Check out photos from the Eagles' OTA workouts and media session on April 24.
Fletcher Cox says there is room to improve the little things in his game – technique, particularly – and as he digs in with the Eagles' offseason conditioning program in full swing, Cox has his sights set high for 2018. As in NFL Defensive Player of the Year high.
A three-time All-Pro and voted to the Pro Bowl team in each of the last three seasons, Cox is at the top of his profession. His numbers last season – 35 tackles, four tackles for loss, 5.5 quarterback sacks – don't tell the story. The Eagles dominated against the run. They brought pressure against the pass. They controlled the line of scrimmage and Cox was a big reason for the success.
Now he's got that higher individual goal in mind paired with, of course, sustained team success along a defensive line that has seen changes with tackle Beau Allen and end Vinny Curry signing in Tampa and the Eagles trading for veteran defensive end Michael Bennett and signing free agent veteran tackle Haloti Ngata.
"We have to trust each other. That's the biggest thing. It's going to be the biggest thing with Chris (Wilson, defensive line coach), the players trusting Chris. The new players have to learn the defense and everybody has to play up to speed," Cox said. "They've brought in veteran players who are going to do that.
"We have to focus on this offseason and not look too far ahead. The biggest thing is, will this team stay focused? I know we will. Another challenge is going to be trusting the process we are going through and everything the coaches are feeding us and continue to build on it each day."
The combination of Cox and Tim Jernigan worked last year as the two played off each other's power and strength combinations. Bennett is a natural pass rusher off the edge who can slide inside in the nickel. The Eagles have a lot of options, multiple combinations they can employ to overpower, and out-quick, offensive lines.
And the thing is, the defensive line is going to keep coming and coming. There is unprecedented depth up front. The Eagles can get after offenses in waves at the line of scrimmage.
"We're going to have a lot of fun," said Cox, who had the honor of having a road named after him (Fletcher Cox Road) in his hometown of Yazoo City, Mississippi. "I'm really looking forward to working with these guys."