Bill Belichick heaps praise upon Fletcher Cox

USA Today Images

Bill Belichick heaps praise upon Fletcher Cox

It took a while for Fletcher Cox to finally get the respect he deserves in the NFL, but once it started coming, it hasn't stopped. 

He's now been to three consecutive Pro Bowls and picked up a $100 million contract in the process. In these playoffs, he's elevated his game even more. He's played an increasing number of snaps and has become even more of a disruptive force. 

The Patriots have taken notice. 

"Cox is as good as anybody in the league at his position," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said to New England reporters Wednesday. "He's a very disruptive player. Hard to block, run, pass, no matter what it is."

It's not uncommon for Belichick to praise his upcoming opponents, but he's certainly someone who knows a ton about defense and great players. He's a defensive-minded coach who has turned into arguably the best NFL coach of all time. 

Belichick is going for his sixth Super Bowl ring in a week and a half.  

"It's respect. And you know it's just a lot of respect from a coach like Belichick, man," Cox said. "A guys that's been around, a guy that's seen a lot of great players in this league. For him to say that that means I must be doing something right. But at the same time, I got three other guys beside me that's helping me push that limit, that's helping me get that recognition. I also want to do the same thing for those guys."

About those other guys, Belichick was pretty complimentary of them too. 

Jim Schwartz and defensive line coach Chris Wilson have rotated defensive linemen all season. While the rotation leveled off some in the first two playoff games, they still rotate guys in and out. Belichick was asked about the Eagles' dominant front four Wednesday. 

"Yeah, it's a lot more than four. I wish it was just four," Belichick said. "Yeah, it's about eight, nine. Again, it's a very disruptive group. They're hard to run against, hard to throw against. Again, they're well coached, very instinctive. Screens and plays like that that you think will take the edge off the pass rush don't look as good. When you run them they don't look as good as what you think they're going to look like — draws, screens, things like that, play action. A lot of times they blow those plays up, too. They do a good job. They've got a lot of good players. They have good inside rushers. They have good outside rushers."

At different times this season, the Eagles have used 10 defensive linemen: the starting four of Cox, Tim Jernigan, Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham and the second line of Chris Long, Derek Barnett, Beau Allen and Destiny Vaeao. Even Elijah Qualls and Steven Means have seen action. 

Cox played 90 percent of the Eagles' snaps against the Falcons and probably would have played nearly that many against the Vikings had the game not been a blowout. That's a lot more than the regular season, but even he sees the importance of the rotation. 

"Coach (Chris) Wilson trusts everybody, Coach Jim (Schwartz) trusts everybody," Cox said. "For them to be able to rotate those guys in and you not to see a dramatic drop-off, it's great. Because not every guy can play every snap. I mean, I try to, but it's hard to sometimes. You're going to miss five or six plays here and there. To roll in that many guys and not see a drop-off, everybody is getting the same game plan. We're pushing those guys to be on the same level as us."

Former GM would demand king's ransom for Nick Foles

Former GM would demand king's ransom for Nick Foles

The Super Bowl champion Eagles face a multitude of tough decisions this offseason. 

The toughest is what to do with Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles. With franchise QB Carson Wentz recovering from a serious knee injury, the situation becomes more complicated.

Longtime NFL executive and current ESPN analyst Bill Polian essentially thinks Foles is untouchable.

Two first-round and two second-round picks would be a doozy of an offer for a quarterback who has one year left under contract. But that speaks to how highly Polian values Foles and the idea of having a top-notch backup QB on a contending team.

Former Eagles LB turned TV host Dhani Jones is in the same boat as Polian, saying he believes that Foles should be the starter, even if Wentz is healthy by Week 1.

Check out Jones' opinion in the video above.

Key staff member of 19 years leaves Eagles

USA Today Images

Key staff member of 19 years leaves Eagles

While the Eagles have been figuring out their new-look coaching staff, one of the more important people in the NovaCare Complex is leaving.

Head athletic trainer Chris Peduzzi announced on Tuesday that he is stepping down from his role with the team.

"We thank Chris for his contributions over the last 19 seasons and we wish him and his family all the best," the Eagles said in a statement.

Peduzzi took over as head trainer after Rick Burkholder went to Kansas City with Andy Reid in 2013. But Peduzzi had been with the Eagles in some capacity since 1999, when he joined the franchise as an assistant trainer.

“It has been an honor and a blessing to be part of this organization for the past 19 seasons,” Peduzzi said in a statement released by the Eagles. “I especially want to thank Mr. Lurie for his faith in me to care for the health of his players. I never took that lightly. I also want to thank Coach Pederson and Howie Roseman for the opportunity. I have had the pleasure of working alongside so many great people, from my staff and co-workers to our coaches and of course the players. More than anything, I am going to miss those daily interactions.

"However, I do believe the time is right for me and for my family to step away and take some time off. This was not an easy decision, but one that I have put much thought into and I appreciate the organization’s support and wish them all the best in the future. I am so proud of what we have been able to achieve together. To bring the Lombardi Trophy to Philadelphia this year was an amazing experience and I believe we have built a strong foundation that the team can continue to build on for years to come.”