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News » Mcnabb Intends To Keep Fighting The Good Fight

Mcnabb Intends To Keep Fighting The Good Fight

Mcnabb Intends To Keep Fighting The Good Fight
PHILADELPHIA - After 10 years, Donovan McNabb has learned to rely on a few rules for life in the fishbowl that houses NFL quarterbacks. And here is how he might sum them up:

(1) Never let your teammates, or anyone else, see you sweat;

(2) Maintain a sense of humor whenever possible;

(3) Know your own capabilities;

(4) Don't worry about the critics.

Not to say this is always a snap. In fact, sometimes it's a real challenge. Like when your own head coach, the same guy who hitched his wagon to you a decade ago, decides you need some time on the sideline.

"It was just one of those situations that he felt like everyone was coming down on him,'' DeSean Jackson said early Friday morning, after McNabb and the Eagles responded to a week of turmoil with a 48-20 victory over the Arizona Cardinals .

Jackson, the standout rookie wide receiver, hasn't known McNabb very long. Still, he could sense a difference in McNabb long before Thursday night's first offensive snap.

"It's not just tonight,'' he said. "It's been that way all week. The things he's been going through, with everyone wanting to get mad at him. ... It doesn't matter. He has to play well, and today he did that. I'm not going to say that it's going to erase everything else that has been happening, but if he keeps playing like that, that's what we need.''

Only a cynic would suggest that facing an Arizona team that had to travel across the country on a short week was like a tonic for McNabb and the misfiring Eagle attack. Even without that hurdle to clear, the Cards were just 17th in the league against the pass entering the Thanksgiving night matchup.

Still, McNabb's performance was a dramatic upgrade. He hit 10 of his first 11 passes - most of the high-percentage variety - and closed the first half at 15-for-19, with two touchdowns and no picks.

When he exited for Kevin Kolb - this time with 4:15 left in the game -McNabb had posted a passer rating of 121.7, his highest since opening day against St. Louis.

"You know he's a fighter,'' said Brian Westbrook, no small factor in the equation with his second 100-yard rushing game of the season. "He came out and fought tonight and led the team."

McNabb's motivation to fight was evident enough to Tra Thomas, the veteran left tackle who came to the Eagles a year ahead of the quarterback, and seemed to agree with Jackson's view of the turnaround.

"He takes that criticism to heart, and he just wants to prove everyone wrong,'' Thomas said. "He just came out and played his game. He didn't let everything bother him. He just shook it off and came out and played.''

Asked directly if McNabb's offensive teammates felt the need to fight for him as well, Thomas didn't back away. "Yeah, we wanted to go out there and let him know we had his back,'' the tackle said. "We just all stuck together.''

So while nearly everyone holding a microphone or banging on a computer keyboard has condemmed Reid for yanking McNabb midway through Sunday's loss in Baltimore, is it possible that the move served as a wake-up call - not just for McNabb, but for the entire offense?

"I would probably give the credit to Donovan here, and not make a big deal about that part,'' Reid said. "He was under some scrutiny, and he kind of blocked everything out and went about his business. It's a credit to him - the kind of person he is, and the kind of athlete and quarterback that he is.''

None of this means Reid and McNabb will remain together in 2009, unless, perhaps, they don't lose another game this season. McNabb's reported salary cap figure of $10.3 million for next year figures to stand firmly in the way of that possibility.

And maybe that's why even McNabb seemed to bend one of his rules a bit, when asked if his latest resurgence had silenced the doubters.

"I don't know, you tell me,'' he said. "I just play Football, and try to play at a high level, and again, I don't focus on what people may say on the outside or how one may feel about me.

"When it's all said and done, and I decide to hang the shoes up, how do you want to be remembered? And you know it's all important. It's kind of working on your legacy."

Someone else might call it fighting the good fight.


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 30, 2008

Jerome McDougle Name: Jerome McDougle
Position: DE
Age: 29
Experience: 5 years
College: Miami (FL)
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