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"this is one area where he really needs to emerge in 2014 if we hope to get an improved pass rush in 2014:"

Sorry, I love this work, but that part is 100% false. Cox lead the Eagles in pressure in 2013, so while he only got 3 sacks, he got far more pressure than the OLBs which is BAD for the OLBs because a DT/DE like Cox should never get more pressure than a pass rushing OLB


Thanks for the comment Anders. I can't say I agree.

It is possible that Cox lead the team in QB pressures, but my own personal review of his performance doesn't jive with the stats that might suggest he was a "productive" pass rusher.

In doing this piece, I watched every snap specifically looking for pressures, hits, hurries, etc. from Cox and the other DL. I'm sorry to say he didn't stand out on a consistent basis. Unfortunately for the Eagles, no one really did. Each player had their moments and as a collective unit, they were OK. But no one stood out as a dominant pass rusher on this team in 2013.

Cox was excellent against the run and really came a long way in that department. However, pass rushing is supposed to be Cox's strength. I think that was hindered somewhat as he had to learn a new scheme, new technique and focus on 2-gapping.

We need more from him in 2014.


Man i wish this was your full time gig. This is my fav eagles site.


One of the most unfortunate things with the current eagles roster is the lack of scheme fit for some of our young d-line. Cox, Vinny, and BG would all thrive in aggressive 4-3 schemes but I don't think they will reach their full potential in the eagles system. Having said that, Cox is talented enough that he should still be a solid starter as a 2-gapper, I just don't see him being a consistently dominant pass rusher.

Richard Bronson

A 3/4 OLB would go a long way to making life a little easier for Cox. I'm sure the Eagles know that and would like to move on from Cole. Knowing that is the easy part. Finding that player in the bottom of the first round is the trick. At least they are drafting LBs high again. Dion Jordan was rancid the other night but he is a poor scheme fit in Miami. At this point his play is so bad that a trade may be possible.



What reasons are there for not considering Brandon Graham at ILB? ... specifically as ILB depth after Ryans, Kendricks and Goode.


This is why the pre-season has always been so fascinating to me: the opportunity for player development. Cox is the obvious DL that we expect more consistency from as a pass rusher. What about Thorton? Is he maximizing his potential? Lower expectations from an undrafted free agent, but can he be expected to produce more factoring his potential and philosophy of scheme?

Agree with anon, I look forward to your posts.



You should use Disqus in your comment section. It will most likely help to increase traffic and engagement. Just a suggestion. I love your site, the information is excellent. I'm looking forward to reading your blog consistently throughout the season!

ps: here's a link for how to install Disqus on Typepad: https://disqus.com/admin/typepad/


I tend to agree with the Wagoneers that Cox has yet to show us that he's worthy of building around in this scheme. I think this year will be a big test for him, but I don't think we can blame the lack of a "true" 3-4 OLB for his inconsistency. As evidenced in the picture above vs the Cowboys, Cox definitely has the power to dominate 1v1 against guards. However, you also have to note that even when Cole ended up dropping into coverage the RB was cheating to the outside to help a universally-lauded LT in Tyron Smith. Clearly the league perception of Cole's pass rushing ability differs from the Eagles' fan consensus that he's simply not made for this scheme.

I do think you would have to consider that even in the selection of snaps above, Cox was a second year player in a new scheme being moved around the DL quite a bit. Players that dominate from an early point in their careers undoubtedly have talent, but they also generally luck into situations where their responsibilities within the scheme are limited and they are mostly asked to do the single thing at which they excel. I think what we saw with Cox last year was the result of having to throw so much at him because of the difficulty of finding personnel on our roster to fit the 'mirror' type defense Davis is going for. Hopefully he has to think less and can play faster this year now that he has some experience with the different rush lanes and gap responsibilities required of him in Davis' scheme. Ultimately I would love to have him develop into a JJ Watt-type dominant DL, but I see him somewhere between Justin Smith and Haloti Ngata as a player that is a disruptive force that creates plays that end up finished by a LB getting a sack or TFL instead of a double-digit sack total player.

You guys are always the first Eagles site I check in the morning, keep up the good work!


This was awesome. One correction though: the Curry sack against Dallas, Coke actually stunts to the inside and that's Ryan's who comes to the outside drawing the double team. I was trying to figure it out but then his shoes are the giveaway. Another trick up Billy's sleeve


Thanks for the great information. I have hopes for an improved Cox in year three. He's one of several young players on the defense who could show substantial growth.

My questions are about typical 4-3 DL. So much of the time I see comments about Cox, but other lineman too, which are along the lines of, "He wasn't drafted to be a 3-4 lineman. He's sort of wasted there and would thrive in a 4-3." The tone is often wistful towards our old 4-3. Obviously it helps to be a little larger in a 3-4 because they're covering two gaps not one. But Cox isn't really small. Is there a trait he's missing that's keeping him from being a dominant 3-4 DL? On the flip side, are there a class of lineman out there who are great at the 3-4, but don't fit the 4-3? Are there characteristics that excellent 3-4 DL have that are different than 4-3 DL?



I think Fletcher Cox is a very good 2-gap 3-4 DE. Unfortunately based on the skill set he showed in college as well as the pass rush productivity he showed in his rookie year, he's raised expectations and we expect more from a pass rushing perspective.

I can't say enough about his run defense and his transition and commitment to 2-gapping. 2-gapping requires engaging and holding blocks, protecting 2 gaps and keeping LBs free to make plays. That technique is not amenable to big sack numbers. Of course Cox is not always one-gapping but he is attacking much, much less than he did, for example, in the wide 9. JJ Watt for example played in a one-gap 3-4 with Wade Phillips. Big difference.

Cox is still young and only entering year 3. I expect big things this year. Hopefully he can really emerge. It would make a world of difference for this defense.

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