Good morning and welcome to another week following a difficult loss by the Eagles, Sunday’s 38-29 defeat to the host Pittsburgh Steelers. The Eagles are 1-3-1, and it hasn’t been just one aspect of the game that has been off. While the offense scored 29 points against one of the best defenses in the NFL, Carson Wentz threw two more interceptions, giving him nine this season. The defense, while putting some early heat on Ben Rothethlisberger, allowed 39 points.

So Doug Pederson has his work cut out for him, especially with the Super Bowl contending Baltimore Ravens visiting Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday.

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Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox kicks a football while warming up before Sunday's game.
YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox kicks a football while warming up before Sunday's game.

More needed from Cox

While a defensive tackle can never be judged solely on statistics, the Eagles could use more production from Fletcher Cox. Just listing his tackle and sack totals don’t tell his true value because he takes on so many double teams, but he doesn’t appear to be a player who blows up opposing offensive lines, like he did earlier in his career.

Cox hasn’t been his dominant self since 2018, when he recorded a career-high 10.5 sacks. Last season he was banged up but never missed a game and recorded 3.5 sacks. This season he has 1.5 sacks in five games.

Again, nobody should get too hung up on sack totals for a defensive tackle, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important.

To Cox’s credit, he continually answers the bell, even if he is less than 100 percent. Since the Eagles made him their first-round draft choice and 12th overall selection out of Mississippi State in 2012, he has been active in 130 of a possible 133 regular-season games. He has also appeared in seven postseason games.

In the Eagles 20-14 playoff loss at New Orleans in January 2019 he suffered a foot injury that required surgery.

Cox returned and didn’t miss a game last year, although he wasn’t always 100 percent. He earned his fifth straight Pro Bowl berth, but was that on reputation?

Even in Sunday’s game he left but then returned. When asked how he came out of the game physically, he said: “I came back. I was fine. …”

Cox will turn 30 in December, and one has to wonder whether he can still be a week-in and week-out dominant force. He was asked after the Pittsburgh loss whether he is frustrated to not have bigger sack totals.

“No, I know my time is coming and I tell the guys in the room all the time, if I stay calm, they stay calm,” he said. “The minute I lose my stuff, they lose their stuff, and it kind of gets everybody out of whack, so if I stay calm, they will stay calm. and everybody will be fine.”

He then added this nugget.

“There is plenty of food on the plate for everybody to eat in that room.”

Right now the Eagles as a team are hungry for difference makers on defense, such as Cox in 2018.

Eagles wide receiver Travis Fulgham makes a catch in front of Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Steven Nelson during the third quarter on Sunday.
YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Eagles wide receiver Travis Fulgham makes a catch in front of Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Steven Nelson during the third quarter on Sunday.

What you need to know about the Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool pulls in a 35-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool pulls in a 35-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

From the mailbag

“Why did Jim Schwartz choose to cover a speedy receiver who had burned you all day with a linebacker in such a crucial time. Role reversed — the Pittsburgh coordinator put his best corner on the guy we had that was hurting them when it was 3rd and 5. Why does our coordinator seemingly never make these types of adjustments? Even the commentator on TV easily called out the mismatch.” — John Koss from Facebook.

Thanks for the question, John. I am sure in this week’s news conference Schwartz will address that issue. You are talking about the 35-yard touchdown reception by Chase Claypool, his fourth TD of the game (one came on a run). He was covered by linebacker Nate Gerry, who has drawn his share of criticism for his pass coverage this season. The real question is on a third-and-8 play, and knowing the Steelers had to pass, why was Gerry in the game? One of the knocks against Schwartz is that there aren’t enough in-game adjustments. After Claypool torched the Eagles all game, one would think that they would do a little more to take him away from the offense. Of course, the Steelers have such a solid receiving corps that a number of players can make big plays. Still, none of them should be covered by a linebacker, especially one who has struggled like Gerry. I think we are all awaiting Schwartz’s response.