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Eagles DC Jonathan Gannon accepts Fletcher Cox's criticism of defense

Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox hasn't been shy about his complaints regarding the team's defensive scheme and struggles.

After the Eagles' latest blowout loss, Cox vented that he "can't be as aggressive" in coordinator Jonathan Gannon's defense. On Tuesday, Gannon discussed those criticisms from one of his veteran players.

"He's got good points," the DC said of Cox's comments, per the team's official transcript. "I need to do a better job of that with him. The key thing with that is together, player and coach, coach and player, how we do that and how we go about that.

"He's had some very good ideas, as our other players have had good ideas, and then it's up to us as the coaches to get that done and execute those things."

The Eagles transitioned to a new defense under Gannon, about whom general manager Howie Roseman spoke glowingly during the offseason. Unfortunately, the design to play a soft scheme that doesn't give up big plays and makes the offense churn out yardage doesn't work well when there are no game-changing plays and QBs play easy pitch-and-catch.

Derek Carr completed 91.2 percent of his passes Sunday against the Eagles. Through Week 7, quarterbacks are completing 74.4 percent of their attempts this season versus the Philly D, on pace to break the record set by the 2016 Detroit Lions (72.7).

"It's hard to play winning football when the ball doesn't hit the ground," Gannon said.

Gannon conceded the point when it was pointed out that some of the linemen aren't playing their ideal position in the new defense, and it seems to be causing some of the production issues.

"There are times where they're probably, no, they're not ideally suited for that spot, but we try to within who's playing, we try to make it to where we're putting those guys in position, for the most part, to get into the skill set that they're most comfortable with. And that's just like any corner or linebacker or safety," he said. "Sometimes they get a little bit -- some safeties want to play D-path all the time. Well, sometimes you've got to get in the box and play cover three. Some corners want to play man-to-man all the time. Well, sometimes with this call, because of what we're trying to get done with that call, you've got to play cloud.

"So, it's always a blend of taking our guy's skill set, putting them in that position as much as possible within the scheme of this is who we're defending and how we want to play."

Often when transitioning to a new defense, the pieces don't always fit the plan. But with players like Cox, it behooves the coach to tweak his system to ensure the playmaker can be disruptive.

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