Fletcher Cox was frustrated with the way things went for the Philadelphia Eagles' defense in last week's 33-22 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, and the star defensive tackle made his feelings known after the game.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr got on a roll early and never got off. He completed 31 of 34 passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception.
The Eagles had no sacks, and only two hits on Carr. The Detroit Lions would like to have similar results in Sunday's game at Ford Field.
The lack of pressure on Carr, and the way the Eagles attacked him – or didn't attack – did not suit Cox.
"You've got to play what's being called," Cox said in his postgame media session. "I think we've got to be more aggressive up front. That starts with me."
Cox has made the Pro Bowl the last six seasons and has been All-Pro once. Cox has earned his reputation and rewards by getting to the quarterback. He has 55.5 career sacks, but only one this year. As a team, the Eagles have 11.
"Sometimes, I'm too aggressive," Cox said. "It kind of takes me back to my old days. It helps us sometimes. It hurts us sometimes.
"In the grand scheme, you have to play what's called. I'm an aggressive player. That's how I made my living.
"Honestly, I didn't agree with what was being called on defense. I kind of let my frustration go. It's part of the game. I've got confidence in everybody. It's everybody's first year. We're all learning."
View photos of the starters for the Philadelphia Eagles.
The learning curve has been steeper than anyone wanted under first-year head coach Nick Sirianni and his staff. Sirianni addressed Cox's feelings earlier in the week.
"I understand his frustration," Sirianni said. "I'm frustrated. He's frustrated. We have to do everything we can to get the ship right."
The Eagles have a 2-5 won-loss record going into Sunday's game.
The Eagles opened the season with a 32-6 win over the Falcons, lost three straight, then beat the Panthers before losing to the Buccaneers and Raiders.
It has not been a good start for anyone – from Cox and other veterans to second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Cornerback Darius Slay, a former Lion and three-time Pro Bowler who was traded to the Eagles in midseason of 2019, has two interceptions and three passes defended.
The defense took a big hit when defensive end Brandon Graham, from Michigan and Detroit Crockett Tech High, went out for the season with a ruptured Achilles in Week 2.
Running back Miles Sanders went out with an ankle injury in Sunday's loss to the Raiders. He is likely to miss Sunday's game.
Sanders is second on the team in rushing behind Hurts with 300 yards and an average of 4.8 yards per carry.
Rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith leads the Eagles with 32 catches for 406 yards. Quez Watkins is next with 18 catches for 346 yards and 19.3 yards per catch.
Hurts, who played at Alabama before transferring to Oklahoma, has 11 starts with the Eagles. That includes all seven this season.
Sirianni was offensive coordinator of the Indianapolis Colts the last three seasons and a position coach – quarterbacks and receivers – the previous four years with the Chargers.
Hurts has shown some improvement under Sirianni. His completion rate has gone from 52 percent as a rookie to 61.2 percent this year with 10 TDs and four interceptions. He has run for 361 yards and five TDs.
Hurts understands the challenges that go with playing quarterback.
"All this stuff that could go wrong, all the stuff that might not look right or crisp – I have to execute and make it right," he said. "I know I'm capable of that. My coaches know I'm capable of that.
"There's no crossroads. We're going to stay together, regardless. Whatever it is, whatever's going on, we believe. I believe. It's just a matter of putting it all together."