Does anybody honestly believe Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox decided to take the play off on 4th-and-1 against the Saints? That one of the hardest-working players in the NFL was giving anything less than 100 percent on every snap during a divisional playoff game in which he twice returned from injury?
Apparently, yes. In fact, that’s exactly what the show “NFL Turning Point” purports happened.
Never mind the Eagles were fully aware a fake punt was on the way, which is why Cox and the starting defense were on the field in the first place. Using game film from the previous week’s contest against the Bears, which appears to show Cox reacting “passively” off the snap, “Turning Point” determined the Saints exploited the four-time Pro Bowler.
A full video was originally posted on the New Orleans Saints official Facebook page, but this clip made the rounds on Twitter.
Never take plays off.— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) January 17, 2019
👀 Incredible video:
On one of the biggest plays of the game, the Saints WANTED to run a fake punt into the Eagles *regular defense* because they knew Fletcher Cox was going to play passively from film study. They ran right at him & converted the 1st down. pic.twitter.com/DhlWD8Yt9Q
A few things.
• What “Turning Point” fails to mention is Cox was literally triple-teamed on the play in question, and he still almost managed to stuff the ball carrier in the backfield. Whatever the Saints were anticipating, clearly it wasn’t a lack of effort.
• Only one of the three “defense stay” or punt safe looks the Eagles utilized against the Bears was on 4th-and-1, where a fake was less likely given the opponent and situation (third quarter of a low-scoring, four-point game). Furthermore, Cox isn’t the only player reacting “passively,” indicating this was by design.
• Which is not to say Cox did react passively, either. The Saints may have got the better jump, but we’re talking about a fraction of a second between the snap of the ball and first contact.
• The Saints ran the exact same fake punt earlier this season. They run all sorts of fakes with gadget player Taysom Hill. This isn’t something they just did to Cox.
• Again, the Eagles were fully aware the fake was coming. Doug Pederson said so. Players said so. It stands to reason if everybody knew and the entire team was on high alert, Cox wouldn’t have chosen this moment in the game to relax.
Did the Saints identify a weakness in the Eagles’ punt safe look? Even this is up for some debate, as Hill doesn’t get the first down without the second effort. The reality is it was a difficult play to stop.
Whatever the Saints saw, though, it wasn’t Cox loafing. Anybody who’s watched the man play ought to know that.
Cox caught wind of the story going around Wednesday and took to Twitter to respond to the controversy.
All y’all some clowns if you ever catch me not going 100% then call me out matter facts it’s the exact play I got hurt on!!!!!! Don’t @ me anymore about y’all problems https://t.co/1wElsJMSNW— fletcher cox (@fcoxx_91) January 17, 2019
Curious response, seeing as clowns do think they caught Cox not going 100 percent then called him out on it. Then again, when you have his track record on the football field, you really shouldn’t have to defend against this type of nonsense.
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