Well, it’s mid-May and it looks like the chances of the Eagles holding OTAs have come and gone. As we wait for some on-field activity at the NovaCare Complex, Fletcher Cox spoke with the media on Tuesday about the team’s defensive line additions, the odd offseason implications, and his leadership role.
Here’s what Cox had to say:
On the defensive line additions
With such a loaded d-line after many offseason additions, Cox said that the most important thing will be everybody staying healthy, playing the whole season, and playing strong.
“I’m more excited about getting everybody together as a group.”
Cox was asked about Javon Hargrave, and he’s heard nothing but good things. The two have spoken a few times, and Hargrave is excited to get to Philly and get in the building and around the guys and fans.
Cox was also asked about Hassan Ridgeway and Anthony Rush, specifically. He was impressed with the two guys learning a whole new system.
“They came in and they were ready to learn each and every day.”
He said that going from a 2-gap scheme to an attack scheme is really different and takes time, but Cox thinks they did a really good job with that.
With the added depth at the defensive tackle position, Cox said he still anticipates he’ll be on the field during third downs, and doesn’t think his role will change. But, if he ever need to catch his breath, it’s good to have guys that can rush.
Later, Cox talked about the defense as a whole, and said he just has to trust the guys upstairs to put together the best group of players — something he notes has never been a problem in his 8 years in Philadelphia. They just have to go out and play team defense, and he’s excited for the potential of this group.
On the virtual offseason
“It’s been weird, but at the same time we have to make things happen.”
Cox talked about how the virtual offseason is taking some getting used to, especially calling in and remembering to call in, but they’re all there to get better.
He admitted he’s in a really good situation and has a full gym at his home in Texas, with pretty much all the equipment he could need — and it’s a place that he can push and pull sleds. Other guys are doing a lot of body weight stuff and creating new ways to get themselves in shape. Cox even recommended guys take their car to a flat parking lot and push, they just have to get creative.
On getting back on the field
“You just got to assume it’s going to work out.”
Cox is only worried about what he can control, so he’s not looking too closely at when they’ll be getting back at the NovaCare Complex or on the field at The Linc. He said they’ll be fine as long as guys are working out and staying on their diet, and making sure they’re not coming back out of shape — which he noted he’s not worried about being an issue.
It’ll come down to the new guys coming in and getting them used to the culture and scheme. Cox said they’ll be real cautious about getting back in the building, especially having so many players and coaches in the locker room at one time.
“Our health is a priority.”
As for what it might be like playing in a stadium without fans, Cox admitted it’ll be real different. But, they have to understand that health is a priority, and if they have to play a game without fans, it’ll be something they have to get used to.
“It’ll be weird, for sure.”
On Darius Slay
Cox spoke with Slay about coming to Philadelphia and is excited for the cornerback to join the defense. They played college football together so they have a relationship, and even took their official visit to Mississippi State together, so they go way back.
“If you want to win, come to Philly.”
He explained that Slay brings a certain swagger to his position and the locker room and is a leader.
“Darius will be real good for us.”
On his leadership role
With Malcolm Jenkins and Nigel Bradham no longer on the team, Cox was asked about his role as a leader.
“Just have to continue raising the bar for myself.”
Cox had great things to say about Jenkins, but he understands it’s a business. He just has to keep raising the bar, and he’s there for the guys if they need him. Cox said he’s not a big rah-rah guy, but he likes to lead by example.
He also said, “It means a lot” to be named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team, and appreciated his coaches and teammates to help him get there.