Eagles notes, quotes and tidbits: Chris Long facing former team; Fletcher Cox's hidden talent

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Eagles notes, quotes and tidbits: Chris Long facing former team; Fletcher Cox's hidden talent

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Comedian Lewis Black has a joke based around once overhearing a young woman say, "If it weren't for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college." 

This quote from Chris Long is a little easier to understand: 

"If I never got cut, I wouldn't have a Super Bowl ring."

Before the Rams moved back to Los Angeles, Long was a member of the team for the first eight years of his career. The Rams took him with the second overall pick in 2008. He played 114 games and had 54½ sacks with them. 

But in 2015, Long was hampered by a lingering knee injury and was cut after the season. He was then signed by the Patriots in 2016 and went on to win a Super Bowl. 

So things worked out pretty well. 

That's probably part of the reason Long doesn't have any hard feelings toward the Rams, who he'll see this weekend in their new temporary home at the LA Coliseum. 

"If I didn't play like crap, I wouldn't have got cut. If I didn't get hurt, I wouldn't have played like crap," he said. 

Playing the Rams this season isn't a big deal for Long because he already faced them with the Patriots last season. The Pats won that game 26-10 and Long picked up a sack. 

But the Rams team he'll see on Sunday is much different than the version that went 4-12 in 2016. These Rams are 9-3 and are atop their division with four games left to play. 

Long's teams in St. Louis never had the type of success the Rams are having this year. During his eight seasons there, the best finish the Rams had was 7-9. 

But he's not surprised about the turnaround. 

"Yeah, I could see this coming," he said. "Took a while for guys that were there, but Coach (Sean) McVay had done a great job and there were always some pieces here and there and the defense is playing well, as well. To me, I'm not surprised they're playing well. There's a lot of good people in that locker room and good football players."

Last year, long-snapper Jon Dorenbos became a television sensation with his magic act. Maybe it's Fletcher Cox's turn. 

The Eagles' defensive tackle will be on an hour-long CBS special called "MVP: Most Valuable Performer" on Thursday, Jan. 25, from 9-10 p.m. 

It's basically a giant talent competition for 32 NFL players. Cox's talent is archery. 

Cox, 26, is an avid hunter but didn't start shooting a bow until about four years ago. 

For his performance on the show, Cox isn't exactly sure what he'll be shooting at ... likely some kind of target. Although, he said one of those fake deer would be too easy. 

"Depends," Cox said. "Whatever I decide to come up with, it's going to be good. You'll see, man. I can't tell my secrets."

Cox is one of three contestants planning to showcase their archery skills, along with Packers kicker Mason Crosby and former Eagles DT and Cox's friend, Bennie Logan. 

Among some of the more interesting talents, the Ravens' Alex Collins will be performing an Irish Step Dance, Broncos' Corey Nelson will be reciting poetry and Patriots' Joe Thuney will be solving a Rubik's Cube. 

Does Cox like his chances? 

"I don't talk about losing," he said. "I only talk about winning."

Where am I? 
By the end of this week, Eagles practice squad center Jon Toth will have spent more time at Angel Stadium in Anaheim than he has at the NovaCare Complex in Philly. 

It's been quite a week. 

Toth, a rookie center from Kentucky, was signed to the Eagles' practice squad on Friday but had just three days in his new city before hopping on a flight with his practice squad teammates to meet the Eagles' active roster in Los Angeles. 

"It's been a bit of a change, for sure. Definitely," he said. "It's a good change, though."

Toth was at two rookie minicamps this spring, with the Jets and Rams, before undergoing surgery for a herniated disc. From then, Toth was back home in Indianapolis while he rehabbed.  

He said he wasn't too worried about if teams would have interest. Apparently, plenty of teams did before. He was just worried about getting healthy and continuing his career. 

It just so happened he signed with a team that was about to take a West Coast trip. 

"It's tough but it is what it is," Toth said. "It's a great organization and these guys are very welcoming. They're determined. I'm going to try my best to get to know guys but not be too distracting and let guys go about their jobs and do what they have to do to get a win." 

Quote of the Week I: "Glad he's letting me rent it for the week." — Nigel Bradham on using Mike Trout's locker at Angel Stadium

Quote of the Week II: "I don't have to play next year, but I'm leaning towards coming back. I can't end like this." — Darren Sproles

Quote of the Week III: "We need to get one of them back at our place!" — Najee Goode when he saw the disco ball hanging in the Angels' clubhouse 

Random media guide note: Mychal Kendricks' first job was working concessions for several local semi-pro teams in California. 

Concert celebrating Eagles' Super Bowl season sounds pretty epic

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Concert celebrating Eagles' Super Bowl season sounds pretty epic

Eagles fans will probably never stop reliving the first Super Bowl title in franchise history.

While watching highlights, wearing championship apparel and occasionally just looking in the mirror and reminding yourself, "We won the Super Bowl" are all good ways of remembering what the Birds accomplished, there's a pretty unique new way that you'll be able to experience it all over again.

On July 24, the Mann Center will be hosting "A Championship Season," a special event to honor the Eagles. 

Going by the Mann Center's description, it should be an incredible night.

The Mann Center, NFL Films, and the Philadelphia Eagles take center stage this summer to celebrate the Eagles’ Championship Season with the world premiere of this “Philly Special” concert event. Hosted by the “Voice of the Eagles,” Merrill Reese, relive NFL Films’ stunning video highlights of the Philadelphia Eagles Championship Season on three giant screens alongside the great Philadelphia Orchestra, performing live the inspiring, uplifting and wonderfully symphonic music of NFL Films. 

Part of the proceeds from "A Championship Season" will benefit the Eagles Autism Challenge and the Mann Center's free art education programs. 

If you want to be part of the epic celebration, get your tickets here

Carson Wentz was great in 2017, but there's one thing he'd like to improve

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Carson Wentz was great in 2017, but there's one thing he'd like to improve

He was among the NFL’s best in virtually every category. Fourth in passer rating. First in touchdown percentage. Eighth in interception percentage. Second in TD-to-INT ratio. He was even third in wins despite missing the last three regular-season games.

So what’s Carson Wentz’s approach going into 2018?

“I think we can improve everywhere,” he said. “Overall, I think we can keep making strides and keep our foot on the gas.”

And that starts with completion percentage.

Wentz completed just 60.2 percent of his passes last year, which ranked 23rd of 30 quarterbacks who threw at least 400 passes. 

Ahead of only Blake Bortles, Andy Dalton, Mitch Trubisky, Cam Newton, Trevor Siemian, Jacoby Brissett and DeShone Kizer.

Not the kind of company he wants to keep.

Wentz was so good in every other area he still fashioned a passer rating over 100. In fact, his 101.9 rating was the highest in NFL history by a quarterback completing 60.2 percent of his passes (minimum 400 attempts).

The league average last year was 62 percent. And for the sake of comparison, Nick Foles completed 64.7 percent of his passes if you combine the regular season and postseason.

Wentz dropped from 62.4 percent as a rookie to 60.2 percent last year.

Among 36 active NFL quarterbacks who’ve thrown at least 1,000 passes, Wentz’s 61.5 completion percentage ranks 21st.

 “I know I’d like to see my completions go higher,” Wentz said last week. “I think I was right around 60 percent and I expect more out of myself in that area.”

After 2016, Wentz identified red zone and third down as two areas he hoped to improve on. 

And he wound up leading the NFL in both red zone efficiency (NFL-best 116.3 passer rating) and third-down efficiency (NFL-best 123.7 rating).

“Third down, red zone, we were really good,” he said. “That’s something we really focused on from Year 1 to Year 2, but we (still) all feel we can definitely improve in those areas.”

Wentz also committed nine fumbles in 13 games, and only Jameis Winston and Russell Wilson had more.

“I think we had too many fumbles,” he said. “Balls on the ground too many times.”

Wentz, now nearly five months out from his knee injury, said he’s used a lot of his extra time at the NovaCare Complex this offseason focusing on what he can improve on in 2018, and one of those things is his upper-body strength.

“With all the extra rehab and not being able to run and do a lot of things early on you’ve really just got to focus on some different things and I got to do a lot of seated throwing and trying to build my arm strength and really take care of my upper body more than I have in the past,” he said.

“It’s been an interesting process not being able to get that true conditioning and that rehab in, but it’s exciting to start easing into the running and conditioning stuff. … 

“I feel good. I definitely feel working with the strength guys, we had some friendly competition stuff with the other (injured) guys in there rehabbing and I definitely feel like I’m making some strides in there.”