Fletcher Cox by all accounts had a good rookie season with the Philadelphia Eagles.
As a player who is asked to plug the middle of the defense, play defensive tackle and learn a new system after being a standout at Mississippi State, the world of football changed for Cox when he moved on to the NFL.
Let’s just say he adapted nicely.
Five and a half sacks and speed to burn, plus a 6’4”, 300-pound frame tells you he is massive body to move around and regardless of whether he is a second-year player still getting his feet wet, moving that much muscle is still hard to do, as opposing offensive linemen have found out.
This year could be a great season for Cox, in the mold of other former Eagles defensive linemen who dominated the NFC and NFL at times.
And while accolades are great, but performance is even better, Cox was named to ESPN’s Mel Kiper’s 2012 All Rookie Team.
“As he got more comfortable, the first-rounder out of Mississippi State became a lot more disruptive.”
Those are words to live by for a defender, ones that allow him to build on a good first season, have a great second season and beyond.
The Eagles' defense is still going through the motions of learning a new system, learning to play with new starters and adjusting to life after Andy Reid. Those aren’t excuses, just mere facts. The addition of Connor Barwin to the mix and the switch from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 scheme is not simply and players like Barwin and Cox will need time to adjust.
The game last week against New England, the first of the preseason, should not be a barometer of the team’s outlook for 2013.
However, with young players on the team like Cox who are ready to take their game to the next level, there is hope again that an Eagles team that was one of the worst in the league last season will rise to the levels of standards this franchise is used to.
And with improvements on both sides of the ball, a new defensive scheme in place and health for key players, Cox and his teammates could be a surprise to everyone this season.