The Eagles will be without veteran defensive lineman Fletcher Cox on Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams. Cox, 32 and playing in his 12th NFL season, has been dealing with a back injury for much of the season. This week he missed all the team’s practices and was given a pain-killing epidural in an effort to get him back to action before being declared out versus the Rams.
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How Philadelphia Uses Fletcher Cox
Despite his injury, the Eagles have played him at a slightly higher rate than he did last season. So far this season, Cox has one sack, seven QB hits, and 11 pressures, fourth-most among Eagles defenders. While he was on pace to have another good season as a pass rusher, the Eagles run defense has been one of the best in the league, allowing just 63 yards per game. Cox is, literally, a big reason why they have been so good. Cox has 7 tackles while defending against the run, most among Eagles defensive linemen.
The Eagles defensive line is one of the best in football, so losing Cox doesn’t mean they will fall apart, but a significant loss none the less. The Eagles have invested heavily in their defensive line and have a lot of depth. Expect increased playing time for Marlon Tuipulotu* and even larger roles for Milton Williams and rookie first-rounder Jalen Carter. All three are having a great start to the season.
*Tuipulotu has been ruled out of this game with a tricep injury
What The Fletcher Cox Injury Means For The Rams
This season, the Rams switched from using a zone run blocking scheme to a gap scheme. They gap run blocking at the highest rate in the NFL. The Eagles are the second best team against gap rushes this season. Since Cox is a vital part of the Eagles run defense, his absence helps the Rams chances in the running game. The Rams running game has not been dominant, so this gives them a chance to make some waves in the game.
The Rams offensive line has seen a not-insignificant shake up due to injuries. Joseph Noteboom will miss this game with a groin injury. This means that Kevin Dotson will likely get the start at right guard. Dotson also played in Week 4 against the Colts when Noteboom was moved to left tackle due to Alaric Jacksons injury induced absence. Cox would have been lining up against Dotson, so his day could be a bit easier without Cox playing.