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Tuesday, November 25, 2008
McNabb: 'My future is bright'

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

McNabb

Earlier this afternoon, Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb talked to reporters about his benching Sunday and his relationship with head coach Andy Reid. McNabb said he's "fine" with Reid, but he still disagrees with Reid's decision to pull him at halftime of Sunday's loss in Baltimore. I'm providing you with the transcript from today. Go ahead and digest what McNabb said and then we can meet back here later and discuss:

On how he found out that he was named the starter for the game vs. Arizona:

Donovan McNabb: [Jokingly], I was told by the janitor. Me and him have a pretty good relationship around here. It was a pretty good conversation that we had.

On whether he's confident that he can play at a high level:

DM: I know I will. I think the rest of the guys know that as well. You look at the things that have happened, and it's kind of uncharacteristic of me and I know that. It's something that you have to battle through, playing the position. Not everyone goes through a perfect season. Some guys go through a little drama at the beginning, some go through it at the end. It's unfortunate that I'm going through it right now, but it's easy to bounce back from it. That's the way that I'm going to continue to approach this and I look forward to making changes this week.

On whether sitting out the second half at Baltimore helped him clear his head:

DM: I don't think so. A lot of it is, you're a competitor. It's no different, really, than basketball or baseball. If you're a little off, you keep shooting. That's the way I feel like you get out of a little drought, if you continue to keep firing, things are going to turn out for the better. That's going to be my approach, but we all need to go in there with a little different mindset, of obviously, taking care of the ball. It's nothing to the fact that I'm going to be gun-shy or anything. I'm going to stay aggressive, just keep playing ball and having fun in the process.

On the confidence level of the other players on the team in him:

DM: I think, at this particular point, you have to still have confidence in yourself first before you look around to someone else. You have to ask yourself, 'Are you doing your job to the fullest?' That's something that I continue to do and I've been doing throughout my career. Also, to have the understanding that, if I elevate my game to another level, then everyone else will begin to follow. You have to put pressure on yourself individually to go out and be that guy to turn things around; to make that big play to put us all in position to win the game. If all 53 guys do that, then we don't have any problems. We're in a situation right now where it's must-win and we have to turn this thing around, on the offensive side, and take pressure off of our defense and special teams and get back to the way we were playing."

On the point when struggles become more a matter of "father time" than just a slump:

DM: I don't think it's 'father time.' You look at what Kerry Collins and Brett Favre and Kurt Warner and what those guys are doing. Then, you look at guys in my age bracket, so to speak, we have Peyton [Manning], and Tom's [Brady] not too much younger. The list goes on of guys that are in the 30-and-over crew. You go through some droughts. Peyton didn't start out this year as well as he wanted to, it's unfortunate what happened to Tom, and David Garrard's not playing as well as he wanted to. What I have to do is just make sure that I do the right things coming into Thursday's game, playing against a tough Arizona team; take care of the football and get us in great position to score points.

On being on a short leash for the rest of the season and when the last time he had an experience like this was:

DM: Never. I wouldn't even look at it like I'm on a short leash. I don't think that's a way of looking at it. I think a lot of people can make assumptions of what happened in the past game, but I look at it as me just playing football and doing what I'm supposed to do at the position. Everything will take care of itself.

On how he balances making big plays with being careful with the football:

DM: It's just being smart with the ball. If you have that opportunity to go downfield and you see that, maybe, they're running even, or whatever it may be, and you have the opportunity to pick up the first down by hitting the check-down, hit the check-down. Use your legs to pick up the first down, keep the chains moving, because what that does is it provides confidence for the offensive side, knowing that, 'okay we're running positive plays, we're moving the chains, and we're putting ourselves in the red zone.' Again, keep that same mentality. If there's an opportunity to throw a touchdown pass or check it down, whatever is smarter at that particular time, do that. I think it's something that you learn as you continue to be in this league and in that position and you try to be steady with it.

On whether his relationship with Andy Reid can still be the same:

DM: I think it can, but I think, in that situation, that wouldn't be the decision that I would make. I still have the same relationship that I've had. Will it continue on? I hope so. I guess that is something that you'd have to ask Andy. I'm fine.

On whether he feels that Reid looks at him differently:

DM: I didn't say that at all. Again, I say the relationship is where it was and where it should be. But, asking me that question, I guess you have to ask Andy that same question.

On whether the game vs. Arizona could easily turn into a shootout:

DM: It could. It could turn into a shootout, but I think our defense is going to do a great job with their offense and their weapons that they have on their offensive side. If we get things rolling the way we're supposed to, it could possibly get to that. We hope it doesn't, but we've been in it. We've been in it versus the Cowboys and the Giants. The Giants played them well last week and we have to do the same things; keep that same approach that they had and be able to come out with the win.

On whether he took a bullet for the struggles of the entire offense by sitting out the 2nd half at Baltimore :

DM: That would be something you'd have to ask Andy and anyone else. I'm not the only one who's a problem, I guess, on the
offense, but if I had to be the one to sacrifice for it, then that's what had to go.

On breaking out after struggling early in the 2003 season and what he can take from that experience:

DM: I just kept firing. I kept giving the guys opportunities to make plays and not feeling that I had to make every play possible. That was the attitude that I had earlier this year and is something that we have to get back to. You show trust in the guys that you will put the ball there and you expect them to bring it down. It's something that they know it, I know it as well, and we look forward to getting it going on Thursday.

On his statement that he wouldn't have taken himself out of the game at Baltimore and whether it has caused him to think differently of Andy Reid:

DM: No. As a competitor, you wouldn't take yourself out. Like I said, it's just like a scorer in basketball. If you're off, you keep shooting. That's what I'm going to continue to do and I expected to do that going into that second half against Baltimore. Down 10-7, we're not out of reach and we know that just a couple plays here and there and we'll be winning the game. It didn't happen, obviously, that I didn't go back in. It was a decision that was made by Andy and I just went along with it and tried to root on my team.

On whether it will be hard to not look over his shoulder:

DM: No, not at all.

On the lowered expectations for this team and whether that creates less pressure:

DM: Not at all. We put pressure on ourselves, so we really don't have any more room for added pressure on our shoulders. We expect the best from our team. What we've shown so far is not the best. We have to get it done now. We have to start now and it starts against Arizona. There's nothing that we can do about the Baltimore game, at this particular point, or any of the other losses. It has to start right now. If it starts with me, or if it starts with anyone else stepping up and making plays, so be it.

On whether he's concerned about the team's running game with injuries to RBs Brian Westbrook and Correll Buckhalter:

DM: [Jokingly] Maybe I've just got to go to tailback and run. When you look at the situation with our running backs being a little banged up, that's just more for myself, the tight ends and the receivers to make sure that we're efficient. And, whoever's asked to run the ball, make sure that they see the hole and run through it. Again, as far as pressure is concerned, I don't look at it as added pressure. I look at it as a situation that I have to do my job and everyone else has to do theirs as well.

On Arizona's defense led by LB Karlos Dansby:

DM: Karlos is a guy that I know pretty well. He's having a Pro Bowl year. They have a lot of Pro Bowlers on their defense, Adrian Wilson, Chike Okeafor is playing well, Rod Hood, as we know, had an opportunity to possibly make the Pro Bowl last year, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is playing well for a rookie and the list goes on. They're playing well and the''re playing fast on defense. It's going to be a challenge for us on the offensive side, obviously, in this situation of trying to kick-start what we started earlier in the year to where we are right now. To get things going with those guys by just making sure that we're making plays and moving the chains, it's going to be a challenge, but we're up for it."

On what he thinks about his future in football:

DM: My future is bright.

On Baltimore players saying he told them that he hurt his knee during the game:

DM: I never told anybody that I hurt my knee. From what I understand, they assumed that's why I wasn't in, in the second half. They thought that I hurt my knee, but there were a lot of assumptions why I wasn't in the game. I didn't go into the second half, so I'm fresh now, I'm not sore, and I'm fine.