Opposing View

Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb was the subject of Wednesday's conference call. Here's what he had to say about his very controversial past few weeks.

Q: Do you think all of the stuff from last week has kind of blown over? Was it on your mind at all during the game last week, or at least leading up to it?

A: Do I think that it has blown over? No. Was it on my mind? No. What has been said has been said. I think when people begin to harp on the things that have been said, and obviously the reactions after it, that means they are thinking about it. But for me, like I said at the press conference, you have a game to play. We have a long season ahead of us. And there is no way that I could possibly put in my mind to even think about how one man feels or reactions to things of that nature. This team relies on me to be prepared and ready to go at all times. And that has been my main focus ever since this season started – was to make sure that I'm doing what I have to do to get out on the field and to make as many plays as we need in order for us to win.

Q: One other question on that. I remember after the whole thing with Rush Limbaugh, one of your comments was that you had hoped that everybody was past the point of making comments like that. And then when you said what you did a couple of weeks ago on that HBO thing, obviously in your mind you must think that people are not past the point of differentiating between black and white quarterbacks.

A: Like I said, sometimes reality hurts. And it is been an issue that has continued on. But there is no need to continue for me to even harp on it right now. Again, what has been said has been said. It is over. For me, no need for me to comment on it any more. Now our focus is to play the Giants and try to play this game the way we are supposed to play it and try to put ourselves in a better position in our Division.

Q: Are there any regrets for saying it?

A: Not at all; not at all.

Q: What kind of reaction have you gotten from other black quarterbacks around the League? I have seen some comments – McNair and Vince Young. But has anybody called you?

A: A lot of people have called. I received more than enough positive responses from them. Some may not kind of get into it publically, but it's been a lot of positive reaction. So if we can focus on the Giants that will be even better.

Q: How important was last week's game just for you personally, after the offense struggled somewhat the first couple of weeks and you coming back from the ACL, to be able to put up numbers like that?

A: I think it has done a lot for us as a team – the confidence concern and for us to kind of get back on track. Me personally, I knew what kind of offense we had. I knew what kind of team that we had. It was just for us to translate it out on the field. Coming off of three great weeks of practices and then in two games in which we just didn't play as well as we wanted to and as well as we needed to win. But coming into the Detroit game I thought it was a whole different attitude, obviously learning from the previous two weeks of not having it translate out on game day. It is something that we can look back on and try to emulate some of the things that we did last week this week of just pushing each other and just making sure the guys are on the right gap; guys are blocking the right guys. The receivers are running the right routes. And for me, put it in a position where the guy can be successful on the outside. But things can happen to you. But again, that past game is over – the Detroit game. And now it is time – we are playing against one of our rivals, and a team that knows us, we know them. We just have to go out and be able to execute when the time is there.

Q: When the Giants took your linebackers coach and made him defensive coordinator here, they were hoping to replicate some of the defense that you guys have down there. How much does this defense of the Giants look the Eagles?

A: There are two ways of looking at it. Spags went there with knowledge of what Jim likes to do in certain situations. He knows the defense, he knows about all of the blitzes. One thing I think that people forget and overlook is the fact that this is the first year that all of those guys are learning it. So he is not going to hit them with the full gamut. He is going lure them in slowly. And there are a lot of similar things that we do here that they are doing there but every coordinator wants to put his own wrinkle on things. And that is something that Steve is definitely doing down there. It looks like they seem to be coming along at the right time right now. And when you have a guy like Michael Strahan back, who can apply that pressure on one side and Osi being on the other side, it takes a lot of pressure off a lot of the other guys because they feel like they can get good pass rush that will add pressure to the quarterbacks.

Q: I was going to ask you, putting this last controversy aside, at various times in your career, you had the Limbaugh thing, then you had T.O. making comments about you, and then the guy from the NAACP – do you ever wonder why for whatever reason you seem to have been a target of various people throughout your career.

A: If I sat and tried to take some time out of my day or week or year to try to find an answer for that, I definitely wouldn't be focused on football. But I let you guys kind of try to find answers for it. I let everyone else who have listened to it and have seen it happen, try to come up with answers. But I don't waste my time to try to find answers for it. Because I think the remedy for all of it is obviously going out and just playing well. And that is something that I focus on. It is something that I tried to spread amongst my teammates – of not getting caught up on what one or what some may say on the outside. Just to continue to prepare and keep everything in house. Because when we do step out on the field it will be an explosion that we can erase all of minds of some of people out there.

Q: Owens said recently that he missed you and that you guys had a chance to talk at the Super Bowl this year. I think he might have said that he apologized. I was just wondering that your recollection of that conversation was?

A: From everything that you said it was a nice, professional conversation that we had. It could have been done earlier but you are just happy that it happened. And you have two professionals – two guys who are at the top here at their position and this is something that shouldn't happen. You have kids out there watching who – they see us arguing or they see us turning our backs on each other – that is just not good for being a role model and displaying professionalism for me as well as for him being a father. And you don't want our kids to do the same things that we do. The way to try to handle it is to show them that every issue that you may be a part of, you can handle it like men. You can sit down and talk about it, resolve the issue and move on.

Q: The Giants struggled the first two weeks, then were much better in Week Three in terms of their defense. What, on tape, did you see that really made a difference in terms of them improving from Week Two to Week Three?

A: It was sort of identical for both of us. I think you saw a team that flew around the ball well; played with a lot of energy, motivating each other. You saw their sideline fired up. You see guys making plays. And that is what it is all about. It is about guys making plays. As a team you are fired up and you begin to feed off of that. The adrenalin gets pumping, confidence gets to a high level. You are just awaiting the next opportunity of who is going make that next play. I think that is something that we both kind of went through in obviously, Week Three, and looking something feed off of going into this week. So when I watched that team play, there is big difference between Week One and Week Two to Week Three. So you have two teams now playing at a high level. Confidence is high. What a better game than the New York Giants against the Philadelphia Eagles?

Q: So it was more execution than it was scheme in terms of the difference?

A: I believe so. I believe so. When you have two veteran teams like we both have, it is all about execution. The scheme is there for us to be successful. Now if everyone is doing their individual jobs, then good things happen.

Q: What kind of things on defense are the Giants doing this year that maybe they did not do the last couple of years; what's different?

A: I couldn't give you that one. I couldn't give you that one. They are doing some good things on total defense. We don't want to give up the answers – they might try to change it.

Q: Obviously you have been very familiar with them and every time you play them – three times last year – you kind of know what to expect. How much of a tweak is there involved now trying to prepare for them?

A: At the least in the four years that I have played - - the last four years that we have played – they have been through how many coordinators? They have changed up different defenses each time that we have played. They may blitz a lot more in the first game; second game they don't blitz as much. So they kind of change it up every opportunity that we play. When you play a team twice a year you don't want to keep showing the same thing twice. They have done a great job with that. We have tried to do the same thing. So when you watch the film you kind of watch both games from last year and the previous year. … You watch all of the games that they play this year on how they have changed out in each game. So you just try to get a head start of things so when game time comes around you are prepared.

Q: Did you take the knee brace off last week because you have been better physically or because it was just inhibiting you too much?

A: I took the knee brace off because – I have trained without the knee brace – because the confidence factor was never an issue. I thought it was kind of taking away from my extension – my full extension – a little bit of my explosion out there out on the field. It wasn't anything that I felt, "Okay, the time is now." Officially I was going to do it. And I practiced without it last week. I practiced a little bit toward the end of the week – the week before I did some drills and stuff without it at our training camp. So it wasn't an issue of me trying to decide to wear it or not. I knew at one point I was going to take it off and I just felt the time was last week.

Q: Where are you right now with your knee as far as full recovery?

A: It's hard to say. When you put a percentage on things you may say a high percentage now and then all of a sudden it doesn't feel like it used to in the previous weeks or whatever it may be. So when you have a knee injury, an ACL with …….tear, it takes time. It takes time. And you are not going to be at 100%. Many quarterbacks have said it. Carson Palmer went through it. Trent Green went through it. You are not going to be at a full 100% maybe for a year. But this is the time where you continue to strengthen it; work on flexibility to get that explosion back. So when the time comes….. 100% you already felt like you have already progressed.

Q: One last question about the controversy – as you mentioned that you let your play do the talking, but you have never been one to shy away from the discussions.

A: Never, never. Why?

Q: That's what I wanted to know.

A: If someone brings it up I'll answer it. I think that is kind of the way to handle it; just to try to put a ……….. I think any time you try to put it away it can continue to come back as you can see.

Q: We do see some athletes who don't want to talk about, especially race issues. Why is that important to you? Why are you outspoken about it?

A: Somebody has to speak about it. You can't run away from an issue that is there. And what happens sometimes – when one brings it up then everybody else begins to feel comfortable about talking about it. No one wants to be the first one to do anything. I don't mind. If it is true, then it is true.


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