By Michael Bennett
With the great Brandon Graham out for the season because of an Achilles injury, who will step up?
Fletcher Cox has been the cornerstone of the defense and one of best linemen in the game since he was drafted out of Mississippi State in 2012.
His production has dipped since his career year in 2018, when he posted 10.5 sacks and 34 QB hits — getting 10 sacks and 19 QB hits over the last two seasons combined.
He has been shut out of both categories through two games in 2021.
But Cox affects the game even if he doesn’t get the numbers.
Cox has been double-teamed on 26 pass-rush plays in 2021, the most of any Eagles defender.
That opens up opportunities for players like Javon Hargrave, who has been on fire (2 sacks, 4 TFL, 4 QB hits) so far this season. But elite linemen draw plenty of attention and still find a way to produce. Cox is making $17 million a year. He needs to get back to being a game-wrecker, while stepping into the middle of the circle as the team’s primary leader on defense.