Fletcher Cox set to start Week 1 for Eagles despite missing all of camp, preseason

Fletcher Cox hasn’t taken a single snap of football since the start of the summer, but all signs point to the Pro Bowl defensive tackle returning to the field for the Philadelphia Eagles‘ 2019 season opener on Sept. 8.

By waiving reserve Treyvon Hester as part of this weekend’s roster cut-down, the Eagles are entering their final week of the offseason with just four active DTs on the roster. And when asked Saturday whether Hester’s departure was a vote of confidence for Cox’s Week 1 availability, personnel chief Howie Roseman confirmed as much, per PhillyVoice: “Yes, I think that would be fair.”

Coach Doug Pederson played the situation a little more coyly earlier in the week, telling reporters that Cox’s work ethic “leads me to believe that he’ll be ready.” But with just Tim Jernigan and Hassan Ridgeway, an offseason acquisition, set to back up Cox and fellow starter Malik Jackson on the interior of the Eagles’ defensive line, the club would be entering the season very thin at DT if Cox weren’t healthy enough to play.

The four-time Pro Bowler, who logged a career-high 10.5 sacks in 2018, opened the offseason by undergoing surgery for a foot injury suffered in the Eagles’ playoff loss to the New Orleans Saints. He didn’t partake in any of training camp or the preseason while rehabilitating. Unlike former defensive Super Bowl starter Jalen Mills, however, he never spent any time on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

With or without offseason reps, Cox figures to once again play a central role in the Eagles’ defense. The 28-year-old former first-round draft pick has missed just three games in his seven-year career, registering at least 5.5 sacks in four straight seasons and consistently ranking among the league’s top interior starters.

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