Eagles

Cox eager to prove he’s still a top DT after missing Pro Bowl

Eagles

Fletcher Cox on Tuesday night had his best game of the 2021 season, completely wrecking Washington’s offensive line in the Eagles’ 27-17 win.

On Wednesday night, he found out he didn’t make the Pro Bowl.

That broke a streak of six consecutive Pro Bowls for Cox, meaning he fell just shy of Reggie White’s franchise record of seven.

Of course, that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Cox hasn’t had a very productive year. Before Tuesday’s two-sack performance, Cox had just one sack in his first 13 games this season.

“I know I can still play at that level,” Cox said on Thursday afternoon. “Obviously, didn’t have the numbers this year. It’s been up and down for me. I kind of expected it. All I can do is go out and finish this season strong. I still know I’m one of the best D-tackles in the league. I’m not salty about it at all.”

Cox, 31, said he was happy for the players that did make the Pro Bowl team. The Eagles had two: Jason Kelce and Darius Slay. And he’s also happy for Javon Hargrave, who might have been a snub but was named an alternate.

Last week, Cox spoke about the importance of the Month of December. It’s usually when he shines. He has more sacks in December than any other month and by a wide margin.

 

And if Cox plays like he did on Tuesday for the rest of the season, he can help the Eagles rally their way into a playoff spot.

“Played his ass off,” defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon said. “I mean, he affected the game for us and he doesn't know this, but he's going to get Player Of The Game. He's in the quarterback's lap all day long, he got the sack into the two minute, had a couple hits on the quarterback, played extremely well in the run game.

“He really affected the game for us. As I like to call it, you guys have heard me say it, he train-wrecked the game.”

Sure, Washington had some backups playing on Tuesday, but Cox was dominant.

Earlier in the season, Cox didn’t hide his frustration about the way he was being used in Gannon’s defense. He voiced that frustration publicly, but conceded that he would just need to suck it up and do whatever the coaching staff asked of him.

In recent weeks, Cox’s production has begun to pick up. It definitely seems like he and Gannon have come to a much better understanding and their relationship has grown.

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That was very evident on Tuesday, when 25 of his 40 snaps came on the edge. Earlier in the season, Cox seemed bothered when asked about his playing in different roles. This week, he seemed excited about it.

“Last week, he came to me on the sideline and asked me about it,” Cox said. “I said I don’t mind moving out there and give it a change up. Had a couple good rushes out there. Just enjoying it, being out there and being moved around a bit from the left side, especially being on the outside. It’s a good thing. Good communication with him and he’s just letting the boys up front eat.”

When his career is over, Cox will be regarded as one of the best defensive players in Eagles history but it is pretty clear his level of play has declined in recent seasons, which is to be expected. But it can also be frustrating for fans, who know he’s the Eagles’ highest paid player.

Still, Cox has a chance to put a mostly disappointing season behind him with a solid stretch run. That got off to a good start on Tuesday.

As for the Pro Bowl?

 

“I know I can continue to get better,” Cox said, “and I’ll be back next year.”