PHILADELPHIA (AP) -If Donovan McNabb is playing out his final games with the Philadelphia Eagles, his first audition for his next job comes before a national audience.
Benched at halftime in a loss at Baltimore, McNabb will be back under center Thursday night against the Arizona Cardinals. The Eagles (5-5-1) desperately need to win to maintain their slim playoff hopes. The NFC West-leading Cardinals (7-4) would clinch their first division title in 33 years with a victory.
McNabb and his teammates can only hope the tough Philly fans are too stuffed from eating turkey and tired from the tryptophan or it can get ugly at Lincoln Financial Field if the Eagles struggle again.
ti.
A day later, and after watching second-year pro Kevin Kolb struggle mightily, Reid went back to McNabb. The five-time Pro Bowl quarterback isn't the only reason the Eagles are underachieving, but he's an easy scapegoat.
``I'm not the only one who's a problem, I guess, on the offense,'' McNabb said. ``But if I had to be the one to sacrifice for it, then that's what had to go.''
With the Eagles heading toward their third last-place finish in four years since losing the 2005 Super Bowl to New England, major changes are likely to come. McNabb probably won't return if the team decides to rebuild.
For now, he's focused on proving he can get past his midseason slump and still be an elite player. McNabb had a passer rating of 92.0 and the Eagles were 5-3 after eight games. Since then, he's thrown six interceptions and his rating has dipped to 81.1.
``You look at the things that have happened, and it's kind of uncharacteristic of me and I know that,'' McNabb said. ``It's something that you have to battle through playing the position. Not everyone goes through a perfect season. Some guys go through a little drama at the beginning, some go through it at the end. It's unfortunate that I'm going through it right now, but it's easy to bounce back from it. That's the way that I'm going to continue to approach this and I look forward to making changes this week.''
cNabb is going through. Warner was a two-time NFL MVP and a Super Bowl MVP with the St. Louis Rams, but he got benched and eventually moved to the New York Giants. He didn't have much success there and ended up in Arizona four years ago. It took an injury to Matt Leinart for Warner to get back on the field and he won the starting job in training camp.
Now, at 37, Warner is having another MVP-type season. He's thrown for 3,506 yards, 21 TDs and his passer rating of 102.4 is second behind San Diego's Philip Rivers.
``It doesn't matter how long you've played this game or how well you played it, there's always periods where it doesn't go in your favor,'' Warner said. ``It doesn't mean you can't play anymore or you don't have a lot left in the tank.
``And I know that's the situation with Donovan. Some things have gone against him the last couple of weeks, but he's still a great player. Everybody hits slumps. He's going to work his way out of it, and I think he's going to be a great quarterback for the rest of his career.''
McNabb may not have much help behind him. Running back Brian Westbrook (ankle, knee) is questionable and backup Correll Buckhalter (knee) is doubtful. That leaves Lorenzo Booker, who was inactive the last three games, to carry the load if Westbrook can't go.
g a little banged up, that's just more for myself, the tight ends and the receivers to make sure that we're efficient.''
On the opposite side, cornerback Asante Samuel is doubtful with a neck injury. Lito Sheppard is a capable replacement, but the Cardinals' strong passing attack features three solid receivers.
Philadelphia's secondary could have a difficult time against the trio of Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston.
``When you have a group of receivers that (Warner) is throwing the ball to, not taking anything away from him, but if you look at the routes, if you look at some of the passes, he's putting things right on the money,'' safety Brian Dawkins said. ``Those guys don't have to do anything but catch the ball and continue to run.''
The last time the Cardinals won a division title, they were playing in St. Louis and were in the NFC East. The hats and T-shirts proclaiming the Cardinals NFC West champs will be ready to go for the plane ride back to Arizona. All they have to do is win.
``We have our own destiny in our hands,'' Boldin said. ``We want to take advantage.''

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