What the Eagles are saying about the Packers

Here are some quotes from press conferences with Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid, quarterback Donovan McNabb and safety Brian Dawkins on Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers. The Packers and Eagles meet Monday night in Philadelphia.

COACH ANDY REID:

On what he has seen from Packers QB Brett Favre the last few weeks:
"He's playing great football right now. He's got some people around him that are good players. He's playing like he was a kid again."

On what is different for Favre from the last couple years where he struggled a little bit:
"I think the offensive line, in the last couple weeks, has done a nice job of protecting him. When you give Brett a little bit of time back there, he can do a lot of things with that football. I'd probably start with the guys up front. I think they are doing a better job here in the last few weeks."

On whether it was hard seeing Favre go through what he went through the last couple seasons:
"He was getting hit a lot and throwing under a lot of pressure. You don't want to see anybody go through that but that is part of this game and he realizes it. That's why he wanted to get back and get it right."

On how difficult it is for an athlete of his caliber to think about retirement and when is the right time:
"I think it's tough. At that position, if you know you still have the skill level and things just aren't quite right around you, then that makes it even tougher. You're relying on other people to protect you and then to catch the football. He always had the skill level. It was just a matter of them getting the people around him and it looks like they've done that. I think he is having fun again."

On the biggest similarities and differences between Favre and Eagles QB Donovan McNabb:
"I've always said this; I think they approach it very similarly. They both have a good time and love to play. I think that it radiates out to the other players around them."

QUARTERBACK DONOVAN MCNABB:

On whether he's concerned that the team hasn't had a great game from start to finish:
"Not at all. Again, it's early in the season. It's something that we've been focusing in on and we try to, each game, go out and play fast and finish strong. Through a course of the game, it's not going to happen for everybody. But, we haven't played our best game yet and the exciting thing about it is the things we've been able to do in previous games, making plays, making big plays, big runs, if we can continue that up, hopefully things will take care of themselves."

On whether playing against a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback like Packers QB Brett Favre is extra motivation for him:
"It's an honor to be on the field with him. I remember when we went to Green Bay and won in the two-minute drill, and I heard him say on a highlight or a clip, he got up off the bench and watched me lead the two-minute drill and how I reacted in certain situations, and he was excited about the things I was able to do. That's an honor for me because I get a chance to watch him and it goes both ways of just knowing that you're on the same field with a Hall of Famer and a guy that potentially could be a first ballot [Hall of Famer]. I think that's hands down to go into the Hall of Fame. But, in the course of the game, I think we both have that same mentality of leading our team to victory so that we'll have the opportunity to smile afterwards. But, the fact that I have an opportunity to play a guy like Brett Favre is a special feeling for me."

On whether he has paid any attention to what Favre has gone through the past couple of years:
"I have. People talk about the interceptions and things of that nature, but Brett's going to be Brett. He's going to go out there and throw some balls in certain situations that not a lot of people would throw and the majority of time he's been able to complete those. In the past couple of years it just kind of went the other way. It's been some tough times for him in the last couple of years and we all go through that in the NFL as quarterbacks. I think he's handling it the right way of just continuing to battle through. For him to come back this year when everyone pretty much expected him to hang the shoes up, and the great game that he had last week, you can tell that the team's definitely rallying behind him to get their season kicked off on the right note and moving in a positive direction."

On whether he's more content with comparisons to Favre at this point in his career:
"I still hate to get compared to anyone. I think early on when you come in as a rookie, you never want to be compared to a quarterback that has had so much success. To hear people say, ‘Well, you're just like him', or ‘I want you to be like so-and-so and this is what he did to prepare himself', you want to make a name for yourself. And in this league every year you're pretty much writing stuff down on your resume, how you want to be remembered. When the game is over how do you want people to remember you? While you're playing, how you want people to look at you as. Do they compare you to somebody of your caliber or somebody you potentially could have been like? Obviously, you want your name to be the name that people compare you as, but when you're getting compared to someone, that takes you away from what you'd like to get accomplished. But, it's an honor to have your name mentioned with [Favre]. But, when it starts being compared to him, for all quarterbacks, they hate that."

On whether the game in 2003 vs. the Packers was a big game in his career:
"When we had an opportunity to play, I think it did a great deal for the team when we were able to come back because we were up and down a little bit that season, and I think that game kind of moved us in the right direction to finish off the season right. I think we often look back on that and say that possibly could have triggered us moving into having a great season that year."

On whether head coach Andy Reid mentioned Favre a lot early on in his career:
"Yeah, and I think he got the feeling early on that I didn't like that too much and he stopped. But, you would only go by what you know or who you've coached and it wasn't anything disrespectful for me to say something out of the ordinary. It was just that I pretty much said, ‘Coach, I kind of want to make a name for myself and learn to prepare myself to be a guy like Brett, and be better than Brett.'"

On how long he let Reid make those comments before he said something:
"To hear different things, you're young and you want to get a feel and get accustomed to being in the NFL and being an NFL quarterback. It went on for awhile. It was just learning the things that he did. If it was working out, if it was watching film, if it was getting the plays before we do install, whatever it may be, that was something that I took in and just soaked it up like a rug. But, as it continued on it was kind of like, ‘Alright, now. We've been saying his name a lot. Let's talk about somebody else or something.'

SAFETY BRIAN DAWKINS

On how his head (concussion) is:
"It's coming [along]."

On whether concussions are something he is concerned about:
"Truthfully, I don't concern myself about the long term [effects] because it is not something that is frequent. When it starts getting frequent – from dealing with guys in hockey and reading about those guys – what can come and what happens down the road. And even some of the guys in football - I've read about [former NFL linebacker Bill] Romanowski and what he dealt with – that's when you start paying more attention to it, put it that way."

On whether he did anything different on the hit where he got hurt:
"Yeah, it was just poor technique on my part."

On whether he led with his head on the play:
"I had my head in the wrong position. I should have just hit him with my left shoulder instead of my right but I like to hit with my right, my right arm. I'm right handed so I like to hit with my right shoulder so I try to hit with that. But you can't do that when a guy is running full speed at you like that. For all the kids out there, don't do what I did."

On his thoughts on Packers QB Brett Favre:
"He's spitting that ball. He is spreading it around. They're moving him, they're protecting him and he is getting it to those guys and they are putting up some big numbers right now. We have our hands full. Anytime we play them – and I know people have been down on him for a couple years – but anytime you play him you have to respect what he can do because he may throw an interception, but he'll hit you across the head with two bullets and put them right on the money. We definitely have our work cut out for us with this passing game this week."

On whether the Packers have a different style under their new head coach Mike McCarthy:
"Yes. Last year, and in prior years, they were trying to pound the ball at you. They'd get in three tight end sets and try to run the ball straight at you, or try and run it down your throat. It could be because they have gotten behind also, but they are passing the ball a lot more. They still will run the ball. They still have an excellent back in the backfield in [Packers RB Ahman] Green. But you can definitely see them putting the ball up a lot more then they did last year."

On how concerned he and defensive coordinator Jim Johnson are that four of the members of the secondary are on the current injury report:
"I'm pretty sure it concerns him. Anytime that you have guys that you count on – your starters anyways – doubtful [for the game], that is something that will concern you. But at the same time, that is why you search for quality depth and have guys that in case these things happen – which they do happen during a season sometimes – you need guys to be able to step in and play. The guys who are backing up, we're going to expect them – if they have to – come in and play and perform at a high level. Just like the old saying, ‘you're only as strong as your weakest link,' so those guys have to step in and play. And we have confidence in them and Jim has confidence in them and he'll do a good job – as he always does – in letting them know what to expect out of different blitzes."

On whether he followed Favre's off-season and how difficult he thinks it is for a player like Favre to decide when it is time to walk away from the game:
"I'm just like you guys. I watch TV, watch sports - you couldn't help but follow it and listen to it. As far as how difficult it is, each guy is different. That's one thing – I have said this on this podium before – you never try and understand another man's psyche and what he is thinking in the different situations. Same thing applies to him. He's in a tough situation. It's a team that he loves that he has always been with. [He's] put up big numbers with this team, this organization. He didn't see it the way that, I guess he didn't see it being built the way that he would prefer. There were some decisions he had to make and he did what was best for him and that team. And he is back out there doing a good job right now."

On whether he was glad Favre decided to come back:
"I don't know if I am glad or not. I'm happy he was able to come to a decision he was most comfortable with. As far as, am I glad to see him back on the field? I think you could say that, because you love to battle against the best and you know he is definitely one of the best at what he does."


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