Posts Tagged ‘Fletcher Cox’

Wild ride sees Philadelphia Eagles land on top in opener against Jacksonville Jaguars

Monday, September 8th, 2014

by Brandyn Campbell

Brandyn Blog





It was truly a tale of two halves. The first half was a nightmare; the second, a revelation. Seriously, weren’t they playing Jacksonville? Why were the Philadelphia Eagles such a mess?

In the opening quarters of the game, Foles was unsteady, holding the ball too long. The confidence of last season seemed to elude him. His first half achievements included throwing a red-zone interception and fumbling the ball twice. Much of the offseason chatter revolved around whether Foles could continue his consistent performances. The opening minutes of the 2014 season appeared to tell us that, perhaps, it wouldn’t be as certain as we anticipated.

But not so fast. It’s a 60-minute game, and in case we had forgotten, things change in an instant in the NFL.

Was it, somehow, the way Chip Kelly had drawn up the game plan? “Oh, God no,” said Kelly.

Whatever occurred in the locker room at halftime to right the many, many wrongs of the first half in Sunday’s game worked. Suddenly, the 17-0 shutout became a 34-point run by the Eagles for which the Jaguars had no answer, with Philadelphia securing a convincing 34-17 win.

Thank goodness for special teams, who kept the opening half carnage less than it would have been otherwise. Jacksonville kicker Josh Scobee did the Eagles a solid by missing a 50-yard field goal attempt. Then, when the Jags had an opportunity to extend their lead to 21-0, special teams did the damn thing and DE Brandon Bair blocked a 36-yard FG attempt.

After an awful opening quarter, the defense came back to put in a solid performance. Safety Malcolm Jenkins thought the Eagles being tested early was ideal.

“A team that hasn’t been tested can’t be trusted,” Jenkins said. “This was our opportunity to show what we’re made of, to show what we’re going to do when we face some adversity. I think we responded well.”

Part of the impressive response came at the end of the game to sign, seal and deliver an Eagles win, with big man Fletcher Cox recovering a fumble and taking it in for a 17-yard TD.

The turnaround began with a 49-yard touchdown run by Darren Sproles in the third quarter.  Can you say, great offseason pickup? The run was the longest of his career, and helped ignite an Eagles offense in desperate need of a spark.

Jeremy Maclin was in fine form for his regular season return, with Foles hitting the wide open receiver for a 68-yard TD in the fourth. He finished the day with 97 yards on four catches.

Even on a bad day, Foles threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns. Foles recovery from a bad performance in many ways may have given us more confidence in him than a perfect outing with no issues. You need to know that, even when rattled, your QB can still come back and win the game.

Unfortunately, the second-half comeback couldn’t right all of the wrongs that occurred in the first two quarters of the game. Left guard Evan Mathis was carted off the field with an injury to his left leg. An MRI on Monday to shed light on the extent of his injury, thought to be a sprained MCL. One play after the injury to Mathis, right tackle Allen Barbre, filling in for the suspended Lane Johnson, left the field with an apparent injury to his right leg.

The way this Eagles team was able to settle down and regain focus at the half, then come back to put together a 34-point streak shows what you want to see in a football team. They kept their cool and worked together to dig out of a deficit. Then, once they regained balance, they showed what they can do to get and retain the lead.

What more could you ask for from a Philadelphia season opener? There were boos, then wild cheers, and all while we gave our hearts an amazing workout as it all unfolded.

It’s great to have you back, Eagles football.

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NFL Draft: Top 5 Defensive Tackle Prospects

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

By Brandon Pemberton

Follow me on Twitter @BrandonOnSports and @SportsTrapRadio

The 2012 group of defensive tackles might be the deepest and most talented position in the whole draft.  Different guys play in different schemes and some can play in any scheme they are put in.  I will give you my five top rated prospects and another 5 to look out for.

1. Fletcher Cox 6-4 298lbs Miss St. 

Strengths: The ordinary college football fan might not have known much about Cox until the combine, but he was the best interior defensive lineman in the SEC and arguably in the country in 2011.  For a man his size, he is very quick and agile and gives guards and centers hell when trying to contain him in pass protection.  Is just as good against the run, uses violent hands and leverage to defeat blocks and make plays.  Even seen some time at the left end in a 4-3.  He can clearly play the 3 technique in a 4-3 or the 5 technique in a 3-4.

Weaknesses: If a team is going to play him solely inside, he’s going to need to gain a bit more weight.  Needs to take on the double team better.

Grade: Top Ten Pick

2. Michael Brockers 6-5 322lbs LSU

Strengths: Has great natural power and burst and causes havoc on the line of scrimmage.  Sometimes a man his size has the habit of playing too high, but Brockers rarely is caught out of position.  He routinely takes lineman and throws them around like its nothing.  90% of the time he uses the bull rush to push the pocket against the pass.  Is scheme diverse can be effective in any defensive scheme.

Weaknesses: Needs to add more pass rush moves to his arsenal.  He played effectively at LSU at that weight, but he could drop a few pounds to be in better shape for the long grind of a NFL season.

Grade: Top 10 to 15 Pick

3. Jerel Worthy 6-2 310lbs Michigan St

Strengths: Was very disruptive and productive in a Big Ten conference with quality offensive lineman.  For a man his size, he uses more quickness than power against the run and rushing the passer.  I hate to throw out comparisons, but he sort of plays like Warren Sapp in a way.  Has a good first step off the ball and utilizes a vicious swim move.

Weaknesses: Doesn’t take on and hold up blocks as good as I think he could.  At times he is more worried about getting into the backfield and making the play himself, instead of taking on blocks.  Needs to be more consistent over the course of the season.

Grade:Late First Round

4. Devon Still 6-5 305lbs Penn State

Strengths: Very powerful interior defensive lineman.  When he puts his mind to it, he can be a straight menace.  Is great against the run, displays the ability to take on and defeat double teams.  Is more of a bull rusher against the pass than anything.

Weaknesses: Missed a majority of his first two seasons on campus with injuries to his left leg (ACL and broken ankle).  Isn’t the greatest pass rusher, needs to develop a counter move to go with his bull rush.  Doesn’t always go full board during games.  Gets tired and loses pad level and technique.

Grade: Late first early second round

5. Derek Wolfe 6-5 298lbs Cincinnati 

Strengths: Maybe the best 5 technique lineman in the draft in my opinion.  Has the typical size and length and plays with tremendous power and leverage.  Played all over the defensive line while in college and that makes him even more of a intriguing prospect.  Has 9.5 sacks from the interior, showing that he is just as effective against the pass as he is against the run.

Weaknesses: Isn’t the fastest or most explosive DT.  He won’t make a living shooting gaps and playing in the backfield in the NFL. 

Grade: 2nd round

Next 5: Kendall Reyes 6-4 299lbs UConn, Brandon Thompson 6-2 311lbs Clemson, Alameda Ta’ amu 6-2 1/2 348lbs Washington, Dontari Poe 6-4 346lbs Memphis, Mike Martin 6-1 308lbs Michigan

Up Next: Top 5 Inside Linebackers

Brandon Pemberton of “Brandon On Sports” & “Sports Trap Radio”, for War Room Sports