The word "nasty" and Donovan McNabb have pretty much never been used in the same sentence since the Eagles' signal-caller arrived on the scene here in 1999.
Which is why my ears perked up when he answered a question about whether his demeanor has changed since the Eagles went down to the Chargers in Week 10.
"When you have a talented team like we have, every now and then you have to bring that nasty attitude out and if it's a spark by me by what I say, or just maybe my play or even just me being there, that's what I look forward to doing," McNabb said, adding that he couldn't repeat what he said in the huddle in the fourth quarter because there was some colorful language. "And when you look across the board, yes, they are young. But I think they played enough games where they understand how to prepare and what to expect."
A weekly tradition in our chats is for many of you to pull your hair out when McNabb throws a bad pass and follows it up with a smile.
Personally, his reaction doesn't bother me. But I know it drives many of you nuts. That's why him talking about the "nasty attitude" was surprising.
Earlier in the season, the Eagles' failure to come back in the fourth quarter was a major story line. But the last two weeks, McNabb has guided the Birds to consecutive comeback wins.
During the team's final two drives, he completed five of eight passes for 115 yards. All of those came with DeSean Jackson out of the game. On the touchdown drive, it was Jason Avant making catches of 46 and 20 yards on back-to-back plays. He was banged-up on the second grab, but returned to the game.
And the rookie, Jeremy Maclin, got loose deep on the game-winning drive, hauling in a beautifully-thrown 35-yard pass. Perhaps more impressive was Maclin's 6-yard grab on 3rd-and-5, which allowed the Eagles to run more clock before getting David Akers on the field.
One thing I've noticed about McNabb is that when the offense is at its best, he's allowing receivers to make plays. It sounds simple. But it's a change from the McNabb we've seen for years. The player who was so careful with the ball that he sometimes would leave points on the field because he couldn't trust his playmakers to help him.
That's a theme to watch the rest of the way. As he gets more comfortable with Avant, Maclin and company, McNabb's willingness to take more chances and show faith in his weapons could really help this team in close spots down the stretch.
Click here to read our earlier post from right after the game.