By Andrew Porter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Donovan McNabb, who was critical of Nick Foles before the season began, seems to have more confidence in backup QB Mark Sanchez.

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The former accomplished Eagles quarterback, now an FOX Sports analyst, believes Sanchez will take over and continue to win games for the Birds with Foles hurt.

“Absolutely,” McNabb said when asked if Sanchez can lead the Eagles to the playoffs. “Absolutely. I think they can get to the playoffs and I think they can win a game with Mark Sanchez if he’s protecting the football, but utilize your legs because he’s a mobile guy. That will work well in this offense.”

Twice during McNabb’s tenure with the Eagles, the backup quarterback lead the team to the playoffs when McNabb went down to injury. During the 2002-03 season, A.J. Feeley and Koy Detmer combined to go 5-1, leading the Eagles to the post-season, before McNabb returned and eventually lost in the NFC Championship Game to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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In the 2006-07 season, Jeff Garcia went 5-1 and won a playoff game after “Number Five” tore a ligament in his ACL.

Sanchez makes his first start since December 30th, 2012 on Monday Night Football, at home, against the Carolina Panthers. However, McNabb, who predicted an Eagles victory over the Panthers, says the pressure isn’t on Sanchez.

“I don’t think the pressure is on Mark Sanchez’s shoulders to lead this team,” McNabb said. “Just manage it, don’t turn the football over. Make sure you are converting the third downs if its in the passing game. If they can do that, I think they continue to move forward.  Now, Chip Kelly has shown confidence in Mark Sanchez, the team has come up to show confidence. So for Mark Sanchez, forget about what happened when you were with the Jets. This is a whole new era for you, just take full advantage.”


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