Eagles Film Review: Despite numbers, Fletcher Cox disruptive vs. Falcons

Eagles Film Review: Despite numbers, Fletcher Cox disruptive vs. Falcons

For the fifth straight game on Sunday, Fletcher Cox didn't record a sack. 

If you were to just look at his lack of sack numbers, it would be easy to draw the conclusion that the veteran who signed a contract worth $64 million guaranteed this offseason isn't living up to the deal. 

Despite not sacking the quarterback on Sunday, Cox was extremely disruptive against the Falcons. 

He finished the game with one QB hit, but had six hurries that either set up his teammates or affected Matt Ryan. Cox faced double-teams for a lot of the game, but when he got 1-on-1s, he did his damage. 

Here's a look at Cox's disruptiveness from Sunday: 

On this first play, with 3:25 left in the first quarter, Cox is lined up on right guard Chris Chester, who had a tough afternoon against the Pro Bowler. This was a key 3rd-and-11 from the Atlanta 25-yard line. 

Nothing too special from Cox on this play. Cox goes wide and Chester tries to get him wider, but Cox is too strong. He collapses the pocket and forces Ryan to throw somewhat off his back foot. Ryan is able to complete an 8-yard pass to Mohamed Sanu, but Malcolm Jenkins tackles him short of the sticks. 

This next play comes with 1:27 left in the first half. The Falcons just got the ball back at the Eagles' 42-yard line following a Carson Wentz fumble. Cox is again lined up against Chester, with Brandon Graham to his left. 

Cox uses his hands and makes a move inside, which gives him a clear path to Ryan. Eventually, Chester is able to get enough of a block on Cox to make sure he doesn't sack the quarterback, but the damage on this play is done. The pocket is gone and Ryan has to try to step up to avoid the pressure. 

Graham gets credit for the six-yard sack, but it was Cox who forced the pressure. This sack was huge because three plays later, Matt Bryant missed a 53-yard field goal. 

This next play comes in the fourth quarter. The Falcons already have the lead, so the Eagles need to hold them. (They do and then take the lead back on the ensuing drive.)

The Falcons show a sweep to the left, but it's a play action. 

Off the play action, Ryan has what looks to be a huge pocket. But Cox is about to absolutely wreck it. Still working 1-on-1 against Chester, he moves the 300-pound lineman out of the way and gets his quarterback hit on Ryan. Incomplete pass. 

Here's a video to prove just how strong Cox can be: 

Two plays later, Cox shows off his quickness. Cox is again lined up against Chester, but he doesn't stay that way. 

Cox works to his right and is so quick, left guard Andy Levitre doesn't see him until he's already past him. In an effort to avoid the rush, Ryan quickly delivers a pass that falls incomplete. 

Most of the pressure that Cox generated on Sunday came from 1-on-1s, but he was doubled for much of the afternoon. When he was, his teammates were able to sometimes take advantage of their 1-on-1s. 

The bottom line is this: Cox might not have the numbers, but he's still playing at a high level. We'll leave you with a reminder of just how often Cox gets doubled: 

Yeah, he's still good. 

Brandon Brooks restructuring deal for Nick Foles a 'no-brainer'

Brandon Brooks restructuring deal for Nick Foles a 'no-brainer'

A few days ago, the Eagles and Nick Foles agreed to rework his contract.

The restructured deal included a $2 million signing bonus and incentives based on whether Foles starts and reaches certain goals, plus a mutual option for 2019 (see story). Monday, it became clearer how the Eagles were able to get Foles more money up front when Pro Bowl offensive guard Brandon Brooks tweeted this:

Brooks restructured his current deal last Friday to help out his quarterback (see story)

NBC Sports Philadelphia had Brooks and RT Lane Johnson on Quick Slants Monday. Brooks had this to say about the restructure and his tweet:

Whenever it comes to a restructure, I just wanted to throw it out there — one, to clarify as far as exactly what happened and then two, probably the most important thing is look at what Nick did. I literally did whatever it took to get him extra money. I mean, everything he’s done for us as a team, for us as a city. The Super Bowl MVP. You know, going out there, launching that thing every week. The leader he is. The high character guy he is. And when they approached me about it, it was kind of like, 'Nah,' but then after understanding it was for Nick Foles, then I said, 'Without question, let’s go ahead and get it done.' He deserves it, he brought the first championship to the city, so it was a no-brainer, without question for me.

Brooks' close friend and linemate Johnson added:

The man was thrown into the fire and came out on top. I mean, he was really thrown into a tough situation and only had two weeks the last part of the season to kind of get in a rhythm, and you know how those games went. The guy went out there and delivered. I’m just so proud of him. It couldn’t have happened to a better guy. We’re all happy for him.

As it gets closer to the 2018 NFL draft, the rumors continue to swirl that Foles could be traded. If it happens, a number of his teammates have told me Foles deserves his own team.

Will Foles be in Eagles green come September? Only time will tell, but whether he’s here or elsewhere, Foles will always have the respect and admiration from a group of guys who completed a magical season.

Eagles in contact with the White House about possible visit

AP Images

Eagles in contact with the White House about possible visit

After winning Super Bowl LI, the Patriots visited the White House on April 19, 2017. 

You might have noticed that April 19 has come and gone this year and there hasn’t been much talk of the Super Bowl champion Eagles visiting the relatively new home of President Donald Trump. 

But on Monday, the New York Times reported that discussions about a possible Eagles trip to the White House have begun.

The Eagles confirmed that report with the following in a statement: “We have been in contact with White House representatives and are currently discussing the logistics of an upcoming visit to Washington. We are honored to receive this invitation and view this not only as an opportunity to be recognized for our on-field achievements, but also as an opportunity to engage in productive dialogue with the leaders of our country."

This is the first time the Eagles have publicly spoken about a trip to the White House and the first time they’ve revealed they have been invited. When asked about the possible trip last month at the annual league meetings, Eagles owner Jeff Lurie didn’t seem very eager to speak about the topic. 

“We just won the Super Bowl,” Lurie said in Orlando last month. “I haven’t had any of those discussions. I have no idea. It’s just … I haven’t had those discussions.” 

The idea that the visit to the White House could be an opportunity for dialogue is an interesting one. Normally, these things are pretty much photo opportunities, but perhaps that’s part of the discussion. 

As you might guess, an Eagles trip to the White House is a pretty tricky trip to figure out. 

The Eagles have several players — Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, Torrey Smith — who have already said publicly that they wouldn’t attend. And last year when the Patriots won, Long and LeGarrette Blount were not among the group that went. Aside from that, Lurie, who donated money to Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign, is considered one of the more liberal owners in the league. 

“We have been in conversations with the Eagles about timing and are working with them to make it happen,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, via the New York Times. “We hope to have something finalized in the next couple of weeks.”

According to the New York Times story, Lurie had strong criticism for Trump at a private league meeting last October as owners, players and executives met weeks after Trump scolded the NFL and players, which brought more league-wide protesting during the national anthem. During those meetings, Lurie described Trump’s presidency as “disastrous” and reportedly used a vulgarity to emphasize that opinion. 

This is not the first time an Eagle has had harsh words for Trump. Last September, Jenkins said Trump was “no different than a troll on social media.” 

The Eagles are the first Super Bowl-winning team after Trump’s attacks on the league and its players who had chosen to demonstrate during the national anthem. Last September, Trump said, “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’”

The week after Trump made those comments, protests became more wide-spread throughout the league, with entire teams demonstrating and showing unity. The Eagles — players, coaches and executives, including Lurie — locked arms as the Star-Spangled Banner was performed.