Malcolm Jenkins' message to young Eagles

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Malcolm Jenkins' message to young Eagles

Malcolm Jenkins knows what his young teammates are going to experience Saturday.

He knows they're all dying to make a huge play. To win the game. To be Superman.

He's been there himself. And his message to them is to suppress that desire and just go play football the way you have all year.

“It’s something I struggled with as a young player, going out there and wanting to make one of those big plays," Jenkins said this week.

"You watch the games last weekend and see the (Marcus) Mariota play and (Jalen) Ramsey and his interception and you think, 'I want to make those plays.' But in all actuality, you have to put yourself in position to make those plays and the way you do that is the basics. 

"It's good technique, it’s eye discipline, it’s tackling, it’s being around the ball, it’s communicating, and those plays come. The differences in these games are usually the mistakes. Missing a field goal, penalties, not doing your assignment, blowing a coverage, missing tackles. 

"These games usually come down to who makes the most mistakes or who makes the last mistake, and it’s been important for us to keep relaying to the guys, especially the young guys, that it’s the same game. 

"The things that win football games in the preseason are the same things that win games in the postseason. Taking away the football. Running the ball. Stopping the run. The energy’s going to be there because we have our backs against the wall, it’s win or go home, so the energy’s going to be there regardless. But we’ve got to focus on the small things."

More than half the players on the Eagles' active roster — 29 of 53 players —  have never dressed for a playoff game. Only four of today's projected starters has played in more than two postseason games. 

This team has a handful of playoff savvy guys —  Jenkins, LeGarrette Blount, Corey Graham, Brent Celek —  but it's largely a young, inexperienced team.

“It took me till my … what year was it … probably till my fifth year to kind of really figure it out," Jenkins said. 

"My rookie year I was just out there. I didn’t even have time to even know anything about the game. That was 2009, just out there doing my own thing. In 2010 I was hurt and missed the playoffs. In 2011 we played the Lions at home and it was my first time starting in the playoffs and I played terrible. I played horrible. 

"Followed it up the next week and played OK in San Francisco, but I watch those two games and it was like I wasn’t doing any of the small things right. Wasn’t focusing on technique, my eye placement wasn’t in the right place, I wasn’t tackling with my arms, and it hurt me. 

"The next opportunity I got was in 2013 and I played significantly better. I wasn’t trying to make plays, I was just making the ones that came. Played solid ball and had more success. It took me a while to learn that lesson, but it’s important."

So that's been Jenkins' strongest message this week to the rookies, the guys without playoff experience.

There's more at stake today when the Eagles face the Falcons at the Linc with a berth in the NFC Championship Game up for grabs. 

But in the end, it's just another football game. Treat it that way.

“It’s something you can tell them and it goes into the way you practice," he said. "'Hey, it’s the same game, man. If you weren’t excited three weeks ago when we played the Raiders in the same fashion, then there’s something wrong.'

"It’s the same game. Every win matters. Every game matters. Obviously what’s on the other end of this either hurts a lot more or feels a lot better but at the end of the day it’s the same game, so we’re preparing to win and we don’t need to do anything out of the norm, we don’t need to freak out or get over-excited. Just focus on the small things. 

"Nobody needs to be Superman. We haven’t had any Supermen all year. Except Carson sometimes. But everybody else has just done their job and it’s been enough. We’ve won as a team and that’s the formula for us to win moving forward."

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.”