LANDOVER, Md. -- Derek Cox did not make any excuses.
“I go in when they tell me to come in, and I got out when they tell me to come out,” Cox said. “That’s all I can really say.”
Benched in the third quarter in favor of reserve Johnny Patrick, Cox said he wasn’t taken out because of injury, a comment echoed by San Diego coach Mike McCoy, who confirmed that Cox is healthy.
“We made a decision to put someone else in,” McCoy said. “We are going to do what we think is best to win every game, and we’ll make a change and rotate personnel -- put certain guys in. We’ll do whatever we think is the best to make the team win.”
To his credit, Cox didn’t pout. He stood near the defensive coaches on the sideline ready to go back in if his name was called.
“I just took the coaching,” Cox said, when asked what his reaction was to being benched. “If that’s what they want to do, as a player and a teammate, I just listen to what the coaches tell me to do.”
Cox was billed as San Diego Charger’s headline signing in free agency, inking a four-year, $20 million deal this offseason. He battled through a nagging knee injury early this season, and hasn’t missed a game.
In eight games played, Cox has 34 tackles and an interception. However, Cox has struggled to keep up with the NFL’s best receivers as San Diego’s top cornerback.
The latest big play he gave up came in the third quarter against Washington, when Pierre Garcon got behind him and made a one-handed catch for a 38-yard reception.
Making matters worse, Cox was called for pass interference on the play.
“Do I want to make more plays? Of course,” Cox said. “But by no means do I look at it and say -- I don’t know. I just have to understand the expectation level that they have, and meet that. That’s just my job to do.”
Garcon finished with seven catches for 172 yards, making plays against San Diego’s other cornerbacks during Washington's 30-24 overtime victory. The task will not get any easier for San Diego’s secondary next week, when the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning come to town.
Asked if Cox will return to the starting lineup next week, McCoy was diplomatic.
“We’ll talk about it as the week goes on,” McCoy said. “We’re doing whatever we can to win every week. We’ll make those decisions as we go, but we’re trying to win a football game week-in and week-out.”