JANUARY 9, 2008
Q: Can you just address the subject of after you had gotten benched at halftime in Baltimore what your reaction was to that and do you think that has helped motivate you during this run now?
A: No, it hasn't motivated me for this run. The benching is over. And as a team we have all moved on and have challenged ourselves to do better each week.
Q: Did you question yourself at all when that happened – wondering – I think it would be natural probably to wonder about what your future was going to be at that very moment?
A: Not at all. To be honest with you, I never had any negative thoughts as far as my play and what I was capable of doing or what I was going to do. There is no reason for me to even focus on the future at this point, because while you are playing this game anything can happen. So my focus was on what I needed to do in order to change things around from what it was at that point and make sure that I was going out there and executing and having fun.
Q: The whole experience was not a motivation for you at all?
A: No, it really wasn't.
Q: Sometimes a player has a chance to step back and it can be beneficial. Other guys have said that through the years. Is there any way that aspect may have helped you?
A: Not at all. I don't believe in stepping back and seeing ……… This isn't my first go-around. I have been playing this game for 10 years now. So I know what I can do; I know what I have done. I know how to change things if things are wrong. So I don't look at it in that way as far as stepping away seeing things and going from there. I have been away from it, obviously due to injury. So I have had my share of stepping away and seeing it and then getting back out there.
Q: Were you shocked when they told you at the half that you wouldn't be starting the second half?
A: I felt just like anybody would feel at that particular time if you are not going back in. But you know what; I just made sure that I was an ultimate teammate, of just supporting the guys and doing whatever I had to do in order to try to help us win.
Q: Were you wondering at all after that game what was going to happen the next week and if Andy was going to go back to you? Did he tell you right away that you were still the starter?
A: I was told after the game that I was still the starter.
Q: Last question on that.
A: Yeah, can we stop all of the questions about the benching and focus on..
Q: I just wanted to ask you whether this has affected your relationship with Andy at all?
A: No, it hasn't.
Q: Considering what happened last year when you played against that defensive front, is there anything different about the way you guys are approaching their pass rush?
A: No, we are not. There is no difference in the way that we are approaching it. We know that they are --- I believe they are in the top three as far as sacks are concerned. And we know that Tuck has had a wonderful season, a Pro Bowl season. Kiwanuka, coming off of injury and playing well and really their front four has been playing well. And we know that it is going to be a challenge for us. It is going to be a battle. We are going to be prepared in going up there to hopefully play well.
Q: Why do you think you had success against that rush? Is it getting the ball away quicker? Is the blocking scheme any different?
A: I think it is a number of things. The two games – there were different things that we did successful. And when you are playing against a team that is coached by Spags you know that he is going to bring the heat. You know that he is going to sit back in the zone. He has a great feel of what we like to do over here. So he tries to put his team in great position so that they can be successful. That's why I say it is going to be really be a challenge for us again. And anytime that you play a team three times in a season it is not going to be like the first two times. This is playoff play. You have to bring everything to the game. And make sure you try to play at a high level.
Q: Could the difference in the Giants' inability to get to you this year be that Osi Umenyiora is not playing and Michael Strahan retired?
A: I wouldn't say that. Those guys that they have now – I'm not really in their place but Tuck has played and Kiwanuka has played with both of them there. And they are playing at a high level. So I wouldn't say that the reason for that is because Mike and Osi aren't there. Those guys that they have really, really have been playing well at a high level.* * Their front four, I think, has played better than they did with Osi and Mike there last year. So it would be a challenge if they were there, just like it is a challenge now.
Q: How different are you as a quarterback? How have you sort of evolved over the years? It seemed like when you came into the League if you had to, you had almost a running back's ability.
* *A: I don't have the running back ability any more?
Q: Well, no, I'm asking you.
A: The thing that has changed is that I am older. You understand the game a little bit more. You know things that you can and cannot do. You also – for me fortunately I have been in the same offense now for 10 years. So there is leeway in a lot of different things that we can do. Mentally you know things that you need to do in order for this team to be successful. And those are the things that have really changed. And my experience factor can definitely help a lot of the guys here on the team.
Q: They always say that quarterbacks' careers are validated by Super Bowl rings. Do you feel that you need to win one of these in order to, I guess, validate – for lack of a better word – your career or are the good things that you have done over the 10 years you have been in Philly enough?
A: I don't believe so. Would I like to win a ring? Yes. Do I prepare myself throughout the offseason to put myself in a position to win the Super Bowl? Yes. Would I like to win one for the City of Philadelphia? Yes. But I don't believe that rings solidify how great your career was. Dan Marino never won a Super Bowl. Up until just a couple of years ago Peyton Manning never won a Super Bowl; never even been close. And would that diminish anything that he was able to accomplish? No. So there are a lot of great quarterbacks who have played this game who have never won a Super Bowl. But that should never take away from the things that they have been able to accomplish for their given teams.
Q: From a team standpoint and looking at the Giants trying to repeat, can any part of you appreciate what they have done and what they are trying to do in terms of repeating in a League that is so balanced and so difficult to win a Super Bowl, no less two in a row?
A: Well, you credit them for what they have been able to do, obviously for winning the Super Bowl when a lot of people counted them out to now starting the season out strong and I believe they were 13-3 or something to that effect this year, and for them to maintain. Obviously teams that go on the Super Bowl run - it is injuries that play a major part and they have had their share. But guys have really stepped in and helped their team. So I respect everything that they have been able to do over there. And I think things that you have seen that they have been through last year to the way they are handling it now, you can't do anything but really respect them.
Q: It might be a complicated question, but can you – at least in general terms – explain your relationship with the Philadelphia fans? From a distance it looks like it is kind of a love-hate relationship that has gone on for all of these years.
A: I love everyone here in Philadelphia.
Q: Do you have to have really thick skin to play there?
A: I think you just have to understand what it is that you are here for? You are here to try to win ballgames. You are here to play well, play at a high level, make sure that the guys around you play at a high level. Winning cures everything. And I think you can't truly focus on what people may say about you or how one may feel. Really the only thing that matters as an athlete, as an individual here playing in sports or whatever, is for you to focus in on what it is that you are supposed to do. And me being the quarterback of the team, where you get criticized more than you are supposed to, or you get more credit than you are supposed to. So it is part of the job.
Q: Could you talk about the atmosphere in the City when you did finally win that Championship game? Is that atmosphere still vivid for you?
A: As far as us winning the championship here?
Q: Yes, when you won the NFC Championship Game and advanced.
A: Yes. It was an exciting time. It was a real exciting time. And hopefully we can get back to that.
Q: A lot of people have compared you guys to the Giants of last year; the ability to win three playoff games on the road. The way you guys are playing right now, do you feel you are capable of doing that?
A: I definitely hope so; I hope so.
Q: Did you think there was a point in this season where maybe your own fan base kind of gave up on the season, even if you guys had not?
A: I don't even focus on that. I don't know. That is one you would have to ask others, not me.