5 Minutes with Roob: Kenjon Barner back with his 'wide range of musicality'

5 Minutes with Roob: Kenjon Barner back with his 'wide range of musicality'

In today's "Five Minutes with Roob," Reuben Frank chats with Eagles return specialist and running back Kenjon Barner:

Roob: We’re here with Eagles return specialist and running back Kenjon Barner. Welcome back to Philadelphia.

Barner: Thank you, thank you.

Roob: I've got to ask you. You were on the street without a job until the Eagles called you. You handled that really well and you had a really positive attitude after the Chargers let you go. What was that period of time like for you?

Barner: I said it before and I will say it again. God has a plan for your life, I trust that, and I wholeheartedly believe in that. When I got released, the next day I was out having fun on the lake with my friends and enjoying time with my family. Just patiently waiting because God has a plan and just trusting in that.

Roob: Now since you have been back you have been returning punts. I think you are fourth in the NFL in punt return average. What is the key on those returns for you? Is it vision, is it instinct?

Barner: It is all of the above, man. Trusting in the guys in front of me, not forcing it and letting the game come to you. Being patient and when you see something out there, hit it and be aggressive. Go out there with the mindset of making a play and making it.

Roob: When you look at this group of running backs with LeGarrette (Blount), Wendell (Smallwood), Donnel (Pumphrey), Darren (Sproles) and obviously Jay (Ajayi), as well as Corey (Clement) and you. There are obviously a lot of talented guys here. What is the key to making this thing work? You guys seem very unselfish.

Barner: That’s it. Just staying unselfish. Just knowing what we have within our room and what we have within our team and knowing what our team is about. This team is not a “me” team. It isn’t an individual-based team. We are a team and the true definition of a team, more of a family than anything. So constantly remembering that and reminding each other of that and not counting our reps but making our reps count whenever they come.

Roob: Now the Dallas game you get the first touchdown. It is interesting with all of the running backs you were the guy they started the game with. I guess it is tough on the defense because they don’t know what is going to happen and it must be fun for you guys? What was that like for you to start the game like that? That was a great catch by the way.

Barner: Man, it was a lot of fun. I mean any time you can do that against the Cowboys is a lot of fun and to contribute to a win. It is tough for a defense. I believe it is tough because you don’t know what exactly to game plan for or who to game plan for. Now watching film, guys are obviously going to run this type of play, run that type of play but then we switch things up. So I think it is definitely tough to game plan for our running back group.

Roob: I want to ask you something not football related. I was reading your bio and in everyone’s bio, it says what kind of music they like. Some guys like country, some like hip-hop and some like R&B. You listed among your favorite bands Rascal Flatts, Nickelback and Miguel. Now that is about as diverse as you can get without including some opera in there. Do you like all kinds of music?

Barner: I love music, man, and I always have. My parents listened to a lot of different music growing up. As I got older, I started to venture into alternative music, country music, classical music, musicals and stuff like that. I have a wide range of musicality on my iPod and I love it. Music can take you somewhere and I love music that does that.

Roob: Do you play an instrument?

Barner: Play the piano. I started playing that in college. I was in the band in the sixth grade and I played the bass clarinet but I don’t remember how to play it. I messed around with it a little bit.

Roob: Do you let the guys know you are a Rascal Flatts fan or do you keep that to yourself?

Barner: I let it be known. You get in my car, whoever gets in my car, you will never know what you are going to hear. Everybody here knows I am a country music fan and I love it. I prefer to listen to it over a lot of other brands of music.

Roob: I assume you are a guy that takes things one year at a time. You started in Carolina, you come here and then you are on the street, then you come back here and play well in 2015. Come back here, go to the Chargers, come back here. How important would it be for you to find a home and be here long term? Is that what you are after?

Barner: Obviously that is important. I’ll let tomorrow worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow has enough worries of its own. My job is to worry about the things that I can control. Right now, the only thing I can control is the way I play, the way I go out there and perform, and anything outside of that is out of my hands. That is not something I stress myself or concern myself with. That is something this organization has to make a decision about or 31 organizations out there have to. You go out there and do your job and let the chips fall where they may.

Michael Bennett's strong message to NFC East QBs

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Michael Bennett's strong message to NFC East QBs

It wasn't quite a WWE throwdown message, but Michael Bennett definitely put NFC East quarterbacks on notice during his introductory press conference at the NovaCare Complex on Monday afternoon.

He's coming for them.

And so are the rest of his defensive line teammates.

"I know Eli Manning is probably watching this and thinking, like, yes I'm coming," said Bennett, whom the Eagles acquired in a trade with the Seahawks. "I know Dak (Prescott) is watching this like, 'Yeah, he's coming.' Yeah, I am.

"And Alex Smith, he knows he can't run from me. I told him at the Pro Bowl. So it's definitely going to be a great season and it's going to be fun to chase quarterbacks. I just know third down it's just going to be ... and second down and first down, it's just going to be fun."

When Bennett, 32, named all three of the starting quarterbacks from the NFC East, he was actually answering a question about comparing the defensive schemes from Seattle and Philadelphia. Bennett began by saying that he played with some great players in Seattle, before saying he doesn't think there's a tight end in the NFL that can block him.

From there, he started to name the QBs.

Manning in New York. Prescott in Dallas. And recently-acquired Smith in Washington. They'll all be seeing Bennett twice this season.

Bennett is basically replacing Vinny Curry on the Eagles' defensive line, and Haloti Ngata is basically replacing Beau Allen. While Curry and Allen are younger, many think Bennett and Ngata are improvements in the short-term, which means the strength of the Eagles' defense from 2017 is even stronger in 2018.

While Curry had just three sacks in 2017 and has gone over the four-sack mark just once in his six-year career, Bennett has had at least five sacks in all of those last six seasons. Bennett has 48 sacks since 2012 and has been a Pro Bowler in each of his last three seasons.

While there was a report that surfaced saying Seattle was trying to part ways with socially active players, Bennett said he didn't give it much credence. His relationship with Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll goes beyond football and he knows Seattle was just trying to unload him to get something back in return; it's part of the business.

It seems likely that in Philly, Bennett will get a chance to play both inside and outside. His versatility was used in a similar fashion in Seattle, but he also played a ton of snaps, which he won't have to do in the Eagles' rotation. It should keep him fresh.

And it will probably keep opposing quarterbacks up at night.

Eagles' season opener will be a juicy rematch

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Eagles' season opener will be a juicy rematch

These poor Minnesotans can't seem to get rid of Philly.

First, the Eagles spanked their Vikings in the NFC Championship Game, then the Eagles won a Super Bowl two weeks later in their stadium. And now the Vikings have to open up the 2018 NFL season back at the Linc.

The Eagles are going to host the Vikings on Thursday, Sept. 6 at Lincoln Financial Field to open the NFL calendar, according to Howard Eskin.

Of course, the last time the Vikings came to the Linc they scored the first touchdown of the game before the Eagles scored the next 38 points to crush the No. 2 seed in the NFC, 38-7.

After Kyle Rudolph caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from Case Keenum early in the first quarter, the Eagles' defense clamped down and the offense, led by Nick Foles, exploded. The biggest play of the game (one of the biggest of the season) was Patrick Robinson's 50-yard pick-6 later in the first quarter. The Eagles took a 24-7 lead into the locker room and halftime and much of the second half became a party on the sideline and in the stands, where a "Foles-Skol" chant broke out several times.

Of course, the Vikings are going to look different this time. Case Keenum has moved on to Denver, and the Vikings brought in Kirk Cousins from Washington. In his career against the Eagles, Cousins is 4-3 with a passer rating of 99.7.

The full NFL schedule probably won't be released until mid-April. We also know the Eagles will face the Jaguars in London on either Oct. 21 or 28.

Here are the teams the Eagles will face in 2018: