- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Philadelphia Eagles won two playoff games in the 18 seasons immediately before Donovan McNabb became their starting quarterback. In the six seasons McNabb has been healthy in January, the Eagles won seven playoff games, including an NFC Championship.

And yet because McNabb finished the past two years on injured reserve, Philadelphia used its top draft pick on quarterback Kevin Kolb. And the Eagles went 5-5 with McNabb last year, 6-2 with the since-departed Jeff Garcia. Those facts and his turning 30 last November have given McNabb a newfound sense of urgency as he tries to win the Eagles’ first championship since 1960.

“Not that we’re trying to say the window is closing, but we’ve been through the Super Bowl, we’ve been through the NFC Championships, we’ve been in the playoffs — it’s time to seal the deal,” McNabb told reporters this summer.

Eagles coach Andy Reid was heartened by McNabb’s return to action Aug. 17, eight months after he tore his right ACL.

“Donovan was confident out there,” Reid said after the game with Carolina. “It didn’t look like the leg bothered him. He wasn’t compensating or anything. He looked like he has in practice. I thought he threw the ball very well. He’s the leader of the team. When he’s out there, it means a lot to those guys.”

Despite Garcia’s surprising hot hand down the stretch last season, there’s no denying McNabb’s centrality to the Eagles. They’re 72-38 with him as their starter, 15-16 when he’s on the sideline. And now that he and top pass rusher Jevon Kearse are healthy and linebacker Takeo Spikes has been acquired from Buffalo, McNabb believes that this is finally the Eagles’ year.

“Last year I said that we were a Super Bowl team, and everybody kind of laughed at it and didn’t understand what I was saying,” McNabb said. “We were … a couple of plays away from the NFC Championship [game]. I guess people think that what I say is right, now.”

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