One thing lost in the Eagles’ massive 31-6 win over the Jets was the play of Fletcher Cox. The hulking defensive tackle was a sneaky contributor both in stopping the run and getting to the quarterback.
On first glance, it sure didn’t seem that way. Cox finished with zero sacks and he’s still stuck on a goose egg for the season. However, it was what the All-Pro did with his snaps — the little things that don’t fill up the box score — that proved why he’s arguably the best at his position.
It was his intimidating bull-rush that overpowered guard Brian Winters and led to a Rodney McLeod interception. Later, Cox anticipated a run and jumped into the backfield on a wham play to tackle LeVeon Bell for a loss behind the line of scrimmage.
“I’m not a big stats guy. It’s about stopping drives. It’s about winning games and limiting scoring and things like that,” Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “Rodney’s interception was all Fletch. Fletch had everything. I would much rather have the interception there than the sack. All due respect to Fletch. I know he would rather have the sack.”
Perhaps his biggest highlight-reel play came on Josh Sweat’s sack when Cox pushed Winters into the quarterback and allowed Sweat to bring pressure off the edge on the other side. Dominant game all around.
“But I said before, being around the quarterback causes a high percentage of takeaways, and you saw that,” Schwartz said. “We just talked about Josh Sweat. His sack was Fletch disrupted the quarterback, stepped up, and Josh came off his block and was able to make the sack.”
Eagles Brought the House versus Jets
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has never been shy about bringing the blitz. He did it early and often against the Jets — and then late and often to make sure his defense didn’t relinquish the lead.
How many times did the Eagles blitz the Jets? Well, it all depends on whom you ask. One reporter counted 16 blitzes, while Eagles film study guru Fran Duffy put the final tally at 26 out of 53 offensive plays. Either way, it was a blood bath — Red Wedding style.
“I don’t count them. You guys count them. I don’t,” Schwartz said. “We just do what sort of the game plan entails and what it takes to win the game. Every game is a little bit different. I thought the guys did a good job of executing the call that was made.”
Brandon Graham, who accounted for three of those 10 total sacks, was unstoppable. The Eagles decided to move him around the defensive line, utilizing the defensive end mainly as an interior pass-rusher on third down. The results were tough to argue.
“BG was really a great tone-setter for us when it came to that, whether he was outside or inside for us,” Schwartz said. “Matchups had a lot to do with it.”
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