Eagles' top CB was nearly cut in camp

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Eagles' top CB was nearly cut in camp

On a team with countless improbable stories, Patrick Robinson might be the most improbable.

With his fourth team in four years. Turned 30 earlier this season. Had a dreadful training camp. Was so bad in the summer he was moved to a new position.

And here he is, enjoying perhaps his best season as a pro on one of the NFL's best defenses.

“It’s very rewarding," Robinson said Wednesday. "Around my age, you start to get those, ‘Oh, he’s getting older, he’s slowing down.’ People just assume that you’re going to slow down.

"So right now I’m just trying to prove I’m still good. I’m still running as fast as I’ve ever been. Still as quick as anybody in the league. I’m definitely not slowing down."

Robinson on Monday night tied his career high of four interceptions, set with the Saints back in 2011. He's the first Eagles' cornerback with four INTs in a season since Brandon Boykin had seven in 2013 and only the second Eagles' cornerback in his 30s with four INTs in a season since 1960. Sheldon Brown had five in 2009.

On a team loaded with promising young corners — Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones are all 23 or younger — Robinson has given the Eagles a steady presence, secure tackling, timely playmaking and veteran leadership.

“I think it’s one of my best seasons," said Robinson, now in his ninth NFL season. "Starting off the way I did, it definitely makes me feel great about how far I’ve come."

Robinson was so bad this preseason and in training camp, it wouldn't have been a shock if the Eagles released him. If Jones were healthy, they probably would have.

"I started off slow but didn’t really worry about what people were saying and just kept working," he said. "Never got down. 

"At camp, as far as people getting on me, I didn’t know, I don’t pay attention to the media. I just knew what I had to do to be successful in this defense and that’s keep grinding, keep working on what I have to work on, and that’s what I did."

Robinson's turnaround began when defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz moved him from the outside, where he was struggling so badly, to the slot after the Eagles acquired Darby from the Bills two weeks into training camp.

Suddenly, Robinson looked comfortable and began making plays. And he hasn't stopped since.

"Patrick is a different kind of player, and it gives us the ability to when we have maybe a smaller, quicker guy, we can use Patrick in (the slot)," Schwartz said. "When we have a bigger, more physical guy, we can use Malcolm. He's a good complement to the other guys. He's played some good quality snaps for us outside this year, too.

"Starting in that first game when Darby went down, he went in and played some good-quality outside snaps for us. But he's really sort of taken that nickel spot and given us good consistent play there."

Although he's not technically a full-time starter — he's started eight of 15 games — Robinson has played 45 snaps per game, fifth-most on the defense and fourth-most among all the defensive backs.

He said he embraced the move from outside corner to the slot and the challenges it presented.

“It didn’t really matter to me," he said. "I just wanted to win. That’s all that mattered."

And the Eagles have won 13 of 15 games, earning the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoff bracket with a meaningless game against the Cowboys at the Linc remaining.

Playing in the slot requires a specific skill set, and Robinson has turned out to be a terrific fit.

"You definitely have to have great eyes," he said. "You have to be on point every play. Whether it’s a play-action pass or you’ve got to run out to the flat or cover the guy or if it’s a run and you have two guards coming your way and making sure you fit where you’re supposed to fit.

"And it’s a lot more physical."

At 30 years old, Robinson knows he has to take care of himself more than ever to continue playing at a high level deep into the season at such a physical position.

“Really it's just about being consistent with your body," he said. "Sometimes guys start off pretty good with their body, cold tub every day, but as the year goes along they start slacking off and get a little lazy.

"For me, I stay in the weight room, I stay in the training room, and I try to stay consistent with that."

This is the first winning team Robinson has played on since that 2011 season with the Saints, who went 13-3 and lost to the 49ers in the conference semifinals.

That makes all of this even more special.

"Absolutely," he said. "That’s the most important part of it for me. I just want to win. Everything’s a lot better when you win. I think I made the best choice. Everything’s going pretty good and I want to keep it like that."

Robinson is playing on a one-year, $775,000 deal, which is minimum wage for a player with his experience.

With Jones, Darby, Douglas and Mills all under contract for 2018, Robinson's future in Philly is uncertain.

But with his first playoff game in six years just over two weeks away, that's the last thing on his mind.

“I’m just doing my job right now," he said. "I’m not worried about that right now. When the time comes, I’ll do what I’ve got to do. It’s a business at the end of the day, and we’ll handle business at the end of the season."

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.”