PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox called a lack of national recognition for his level of play "disrespectful" and said he is using it for fuel as he pursues Defensive Player of the Year honors this season.
"Very motivating. I promise you it is," he said after practice Thursday.
Cox has come out of the gates on fire this season. He has 2 1/2 sacks, 14 quarterback hits/hurries (six more than the next-closest Eagles player, Chris Long) and four tackles for loss through two games, according to stats kept by the team.
"You think players just overlook stuff, but when you see your name not mentioned, it just puts a bigger chip on your shoulder when you know that you're supposed to be mentioned as one of the top three players at your position and you're not."Fletcher Cox
"So far this year, he hasn't been able to be stopped," said linebacker Jordan Hicks.
Cox has the second-highest pass-rush rating in the NFL through two games, according to Pro Football Focus. Yet he isn't hearing his name mentioned much with the Los Angeles Rams' Aaron Donald and other elite linemen, perhaps because of his workmanlike approach.
"You can turn the tape on and see that all I do is go out and play my game, very humble about it," he said. "As long as the guy across from me, I respect that guy and he respects me, and I just go out and be the best player I can be on Sunday."
Cox, 27, has been named to the Pro Bowl three times and has also been named second-team All Pro three times over seven seasons. He added Super Bowl champion to the resume in February. Motivated by the perceived slight, he has upped the ante this season, establishing the goal of becoming NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
"You think players just overlook stuff, but when you see your name not mentioned, it just puts a bigger chip on your shoulder when you know that you're supposed to be mentioned as one of the top three players at your position and you're not," he said. "I take that with a full spoon and it just puts a bigger chip on my shoulder, ball out and show the league why my name should be mentioned when they talk about top players in the league."
Cox, who was voted a team captain this year, said his biggest concern is team success and having the respect of those in the locker room. But it's clear he's found a way to stay hungry.
"I know he loves it because it gives him an edge every week," Hicks said. "Obviously he's deserving of [the recognition], but for some reason people want to throw other names out there in front of him. To us, to me for sure, it doesn't make a lot of sense. I think Fletch is the best in the game at what he does."
Cox has 36 1/2 career sacks to go with 207 tackles, 7 forced fumbles and 22 stuffs.