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1.5 LB Antonio Pierce

What was your reaction to getting the Eagles for a third time this year?

I was excited to finally know who we play, get ready to come to work here today and Tuesday, and Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and get ready to suit up on Sunday.

It was no big surprise that you were going to face the Eagles?

We didn't know who we were going to face, but obviously the way the Eagles have been playing and the way the other game turned out with Atlanta and Arizona we still had a chance to face the Eagles and they played good football yesterday and won so they are deserving of it and we are looking forward to it.

How dangerous a team are the Eagles after what you saw in your last game against them and how they have been playing lately?

I think they are about as dangerous as all four teams that are left in the playoffs.  I think everybody has the same opportunity to win the game regardless of how hot you played in December and how well you played yesterday and Saturday.  For us it is just about going out there and executing.  We are playing a team that knows us very well and that we know very well.

In the last game you had some trouble with Westbrook on an individual matchup basis, so how much are you looking forward to this one?

There are no individual matchups in football.  It might look like that on TV, but I am just looking forward to getting back in the playoffs, to get a win underneath our belt hopefully, and go out there and play good football and advance to the next round.

Some commentators are mentioning that you were "exploited" by Brian Westbrook in the last game. Is that a fair assessment?

It is an assessment of whoever wants to have an opinion about it.  I don't have an opinion about it.

What happened on that touchdown by Westbrook the last game? It looked like there was no pass rush and it was a check-down and there was no help?

All I know about that play is it is irrelevant come this Sunday at 1:00 in the Divisional Playoff Game so if that is the play that everybody wants to talk about, they can talk about it. I'm not.

This Sunday do you need more pressure from the defensive line to avoid plays like that?

What I think that says is that he is their number one threat, he is a guy who can run plays from out the backfield, from carrying the ball, line up at receiver, punt returner, basically wherever they want to put him on the football field then our job is that all 11 guys, defensive coordinator, and the whole defensive staff and our team is to make sure that we limit the big plays that number 36 has.  I think that is going to be critical to a win.

Do they seem to be showing a greater commitment to running the ball and using him or in your mind is he just healthier?

I think they go with the way the game is played out.  If you watch the game yesterday, I think Minnesota did a great job stopping him, but they still found ways to get him the ball so he probably is healthier, but how much healthier?  I don't know.  It is the end of the season, everybody is banged-up, but at this point it doesn't matter if he is healthy or not.  You have one game to play and you play it as hard as you can and that is what we all are going to do on Sunday.

How important was it for the team to have the week off both physically and mentally?

I think it was critical.  I won't be sitting here lying to you, we played 13 straight games after our bye week in week four, we faced some very physical and tough opponents who are all in the playoffs, and we needed the rest.  It was good to sit back and just get your mind right, get right physically, and then just watch football.  Just watch football from a player's perspective and understand how the game is played and what it is like, what it means at this point in the season and you need the sense of urgency of all the teams that played this weekend.  Then it lets you know how great of an opportunity that we have in front of us. 

Is there any fear of too much downtime?

It is what you make out of it.  I think we did a great job last week going over what we needed to go over as far as making corrections and getting things right for our team and then we just waited to see who we were going to play.  Now we have a day to go in there today and watch film and lift weights and see what we need to do with that.  We have tomorrow off and then Wednesday we come in as a whole team and start putting it all together.  I think it is a great opportunity for us.  A bye week is what you make it and hopefully we made the right decisions and the right choices and it is going to work out for us.

As a team, are you entitled to bring a certain level of confidence going into this game and into the playoffs because you are defending Super Bowl champions?

No, that is irrelevant at this point.  We are 0-0.  The team we are facing is 1-0 and played great yesterday.  Being the 2007 Super Bowl champions does not scare anybody, obviously.  For us it is about going out there and getting our swagger back, getting that chip on our shoulder, listening to all these critics and opinion makers who have their say on what is going to happen or what did happen and go out there and play football.

Why is Donavan McNabb a difficult opponent?

For one it is crazy that people keep doubting this guy.  All he has done is put up probably a Hall of Fame career.  He led a team, when they looked like they were down and out, to the playoffs and I think what it is is he is a professional.  He understands what comes with this profession, being criticized and people not liking every throw you make or every decision that you make.  He goes out there and he just lays everything on the line and regardless of whether it was a bad play or a good play he enjoys the game and he plays it at the right level and how you are supposed to play the game.  Donavan, I think he has been in the league for what, nine or 10 years?  He has been doing it ever since he has been in the league and this time will be no different this Sunday and we have to be ready for him.

How much concern do you have that you may not have all of your defensive starters practicing on Wednesday?

I don't expect that.  Coach Coughlin was asked that question on Monday and come Wednesday I am pretty sure everybody on our team will be able to practice.  I think it is just something that you have to make it happen.  We need to make this a Wednesday for the next two or three weeks or we could make this our last Wednesday of the season and people need to come to that realization and understand that, and I am pretty sure that they will and that they will come to work ready on Wednesday ready to play, ready to practice to do what we need to do to hopefully get a win against Philly.

Were the Eagles the one team that you could face in the playoffs that you knew the team wouldn't have to get a pep talk to be motivated to play?

I tell you what, Coach doesn't need to get anybody jacked-up for any game in the month of January.  It would be foolish to sit there and say that he needs to because we understand it.  We are going to have at least, what, 35-40 guys who were on the team last year and know exactly what we are walking into.  We have drafted some guys, we have brought in some guys through free agency, and now those guys have to step up.  They have to rise to the same level and we have to bring that level we brought last year and even go even further than that because it is more.  We are playing a team that we just faced not more than a month ago so there is no need to do any pep rally and get up there and do jumping jacks or anything else crazy.  We just need to go out there and practice, be focused mentally and physically to be prepared to get a win.

Where is the team's focus and confidence right now because you have lost three out of the last four?

We are where any team that is in the Divisional playoff round is.  We are very confident.  Focused? I can't tell you until we get through a week of practice and everything else, but I know everybody's mind is in the right place, meaning that we want to keep advancing.  We have a couple more mountains to climb, like Coach Coughlin has stated, and if everybody wants that taste that we had at the beginning of February last year that focus needs to pick up even more because it is a little more intense this year when obviously everybody is pointing at you and putting that bulls eye on you now that it is January.  For us I think it is all about going out there and just putting our blinders on.  We are going out there like this is the Kentucky Derby, we have our horse blinders on, and we are going to go out there and get on the first leg of the track.

Is there any concern at all with the way the season ended for you guys?

That season is irrelevant.  The 2008 regular season is over with.  There is nothing we can do about it.  It is not going to help us moving forward.  We can look at film and study and do everything, but come 1:00 on Sunday it is a totally different ball game and I think we understand that and if not, we will understand it by the end of the week.

Is there a danger of having Westbrook tunnel vision and allowing their other receivers to hurt you?

I think when people hear a lot of commentators and players say that all 22 eyes need to know where 36 is and to pay attention to him, I think it is just an understanding of how great of a player he is.  He is a superstar.  He is an elite player and you have to know where he is, but by no means are we going to leave number 10 Jackson open or number 80 Curtis open.  Our idea is that we have individual matchups within the whole team concept and you have to play and you have to win that matchup.  When 36 has the ball we have to get him, when number 10 has the ball we have to get after him, and it is no different with 80 or 5.  So for us it is making sure that we understand who the guys are that can beat you on given plays, any given play, and the guys that can nickel and dime you.  For us it is about going out there and stopping all 11 players and beating the Philadelphia Eagles. 

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