Like Riding a Bike?
Donovan McNabb said Wednesday that even though he hasn't been in a playoff game since the Eagles' Super Bowl, he thinks he'll remember what to do.
Details are sketchy, but it seems that perhaps the last time Donovan McNabb played a postseason game, there was some sort of time-management issue in the final minutes, and perhaps the Birds might have lost.
"It's just like riding a bike," the Eagles' quarterback assured reporters Wednesday, as the team began preparing in earnest for Sunday's wild card playoff round visit with the Minnesota Vikings. McNabb said he won't be thinking about the fact that he hasn't appeared in the postseason since Super Bowl XXXIX, almost four years ago. "I don't look at it in that way -- as a player, you're focusing on the wrong thing ... It's no different than it was in 2004. Any time you have an opportunity to continue on with your season and play in playoff play, you just want to relish the moment, and continue it on."
"Yeah, you miss it," said McNabb, who was sidelined by an ACL tear in 2006, the only time since the Super Bowl the Birds have played in the postseason. "It wouldn't take three or four years for me to say I miss it. You miss it after a year."
McNabb said he didn't think Vikings coach Brad Childress, the Eagles' former quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator, would have any great advantage going against him, because he feels the Eagles do some things differently now under offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, that their tendencies change at least subtly every year.
Meanwhile, running back Brian Westbrook was asked if, given Minnesota's No. 1 NFL ranking in run defense, he expected to mainly be pass blocking on Sunday.
"I hope not," Westbrook said. "I think we'll still need to give these guys a challenge, and I think we have the guys up from who can give them a challenge. They've been very stout against the run, so it's going to be tough."
Westbrook noted that "we've played against very good teams against the run before, and we've had success. For us, it's very important that we try to go out there and at least establish the run."
Along those lines, Vikings defensive tackle Pat Williams, an important cog in that run defense, told radio station KFAN in Minneapolis that he has been cleared to practice today, and plans to play Sunday.
The Eagles gained 65 yards on 23 carries back on Sept. 21, when they defeated the Steelers, who finished with the No. 2 run defense. The next week they gained 103 yards on 23 carries in losing to the Bears, who finished with the fifth-ranked run defense. They gained 86 yards on 21 carries in their only blowout loss of the season. Nov. 23 at Baltimore, the league's third-ranked run defense.
NFC defensive player of the month Brian Dawkins said that for him, the toughest part of preparing for a playoff game is "containing my emotions ... trying to bottle all the emotion up and release it at the right time."
Dawkins said he will try to guard against that with "a lot of talking to myself over and over again to calm down."
Eagles coach Andy Reid said Westbrook, as usual, would not take part in much of today's indoor practice, to save wear and tear. MLB Stewart Bradley, who played last week with rib and groin injuries and RT Jon Runyan (knee) were scheduled to sit out today, as, of course, were DE Victor Abiamiri (foot) and RG Shawn Andrews (back), neither of whom is expected to play. Reid said he anticipates Bradley and Runyan will play.
Happy New Year from your Eagletarian.
Andrews, out since Week 2, said he has begun running on a treadmill and is feeling much better, but he has not been allowed to start to lift weights. The Eagles would probably have to make the Super Bowl for Andrews to have a solid shot at contributing.