Fletcher Cox has been an absolute force for the Eagles’ defensive line in their 2014 campaign. Against the Seahawks, he recorded 11 tackles and three quarterback hurries earning him a ProFootballFocus grade of +6.4 of which 6.2 came from his run defense score. These plays will break down Cox’s trench control and ability to shed blocks in pursuit of the Seahawks’ runningbacks.
Here is a breakdown of defensive techniques that will be used for this analysis:
Situation: 2nd and 10 at PHI 31
Description: Q2 – (3:58) R.Turbin left end to PHI 32 for -1 yards (F.Cox).
Cox lines up in the 1-tech position. His run responsibility is the right A-gap between the center and the left guard. The Seahawks are in I-formation running a RB Dive, which is a running play where the RB follows the FB through the hole between the C and the LG.
Immdediately after the snap, Cox bullrushes the center and gets penetration into the backfield. Turbin sees Cox and bounces outside, but him and ROLB55 Graham chase him down for the 1 yard loss.
Great play by Cox. The center needs to be quicker on his feet to get better body positioning on him in order to block this in the future.
Situation: 1st and 10 at SEA 30
Description: Q3 – (5:54) M.Lynch right tackle to SEA 30 for no gain (F.Cox).
Cox lines up in the 5-tech position. The Eagles have 8 men in the box, expecting a run on 1st and 10. The Seahawks run from the offset-I formation FB lead pulling the LG across the formation to block the edge defender.
Lynch takes the handoff and reads the line for any potential holes or if there is a breakdown in the protection.
Lynch sees LG77 Carpenter blocking his man from the inside, so he cuts up into the hole for Cox to tackle him from the backside.
This play is a great run stop by Cox due to his ability to use his speed to rush through the open hole left by the LG and avoid the block by the shifting C71 Jeanpierre who attempts to hook him with his left arm. Jeanpierre needs to a better job of shedding his block to pick up the rusher through the gap created by the pulling LG.
Here are a few more plays of Cox dominating the line of scrimmage in the run game in plays 7, 9, and 18:
Play 7 – In 5-tech he sheds the block of LG77 Carpenter to help bring down Lynch for a short gain on the play.
Play 9 – In 5-tech he sheds the block by LT76 Okung to tackle Lynch for a short gain.
Play 18 – Cox in the 3-tech position sheds the block of LG77 Carpenter to bring down Lynch for another short gain on the play.
Not only was Cox dominant in run defense versus Seattle, he was solid in pass rushing.
Situation: 3rd and 15 at SEA 45
Description: Q2 – (:28) (Shotgun) R.Wilson pass deep left to P.Richardson to PHI 35 for 20 yards (N.Allen).
Cox lines up in the 5-tech position and pass rushes with Reggie White’s “hump” move. He takes a hard step up field towards RT68 Britt. He then fakes the rip move outside into the C-gap.
Cox then throws RT Britt out of the way with his inside arm and steps into the B-gap to rush Wilson.
Cox disrupts Wilson’s progressions and he has to scramble out of the way to avoid the sack. He dives at Wilson’s feet.
Really this play is testament to how great Wilson is at avoiding the pass rush and then resetting his feet to find the downfield receivers. For any other quarterback this should have been a sack.
Here are a couple more pass rushing plays where Cox makes an impact in plays 2 and 14:
Play 2 – He lines up in the 5-tech and just powers his way into the backfield with a bullrush on the inside of LT76 Okung causing the QB hurry. Another great escape by Wilson out of the pocket.
Play 14– Cox lines up in the 3-tech position and shows a nice spin move to the inside to rush Wilson. If there wasn’t a breakdown in coverage this would have been a very quick disruption for him.
Overall, he put on an epic display of trench control showing power and surprising quickness. It’s very good news for Eagles’ fans seeing as Cox’s biggest negative trait was his ability to play run defense. They should be pleased with how well he’s progressing in that category.