Eagles Wake-Up Call: Checking In On Fletcher Cox

Fletcher CoxWhen the Eagles drafted Fletcher Cox in 2012, then-defensive line coach Jim Washburn was ecstatic.

“When God made him, he made him to be in this system right here,” Washburn said at the time.

He was of course talking about the Wide-9. Cox’s job last year was to pin his ears back and get into the backfield on every snap. On a defense that was a disaster, Cox was one of the few bright spots, finishing the year with 5.5 sacks, 24 hurries and seven tackles-for-loss.

But with the offseason changes came a new defensive scheme that now calls for Eagles defensive linemen to two-gap (All-22 explanation here) and play with discipline, rather than just attack.

“I think I’ve been doing a good job at it,” Cox said. “A lot of room for improvement. Just a lot of little things that I’m not doing right. At the end, once I get rolling, I think it’ll all come together.”

When the Eagles drafted Cox, they liked his versatility and felt he could play in a variety of schemes. While he’s been relatively quiet through the first two games, it’s not as if he’s been invisible. According to stats kept by Eagles coaches, Cox leads the team with three hurries and is one of four defenders who’s notched a sack. He also has been in on 10 tackles.

Asked if the scheme limits his ability to make plays behind the line of scrimmage, Cox said: “There are no times where I feel like I can’t be in the backfield. I feel I can be in the backfield every play.

“That right there always comes down to want-to. You never let things like schemes and all that get to you. I mean, you’ve gotta have the want-to to go make the plays no matter what kind of position they put you in.”

When the Eagles are in their sub packages, Cox turns into an interior pass-rusher. Sometimes the Eagles go with three down linemen in those situations, and other times it’s four. Cox often lines up at right defensive end in base, but has been moved over to the left side as well.

The 23-year-old figures to be one of the players the Eagles build their defense around, and he sounds confident he’ll find his way as the season goes on.

But asked if he prefers playing in a one-gap scheme to a two-gap scheme, Cox said: “Of course. Everybody wants to be in the backfield.”


T-Mac takes a look at Earl Wolff, Nate Allen and the continuity question.

Chip Kelly explains what he tells Michael Vick through the headset during games.

The second part of our game review goes position-by-position on the Eagles’ defense.

The stars are aligning for DeSean Jackson, writes McManus.


Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com looks ahead to Thursday night’s Eagles-Chiefs matchup:

The Chiefs have a pair of good CBs in Brandon Flowers and Sean Smith. However, both players are at a matchup disadvantage against DeSean Jackson. Flowers has gotten every little bit out of his less than impressive measurables, but the bottom line is that he is simply not a fast player.

Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz.com weighs in on the Colin Kaepernick/Russell Wilson rumors:

The part about focusing on Russell Wilson in the 3rd round is utterly ridiculous to me. If the Eagles made draft plans around Wilson, they would have taken him with pick 59, which they got when they moved down from 51 in a deal with the Packers. You don’t build a draft plan around a 3rd round player. If you like someone that much, you take them in the 1st or 2nd round, especially as a QB. I have a hard time believing this report as stated.


We’ll look ahead to Eagles-Chiefs and break out the All-22.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

Around The Web

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • Eoin Cunningham
    • BrickSquadMonopoly

      haha im dying!!!

  • B-West

    Anybody else catch the conference calls with Reid and Smith? Some pretty honest talk about Andy relinquishing personnel duties in KC and getting back to a focus on the field.

    Its obvious that Reid had gained far too much power toward the end of his tenure and was running the ENTIRE show. That led to some bad drafts and bad play on the field. It was just too much to do.

    Yet, fans still refuse to believe the narrative that all parties involved have basically acknowledged. None of them, Howie, Lurie, or Reid, have thrown anyone under the bus, but its pretty clear what was going on. Fans would still rather blame Howie for everything.

    Howie isn’t perfect, obviously. But if you judge his tenure from when he actually had the personnel hammer, the 2012 draft, hes been pretty good. Seemingly good talent from the 12 and 13 drafts. I know people wanted more out of free agency this last year, but I believe that was a conscience rebuilding decision. And he landed Chip!

    • knighn

      Promoting Juan Castillo to DC? There’s no question: that was all Andy.

  • Adam

    Yeah those Kaep rumors smell like BS. Harbaugh LOVED Kaep and couldn’t wait to get him on the field. Why would he turn around and look to trade him that fast?

  • knighn

    Brandon Flowers?

  • G_WallyHunter

    anybody catch that roto stat this morning?
    McCoy already has 17 forced missed tackles… AP led the league with 72 last year…
    Wow… So happy I picked him 2nd overall

    • Yup. I took him 3rd overall and djax 4th rd, caught a lot of grief then but now its all crickets ….

      • G_WallyHunter

        HAHA I hear that. got Djax in the 6th Vick in 8th, having 3 eagles on my team I had more than enough chirps coming my way… “EAGLES LOVER!!” being one.. But now I’m in 1st by over 70 pts… Don’t see those chirps anymore lol

  • skinsTROLL


  • I like Cox but he hast had any impact on defense, idk if he was worth where he got drafted,, still time tho

  • Dutch

    The name of the game in the NFL is to kill the Quarterback. If Cox doesn’t wipe out Alex Smith this week, Davis should be relieved of his responsibilities flat out. Cox was not drafted to two gap, despite what the talk is about him being versatile. Cox is the one single destructive force on the Defensive Line and this scheme is making him almost ineffective. Knowing the weakness of the Eagles defense is the back end defenders, it makes no sense not to put as much pressure on the QB as one could possibly achieve by turning your best pass rushers loose in a disciplined rush, which Curry, Graham and Cox can achieve.

    Misplaying Cox is one thing, but holding back Boykins adds to the suspicion about Davis running this defense. True it’s only been two games but that should be enough identify your strengths and weaknesses and to employ corrective measures.