Fletcher Cox eyes return to Pro Bowl shape

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Day 1 on the training ground is in the books for training camp 2022, and with that, day one of media encounters is also complete. Welcome, then, to our Quotebook Notebook, fresh out of the NovaCare Complex. Here are some highlights of what the team said on Wednesday.

The veteran defensive tackle is returning from a bout with COVID, but says he’s feeling great and preparing for the season.

“I got pretty sick about a week and a half, two weeks ago,” Cox said. “Just taking the steps to get me back to where I was. Just being smart about it, making me work. I’m starting to feel a lot better than I was last week, so that’s a good sign. “

The wind outside has been positive as fans and media have been on full blast given the team’s big offseason, and that’s something Cox has learned about Philadelphia since the team l selected in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

“Those are always high expectations,” Cox said. “When you play in the city of Philadelphia, every year the expectations are the same. They want you to win. That’s why you have to love playing in this city and for the fans cheering us on.”

A six-time Pro Bowl player, Cox said he wants to get back to that level this season. In 2021, Cox recorded 3.5 quarterback sacks and 35 total tackles while playing 66% (749) of the defensive snaps.

“Just to be better than I was last year,” Cox said when asked about his individual goals for the season. “Obviously it wasn’t one of the best years of my career. A down year for me. I could have done better in many ways. I know I will be better. Second year of this defense , I know what to expect. I know what’s going on. I’ll be ready for anything.”

He doesn’t say much, instead letting his big game do the talking, but receiver DeVonta Smith met with reporters and talked about what it’s like to be in training camp for a second summer. There is a difference, Smith said.

“Obviously things are going a bit faster,” he said. “The timing is better. We’ve been working the whole offseason, so communication is better, things like that.”

The presence of veteran receiver AJ Brown, who we’ll be talking about at length throughout the summer, makes a difference when the ball is broken, of course. But Smith said Brown’s presence was hugely important for another reason: leadership of an otherwise damn young corps of wide receivers.

“We have a lot of young guys, so we need someone who’s been there before and can guide us,” Smith said.

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