Film Review: Fletcher Cox enjoying renaissance year in Jonathan Gannon’s new scheme
Fletcher Cox has been on a tear to open the 2022 season. The 11-year cornerstone of the Eagles’ defensive line is on pace for a career year similar to the one he had in 2018.
Through four weeks, Fletcher Cox ranks as a top-five interior defensive lineman in the NFL. He set his career-highs for sacks (10.5), QB hits (25), and pressures (101) back in 2018 and seems to be on pace to at least match those numbers.
Typically, the 2012 12th overall pick operates on the interior of the defensive line, lining up over a guard or in the B gap. Last season, Fletcher Cox played 48.18% of his snaps as a DLT (left defensive tackle) and 39.1% at left end, mainly shadowing the right tackle. This season, with Jonathan Gannon imploring five-person fronts and utilizing Jordan Davis at nose guard, Fletcher Cox has lined up at left end 50.7% of his snaps and 44% at DLT.
Not only has the defensive captain excelled in his pass rush duties this year, but he remains a brick wall against double teams in the run game. Against Minnesota, Fletcher Cox eats this attempted double block and pursues Dalvin Cook down the line. Later, Cox utilizes his matchup against right tackle Brian O’Neill to get a QB hit and sack-fumble on Kirk Cousins.
In the sack-fest against Washington, Fletch bullied backup center Wes Schweitzer for a half sack and then bulldozed guard Trai Turner to plant Carson Wentz into the turf.
Against his old coach Doug Pederson and the Jacksonville Jaguars, Fletcher Cox totaled four pressures (one QB hit and two hurries) and made plays on the ball fighting through double teams all day long.
Interestingly enough, Fletcher Cox has never been 4-0 playing football in his entire life. Not in his high school days playing for Yazoo City or in college at Mississippi State. The six-time Pro Bowler told PhillyVoice,
“The good thing about being 4-0 is now we have to try and go 5-0, you get a target on your back, we are the only undefeated team, the next opponent will be juiced up and ready to play, but the biggest thing right now is to still continue to build each and every week, hold each other accountable and play as a team.”
That 1-0 mentality every week rings true throughout the Eagles locker room as they look to keep their winning streak going next week against the struggling Arizona Cardinals and their weak offensive line.
Photo Credit: Kate Frese/PhillyVoice