The Eagles defensive line has a nickname for their unit. Self-awarded nicknames typically come off as pretentious, but that's not the case in this scenario. So what do they call themselves?
"The Nobodies," said Fletcher Cox, in an interview on Wednesday. "Tweet that out. That's who we are. The Nobodies."
Philadelphia's defensive line clearly feels they deserve a little more respect. This much was seen in the week leading up to the first Eagles-Cowboys game this season. Nose tackle Bennie Logan made a comment that caught everyone's attention when he said the Dallas offensive line wasn't anything special. Some took Logan's comments as a form of trash talk against the Cowboys, but perhaps he was just trying to suggest the Eagles defensive line doesn't get enough credit for how well they have played.
Leading Philadelphia's young and talented defensive line is third-year player Fletcher Cox. The former first round draft pick makes an impact that goes beyond traditional statistics. He's a special player. According to Pro Football Focus, over the past five weeks no 3-4 defensive end (including J.J. Watt, who is the best defensive player in the NFL) has graded better than Fletcher Cox (+23.8).
Cox, who turns 24 this weekend, is finally getting some of the recognition he's due (well, to an extent). The praise comes from a qualified expert, too: Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
"I think he deserves to go to the Pro Bowl this year," Romo said during a Wednesday conference call. "As good as they are on offense, he’s really elevated that defense."
Romo speaks from firsthand experience. The Eagles' defensive line dominated the Cowboys in trenches in Philadelphia's 33-10 victory on Thanksgiving. Cox sacked Romo once and also recorded three hurries to go with a number of run stops.
This time around Romo might not go down so easily as he did in the first meeting between these two teams, so Philadelphia's front seven will have to show up really strong yet again. It's up to Cox to make a big impact in a very important game.