if I can - and those guys will follow. But it definitely picks up and hopefully they'll believe what we are saying."
On what he recalls about his first playoff game:
"My first one, oh man, I was a rookie and I was just happy to be in the situation. I think we went to San Francisco. I was just happy to be out there. I thought this was an easy thing, that we we're going to do this every year. That, as you know, quickly turned and was not the case. But my first year, I was just really happy to be in the situation."
On whether he remembers if there was a noticeable difference in how the game was played during that first playoff game:
"Everything was fast, regardless, for me that first year. If it picked up in speed I couldn't tell because it was fast in the beginning. That first year was almost a blur for me."
On what he remembers feeling like after that first playoff game:
"Basically what if - had we made those field goals and had we not given up those late touchdowns we had given up. That's what I was thinking about after that game. But then again, I was also thinking, like I said, ‘okay, next year we are going to get to this point again and we are going to win it.' But like I said, we didn't and that wasn't the case."
On whether it was difficult for him to watch the NFL playoffs last year:
"Yeah, it was hard for me to watch the playoffs last year. I think the only reason I may have clicked on the games is because of the way [Steelers S] Troy [Polamalu] was playing. He's a safety, a young guy and I really like the way he plays the game, so I was kind of anxious to see what he was going to do week in and week out. That was one of the reasons that I watched. But for the most part it was hard for me too look at TV, period, as far as sports go, because I knew that at some point we were going to be put in there in a negative fashion and I didn't want to hear that crap."
On whether they are going into the playoffs with as much momentum as any other Eagles playoff teams:
"You know what, that is really hard because in years past we had locked up so much that Andy rested a lot of guys, so I think we still had momentum – it was just a different momentum. We were so confident, and Andy was as confident in us as leaders that we would be able to not miss a beat if he did rest us. This year is completely different. We've had to claw. We've had to scratch. We've had to buckle our belts a little tighter and play for that cat next to you, to get to this point where we are. I think another thing that we have continued to talk about is not taking your foot off that pedal. No matter what is said and what we have accomplished, we haven't accomplished what we set out to be. Yes it was a great ride. Yes we have come through adversity, but every team has come through some type of adversity, so that doesn't separate us. What will separate us is how we take this from here on out. What we are going to do in these playoffs. I think that will then be able to separate us and when this year is over with that we can look back and then talk about all those good things, bad things or whatever."
On whether his body feels different today than it normally does since he only played a few snaps against the Falcons:
"Oh yeah, I feel great right now. It was definitely a blessing, hearing about Dallas losing and as far as guys being able to rest. That was really our bye week. I know Chicago and [New Orleans], those guys got the official bye week, but for us, that was our bye week - that we were on the sideline, we didn't take any hits, any bangs and we were able to rest this past weekend. For a lot of us, we are going to feel good for this game. Injury wise we are pretty healthy. But for me, I feel great right now."
On playing against a RB like Giants RB Tiki Barber:
"Man, I've always respected him, even back in the day when everyone was calling him a fumble artist. That was really the reason he wasn't going across the water every year, because of the fumbles. Even back in the day when they were saying he couldn't be an every down back, when he was just a third-down back and a punt returner. I've always respected him because I played against him [when he was] at Virginia. I've always had respect for him and what he brings to the table. He's always been a guy that has been slippery as far as breaking tackles and you saw that last week against Washington. People say he may be slowing down and I heard people say they need to draft a running back because he can't do it anymore, but yet every year he comes up and puts up the numbers – rushing and receiving out of the backfield. I've always respected that cat and that won't change this game."
On whether he thinks RB Correll Buckhalter has proved a lot of people wrong in his comeback:
"At some point people are going to form an opinion of you and they are going to stick with it. He's going to prove who he is going to prove wrong, but they are still going to believe what they want to believe, regardless. That goes for all of us. At some point people are going to form a certain opinion of you. As a player you can't worry about that. You can't think about that. The thing that Buck had to do was have confidence in himself. Did he prove to himself that he can go out and do it and not think about it? He's done that. I think early on everybody was saying he needed to get more carries. But once again, everything happens for a reason and he didn't get all those carries in the beginning, but I'll tell you what, he's getting them now and he is being very productive for us – with those two guys coming out of the backfield and the things they both can do for this team. Everything happens for a reason."
On whether he finds Buckhalter's comeback to be remarkable:
"Oh absolutely, he's a blessed man and I know he understands that. To be able to comeback from the injuries he has come back from and a lot of times when running backs come back, the things they have to fight against is their mind. Everybody does, but especially a running back because they cut all the time. So, he's come back from those things. He's running strong and hard now. I'm talking about running through people. I'm not talking about running around - I'm talking about running through people – and I think that is something the old Buck does and I think the old Buck is back."
On how head coach Andy Reid was different, or the same, through their rough stretch this year compared to last year:
"I think Andy has always been the same. He's always a certain way. He's always even-keeled. He tells you what you need to hear as a team, what he feels like we need to work on to get better. But you won't see too many fluctuations and emotion – if any – even on the sideline. Absolutely he is going to get after a guy every once in a while, but through down times he is the same way. Through up times he is pretty much the same way. I mean, he jokes around with us more than he does with you guys, but you won't see too many negative emotions coming from him. And that's a good thing, especially for these young guys, to see the head coach – if he is not wigging out then maybe this thing is going to be alright."
On whether he could imagine being somewhere else where that might not be the case:
"I can imagine that and I think as a player you'd have to adjust to the coaching style, but you could only imagine what a young guy would have to go through if he saw his coach, on a consistent basis, as the game goes up and down he is going up and down. You never know who to kind of grasp hold to say, ‘I'm going to follow his lead.' If you follow his lead you'll probably be tired by the third quarter if the coach is going up and down like that."
On whether it is an advantage or disadvantage to play a team three times in one season:
"I think there are really only advantages if you learn from your mistakes in the past, if you learn from things that they tried to do against you in the past and also, if you understand that they are going to try some things that are different. On top of that, when you play a team that is in your division and you have already gone through wars with them and you know what type of physical ball to expect – which I believe this is going to be a hard-hitting game. It's going to be a trash talking game on the field. And it is going to be a game where two teams that respect each other, but probably don't like each other a lot, are going to touch the field. It's going to be a war. I think with all that being said, it's a game that after you play a team that many times I look at it as being a positive as far as understanding that team."
On the things that Giants QB Eli Manning does well:
"He definitely has a strong arm and he knows the offense very well. He knows where to put the ball and he is very capable of coming out and putting up some big numbers. He is definitely a guy you have to get after. We have to put some pressure on him early."
On where he thinks the defense is at right now as far as getting pressure from the front seven:
"We went through a stretch where we weren't doing anything well, we weren't getting pressure on the quarterback, couldn't stop the run to save our lives, weren't getting any turnovers and couldn't get off the field. But at some point things started to click. We started to get together."
On whether the team was thriving off of the ‘back-to-the-wall' mentality and how that changes with them as the favorite:
"Well, you know, when you go through tough times man, sometimes you've got to really take a step back and really look at yourself – each individual player and what you are doing wrong, what can you do to get better. I think when we went through that stretch where we were losing a lot, losing some close games – it was tough. We just have to take a step back and take a scope on things."
On whether the way he felt after their loss in Indianapolis was the lowest he has been in a while:
"Yeah, it was tough. I hadn't been that low since I was in Washington."
On why this team has been successful minimizing Giants RB Tiki Barber's success this season:
"You know what, I think we are just getting a lot of guys around the football and right now we are dominating the line of scrimmage. That is one of the most important things. When your front four is dominating the line of scrimmage it allows your linebackers to make more plays. You just have to keep an eye on him. You always have to know where he is, wherever he lines up. He can hurt you in so many ways. We are very aware of what he can do. I think it helps that they are in our division - we play them twice a year. When you play a team twice a year you get a feel for the offense and how they want to get Tiki the ball."
On whether it is hard to not return the barbs in the media from the Giants players:
"No, it isn't tough man. We don't worry about people talking to us. We just go out and put our work in. We talk on Sundays, in between the white lines."
On how he helped keep the team together during the rough stretch of the season:
"You know, I just tried to stay positive, even through the tough times - continue to stay positive. Just say ‘listen, we've just got to keep working.' And I watched the film. I would see guys, during the week that were working their butts off, literally, just giving it everything. And on Sundays they were fighting hard, things just weren't going our way. I just – myself and [FS Brian] Dawk[ins] – we just tried to talk to them and say, ‘listen man, you have to keep working, keep doing the things that you know got you here, things that worked in the past and sooner or later it will come together.'"
On whether he has found it to be easy to get back into the rhythm of preparing for the playoffs after missing the playoffs last season:
"It's pretty easy because right now it is do-or-die. Either win or go home. You're playing a division rival, so it doesn't take much to get up for a division rival in the playoffs."
On whether this might be the best team he has been on heading into the playoffs:
"That team we had in ‘04 was pretty dang good. You know what, I don't know. It remains to be seen. We'll see on Sunday."
On how tough it was for him to watch the playoffs from home last year:
"It was tough. It just kind of went along with everything else that happened during the course of the year, with the off the field situation and injuries and then not making the playoffs. It was just one thing added on top of the other. But what could you do? You just needed to re-focus in, work hard and get ready for the next year."
On his relationship with former Giants and Hall of Fame LB Harry Carson:
"Harry and I, we're good friends. We talk at least twice a month. He's getting ready to get married. I don't know if I should have said that or not, but he's just a good friend. He's a good role model for me to call and get advice on different things, not just about football, but about life in general. He's a great guy."
On what he makes of this season:
"I just think about ups and downs, a roller coaster season and just testing your leadership, testing your character. I think everybody's character, our leadership, our play and our coaching ability has been tested this year. I think when it is all said and done we will be able to look back and say we withstood all the trials, all the ups and downs, the bad media attention and that is one thing that really makes a person, makes team. When you go through tough times – anybody can come out like we did in ‘04 where we were blowing people out. In ‘04, we were expected to win. It wasn't a case of if we were going to win. It was how much are we going to win by? This has been a season of uncertainty. You never know what you're going to get on any given Sunday. We just fought through all that and came together as a unit. Like someone said earlier, we are, I think, a better team right now than we have been in the past because everyone has to do their job, do their part and has a role to play."