It’s been 12 years since the Eagles last beat the Seahawks. They have lost by a combined score of 113-71 over a six-game losing streak. Fletcher Cox is personally 0-4 against Seattle during his Philly tenure. It’s not a good stat, one he and the defensive line hope to change on Monday night by setting an intimidating, physical tone upfront.
Cox, one of eight team captains, is an undisputed leader in the Eagles’ locker room. While the All-Pro defensive tackle isn’t a rah-rah guy, he leads with his example on the field. Cox will make a key strip-sack or he’ll grab teammates in practice and let them know to stop messing around. It’s time to snap this embarrassing losing streak.
“I think 0-4 against the Seahawks in my entire career, that’s not a good feeling, nothing to brag on,” Cox told reporters on Wednesday. “The biggest thing for this team right now is just to get on track. We know we’re going up against a really good football team. They got some playmakers on that offense and we’re just looking at stopping them and slowing them down, and just go out and be physical. Make it an attitude game, you know.”
The 29-year-old has been coming on strong down the stretch, including sacks in three straight games and a big forced fumble last week. He has 4.5 sacks this season and seven quarterback hits, along with 24 total tackles (seven for loss). Cox doesn’t think he’s been good enough.
“I can do everything better. I can be more disruptive. I can split double teams better,” Cox said. “There’s so many things that one person — I grab BG [Brandon Graham] and get him going — obviously, this team goes how the defensive line goes, this defense goes how the defensive line goes. We get everybody playing at the highest level upfront and everybody feeds off of us.”
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Forget Last Year, Motivate Starts Within
It might be easy to remember last year’s wild-card playoff loss — especially that devastating illegal hit on Carson Wentz — and use it as motivation on Monday night. The Eagles would have plenty of ammunition from Wentz’s concussion to DK Metcalf recently calling for Jalen Hurts to play. That’s not how Philly rolls, according to Cox. They need to look themselves in the mirror and motivate from within.
“I think the biggest thing for us is we need to be our own motivation,” Cox said. “We got to motivate ourselves. We can’t take what happened last year and use it as motivation, we got to motivate ourselves. I mean we’re 3-6-1, our record, we just got to get to a point where we got to motivate ourselves, and just come out and play a complete game.”
Wentz has already flushed last year’s playoff game from his memory. He played just nine snaps in that one. Wentz has thrown for 822 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions against Seattle. His personal record is 0-3.
“I don’t like dwelling on injuries. Quite frankly, a head injury isn’t a fun thing to relive, so I don’t want to dwell on that too much,” Wentz said. “I’ve had a lot of respect for this Seattle defense over the years and I think that they play fast, they’re different this year, different personnel, different scheme a bit, so as far as how we want to attack them, it’s going to be a little different this year.”
Eagles Not Giving Up on 2020 Campaign
When a reporter asked Jim Schwartz to describe being mired in a season that “wasn’t going well” the long-time defensive coordinator disagreed with the premise of the question. The Eagles don’t see 2020 through that same losing lens.
“I don’t think anybody looks at the season and says, ‘This isn’t going well. This is the way we have to handle it.’ You’re in the moment every week,” Schwartz said. “You’re competing every single week and every single week is a new challenge. You have to keep your eyes on that.”
It starts in practice as the veteran leaders hold themselves accountable while pounding that message home to their younger teammates.
“First things first is I hold myself accountable. Which I do,” Cox said. “I have a really high expectation of myself and I’m very hard on myself. Keep continuing to be the leader that I am.”
Schwartz took it one step further, reminding everyone there have been Super Bowl teams that have endured four-game losing streaks. The Eagles have only dropped two in a row.
“You look across the NFL, it’s not always just sort of all happy times for great teams,” Schwartz said. “It’s been awhile since I looked at this, but there’s been a bunch of Super Bowl champions who lost four games in a row at different times and you have to be able to battle through those things and just know they are part of the game.”
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