Contact Us

Book Now


Sep 13, 2023

14 Year NFL Veteran, Morgan Cox - Excelling in Your Field

Share this episode

Read the conversation below

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I'm really excited to have Morgan Cox join the True Sports Physical Therapy podcast. Morgan, welcome to the freaking party, dude.

Morgan Cox: Long time fan, excited to be on here.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Long time listener. First time caller, long time listener.

8 Morgan Cox: Long time listener.

 Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Morgan, this is year 14 in the National Football League. Did you ever think you'd be snapping footballs professionally for 14 years? 

Morgan Cox: Who was that? I was talking about this today with somebody, actually I went out and visited the US Men's National Team. They were practicing here in Nashville and I was talking to them, one of the guys and I just said, "If you go back and tell several of my teammates in high school that I would be the one that had the 14 year NFL career, they'd be like, "No you're crazy, there's no way." But, yeah, that's where I found myself and I remember even my first year in the league, talking to some other friends who had been around the league and watched long snapping for a while and just thought, "You know, man, Morgan will last 10 years in the league." I just... That blew my mind, I had no... That did not register me that like that could actually happen. And so here I am, it's pretty cool.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Here you are in year 14 and obviously supporting a lively family that I hear in your background. So everyone is...

Morgan Cox: Oh, you can hear? 

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: But they're crazy.

Morgan Cox: Ruby is calling for me right now, so

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: That's fine, they're great to have on the show, so.

Morgan Cox: Yes.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: If you didn't know you'd be here for this long, looking back on it, what has been your secret to longevity?

Morgan Cox: Honestly, I would deflect a lot of the reason that I've been in the league for this long to other people that have kind of propped me up for the years. The guys that I've played with specifically. I came in the league Billy Cundiff and Sam were my kicker and punter, Sam would be so mad at me if I said kicker and holder.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: So, good thing he doesn't listen.

Morgan Cox: So mad. I call... Yeah, good thing. And then Justin came along and then we were together for so many years. So I would probably immediately jump to those guys. Billy kind of educated me when I first got in the league about taking care of your body and I saw him doing all sorts of crazy stuff, massages every week and stretches and all this stuff. So I got a pretty quick picture of like he'd been in the league, I think 11 years at that time. So I got a quick jump on what it looks like to take care of yourself late in the later stages of your career. And then Sam.

 Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Sam Koch.

Morgan Cox: Sam Koch, most people don't know Sam as well as we do, but he just presented such a professionalism to me at an early stage of my career that it was something I looked up to, it was something I wanted to strive to and just bought into the culture there with Sam. And then when Tuck came in, just being great at our crafts and just wanting to contribute to the team the best we could. And so I would think, I think initially that I'm very thankful to have those people kind of bring me into the league in that way from a player standpoint. And I could go into coaches as well, Jerry Rosburg, Chris Horton, and Craig Ackerman have been my special teams coaches and they've just set me up for success. And so it's hard... I can self reflect on discipline and stuff like that, but to me, I'd rather put it on the people that I've been in close contact with and work with on a daily basis.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: We can give the people around us all the credit in the world and I knew you would Morgan, 'cause that's the dude you are. What would you say that you've honed in on as a secret or a practice? 

Morgan Cox: I think, again, catching the culture and the attitude that Sam and those guys established early on. I really focus on how good I can be at my craft to the extent that I feel like if I can snap the ball, I feel like that I can snap the ball so well that Billy, Justin, Randy and Nick can't miss a kick. And so like, I... Those are all the kickers that come to mind right off the bat, can't miss a kick if I snap it so well, same thing with punters, Sam, Brett and Ryan Stonehouse. If I snapped the ball right in their bread basket, that's basically where they're dropping the ball from. So I've really focused on my personal accountability as to the high standard I have for myself and then just chase that. I would say the PT that I've done in order to take care of my body, so longevity is all about durability and toughness in a way, I wouldn't immediately describe myself as tough, I have plenty of aches...

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I would.

Morgan Cox: And pains that the people around me complain that they hear too much about. But regular soft tissue therapy. Rose in Baltimore just set me up for success. So working with you, working with Rose in terms of a soft tissue nature, I think is what has helped me with longevity in my career.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah. And what you're really mentioning here is the attention to those details that seems to have pulled you along. No one is more detail oriented than Sam Koch, than Morgan Cox, than Nick Moore, you guys are freaking lunatics when it comes to those things. What are some of the details that you do pay attention to day in and day out?

Morgan Cox:
I could get into the nitty-gritty of long snapping.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Get into it, get into it.

Morgan Cox: So the first thing that comes to mind is on field goals, I know you've had Nick on, so I'm sure he's explained to like the laces, my holder, whoever that is, right now it's Ryan Stonehouse. I want him to catch the ball to where the laces hit him in his right hand for a right footed kicker, that way when he sets it down, the laces are already pointed towards the uprights, he doesn't have to move it. So it's just that little bit of once the ball's down, it really doesn't... There's no extra movement that the kicker has to look to, and so he immediately can focus on his strike point where he's gonna hit the ball and put the best foot he can on it. And so the way that I do that is I create the same distance between me and the holder every single time. So if you look at the football field as a giant grid, then I'm gonna try and line my feet up at the exact point each time, that way Stoney right now is on the same point back at the kicking spot, and I'm at the same point, so we create the same distance. And so each snap on a field goal should rotate three and one-quarter times out once it leaves my hand, and so once it does that, Ryan catches the laces, ball goes down and Nick gets a look at it for as long as he needs to in order to make the kick.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: How do you control that amount of revolutions? What do you do with your hands? 

Morgan Cox: That comes down to practice. I know you work with pitchers and a lot, and I'm sure that those guys... I don't know a lot about pitching, but I know those guys just have the sensation in their fingers, that they know when a ball's left their hands, how many spins it's gonna make on the way to the thing. And they can adjust that. And it's the same thing for me, I've done it so many times where now it's just become second nature. And really, if you were to ask me, say, "Hey, only rotate it two and a half times." Like that would be difficult for me, but what I would do, I'd change the distance, and so it'd take me a couple of times, but I would figure it out.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Come on, bring her on, bring her on.

Ruby: Have this.

Morgan Cox:
Dada is on a call, you wanna see Yoni? 

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: What's up, Rube? 

Morgan Cox: Say hi. Say, "Hey, Rube."

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Hi, Rube.

Morgan Cox: Say, "Hey, Rube." Can you go get mama? No? Okay. Well, either way. So I create the same distance each time that I'm snapping, that way I know that it's gonna rotate that many times and it isn't... If it does over-rotate or under-rotate, I know how to change it.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Now, you...

Morgan Cox: I know how to change it from there.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: It's amazing. Okay. Now you know where your feet are. Where does that ball go in relation to your feet? 

Morgan Cox: So if the ball is marked, usually it's typically marked like right where the hash marks are, and so I usually pull the ball back to where I'm snapping it to and whether it's... You barely notice it, especially if you are just watching on TV or whatever, but it's maybe an inch or two, I pull it back or push it forward. And then that way in my stance, it looks the exact same thing, same way to me. And so I get some comments from defensive lineman or something that, "Hey, you move the ball around," or whatever. And they'll get mad at me, but ultimately it looks the same, they just, they have their own little tricks too so I'm not worried about them.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah. Don't worry about them. By the way, it's worked so far. Now, how much... That awesome in a vacuum, how much do you change it based upon weather? 

Morgan Cox: Weather changes. So early in the season you're gonna have a lot warmer temperatures, you're gonna have a lot of humidity, grip on the ball is gonna be really good, you're gonna get really good spin off of your hands. So I need to probably... I usually need to close the distance by a couple inches or so. And then as it gets later in the season, colder weather, it doesn't come off your hands as well, you wanna kind of keep some moisture in your hands, but you kind of move, you take space away. So you need to create more revolutions as the ball's going back. So there's a lot of nuance to it. If it's raining, I've got little techniques to try and somewhat dry the ball off in the point where I'm gripping the ball. But, yeah, there's just so many little nuance things that I get... I've told you before that I forget about even, because they're so second nature to me now.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah, but the reason I bring all this to light is because this makes me remember our initial conversations. Which is I want to become an expert in exactly what you do and what you need to do, and I think that helps me formulate my interventions. And I think that's decent advice, obviously I'm biased, 'cause it's the advice I'm giving, but it's got to understand the patient, the athlete that's in front of you and exactly what they need to do. The reason I love working with the Wolfpack is no one knows what you guys need to do better than you guys. And so grilling the hell out of you guys for these little nuances is imperative. I think it builds rapport, but it also builds a proper intervention. You wanna be a sharpshooter with your interventions, you don't wanna be a carpet bomber. And so if I can boil it down to one little nuance change, then it's worth it, then the whole conversation is totally worth it. How many... Having heard all these little nuances, and I think you're keeping a lot close to your chest. How many times did Justin Tucker kick the laces in his career while you were snapping the ball to him? 

Morgan Cox: To my knowledge, zero.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Zero.

Morgan Cox: Yeah, I don't recall a single one. And now Sam, I can't say that I've been that consistent, but as a team, Sam and I did a great job of making sure that Tuck never had to kick the laces. But I wanna kind of touch on your point that you made too, like, just knowing the position, and having that experience with you guys, it really develops a trust for you guys. Like you're as invested in my craft as I am really, because you see us on Sundays and you feel a part of that because you helped us get to that point and make sure we're on the field in that way. And so when I see you guys and see you in particular pushing me in a certain way or whatever, it just, it develops that trust that you're looking out for me and helping me be at my best.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah. And that's what it's about, that's why I went to grad school and accrued all that debt, so that I can get to treat athletes like you. And that's a piece of it, is developing that rapport and that buy-in. Now, you overcame a lot to make it your 14 years, most notably a couple ACL tears. So if that's me talking about that which is a positive and a must to rehab all things, let's say upper extremity, what do you think are musts or things that you really appreciated that were done by your physical therapist in rehabbing your ACLs? 

Morgan Cox: In my ACLs in particular, kind of listening to me, but also not listening to me, there was definitely times I can shout out Sam Bell for my right ACL. He knew where to push buttons, that maybe I wasn't totally on board with, that my attitude that day, I wasn't just jacked about just torturing myself with stretching or whatever, but he knew what I needed. And there were other times where he knew where he could push me. And so it was a great back and forth in that way. And so I think as a PT, the best thing to do is to know, again, kind of know your guy on a personal level. 'Cause I would even give Sam a hard time, like, "Man, you never say great job to me." But then I listened to him talking to other guys and he's like kind of helping them along and talking to them and everything, and so I'd give him a hard time about that while we were doing it and he was like, "Morgan, you need different things than these guys do." And so Sam was great about that and he would push me in ways and he would encourage me, but then there was definitely times where I needed a kick in the butt and he gave it to me for sure.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah, yeah. And it's tough, sometimes it can be tough to read the patient and give them exactly what they want. That dynamic is different the way you experience it than a lot of outpatient patients, right? Because you're there every single day. And if I recall correctly, you had a lot of struggle or challenge getting your knee flexion, right? Bending it all the way.

Morgan Cox: Big time, big time.

6 Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And so what were some of the tricks that you found valuable looking back on it that he would employ to say, "I know you don't wanna do this, but we gotta rip your heel to your butt." How did he get you to buy in on that? 

Morgan Cox: He sold it. One, we were very... He explained the whole thing to me. So one of the things that, first things that I tell ACL or knee guys is getting extension, I can still tell it to everybody to this day. Like if you don't get extension right afterwards, you may never get it back, because of the way that it heals itself. And so I remember that. And so he drove that home, so we worked on extension. I did the... Oh, I forgot it now. I just call it the torture device where it straightened my leg and stuff. And so he drove that home and then we always knew we could get... We always knew we could work flexion, I still work flexion to this day and shoot, I tore my ACL in 2015, I believe. And so seven years later, I'm still working on it or eight years later, do the math.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yep.

Morgan Cox: Sorry. Eight years later still working on it. And I think for me he just, he did such a great job of telling me, "This is what we have to do today. These are the markers, these are the milestones that I want you to hit in order to be able to be back on the field in a certain time and be on track to where you can compete for your job and you'd be at your best." And so with that motivation, he gave me all the tools to say, like, "Okay, this is where I've gotta be." And so and then going forward we... There was a number of different ways, it wasn't a lot of fun sometimes, sometimes we had to employ the help of some of my teammates to hold me down. But we got the work done and I was... I'm very thankful looking back because I'm still in the league right now because of Sam's dedication and his care for me.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah. And you're touching on a great point, something that I try to make very, very often. There are a few things that a patient always has to know about the rehab process. One is what they're gonna do about it. What is Morgan Cox gonna do about his knee? He's gonna do this exercise and that exercise, use this machine. What am I gonna do about it, the therapist? So I'm gonna bend them appropriately or I'm gonna give them this exercise, that's why you're gonna come back. But another very important piece of those big tenets that I preach is the patient has to know where they are in the entire scheme of things, right? And so...

Morgan Cox: Exactly.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: What are those milestones and how do you make the patient know it? It's awesome, Morgan, that you're one of the better educated athletes that I've come across in all things, but specifically in terms of health and strength and conditioning. But how do you meet them where they are and explain to them, "This is why extension is so important." You quoted it exactly the way I try to quote it to patients, which is you have to get extension, right? And then later comes flexion, but he did a great job of instilling that on you. So that definitely sticks out as something that's worth repeating to all the sports PTs out there is, educate your patient where they're supposed to be and where they currently are and what is the patient doing about getting them to where they need to be? And what is the therapist doing about it? And that creates a team environment where you guys are kinda pulling in the same direction, therapist and patient.

Morgan Cox: Yeah, I would say, like you said, if you consider me one of the better educated guys, it's because of that, he brought me along in the process, and educated me along the way. I did a little bit of research myself. But I tell a lot of guys now, if they get hurt, obviously there's the mental aspect, there's the emotional aspect. I'm like, "Man, I'm out," whatever. I say, take the opportunity to learn about your body and learn about what it takes to be back on the field, not only with this injury, but also to keep yourself healthy going forward. And whether it's flexibility, it's tissue work, it's just exercises and strength. And that was the biggest thing that Sam did for me, that you did for me. I think of Monica Baker back in 2011 that was working with me on my left ACL, we just, we had a progression and I got such a great education because they were willing to tell me along the way, and not just say, "This is what you gotta do today." And they would give me back up the reasons of like, "This is what it's gonna lead to, this is how it's gonna help you down the road."

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah. And I remember you sharing a story about Rose Callas ____ who you mentioned previously, your massage therapist while you were here in Baltimore, how it seemed like she did a bunch of legwork before she even met you. So talk about that.

Morgan Cox: That was the coolest thing to me about Rose. And she shows up. I remember it was like, it was May of 2010. I had just gotten into the league and I'm still in the hotel, like in the team hotel doing OTAs and all that stuff. And that's where Billy had kind of said, "Hey, I got this massage therapist. She's great. Tissue manipulation, all that stuff. And it'd be worth it for you to see her." Told me the price. And I was like, "Ooh, I don't have that." You know.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: You always say that.

Morgan Cox: Hadn't played yet, whatever. But yeah, I do. But anyway, so I bit the bullet, called her up and she shows up and she puts down this packet in front of me and I'm like, "What's this?" And she goes, "I found this online. I didn't really know what all, like long snappers do, but I found this thing online." And she starts to open it up. She's like, "I think you use this, this, and this muscle," and I was blah, blah, blah. And I'm like, "Awesome." I didn't know any of this stuff. But to me, that's what sold me on her so quickly. I mean, right out of the gate, I could tell her attention to detail, her care, 'cause I've had many massage therapists, that I've worked with since then.

Morgan Cox: You know, I know they've got a schedule to keep and I know everything, but there's a certain aspect of like, it's almost like a motherly care of like the job is done when the job is done. It's not when the time when the clock goes off. So Rose would always check on me, always did such a phenomenal job. And I still text her to this day of like, "Hey, you're not going to London, are you?" 'Cause I play the Ravens in London. And it's like, "You're not gonna London, are you?" You can have some free time. No, she's not. But anyway, yeah.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah, but that attention to detail and the lesson there is do your homework as the provider, know who you're about to see. And it doesn't mean you have to know three and a quarter rotations from snapper to holder, but it does mean you should know, hey, this is a snapper. He's gotta hinge here. He's gotta create tension there. Here, potentially the muscles that are at play. Similarly, once you come up with a diagnosis. So I remember at some point, you and I were dealing with some medial epicondylitis, which is inner elbow pain, which is super common in pitchers because they're always flicking the wrists.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I haven't treated a million long snappers, but it would make sense that long snappers come across this as well. But the fact that I'm able to know, hey, he's gotta hinge here, and then produce force from fingertips in that position, if you do your homework and know what a long snapper has to do, now you can start to relate and relay proper information to you. So let's walk through that and kind of dissect that a little bit. When you were dealing with that medial epicondylitis or the ongoing elbow pain, there's no way away from flicking your wrist, correct me if I'm wrong, as a long snapper.

Morgan Cox: I can't do what I do without just using that constantly.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Right. So how do you stay on top of these overuse injuries knowing that that's what you do for a living? 

Morgan Cox: Yeah. I think kinda going back to what you said, like when we would work together, you would have me get into the position that I was in, and we would work through that, and you'd kind of, you made sure and understand what's all at play. And I'd go through slow motion of like where my elbows are contacting, where my hands are pulling through and all that, that kind of thing. But we did such a great job of kind of talking back and forth of like, what's hurting, what needs to be warmed up prior to starting that? And I remember the flossing we did, I remember a lot of the different exercises with the dumbbells out and in with my grip and just all the things that are at play 'cause, you know, you've stressed it to me.

Morgan Cox: Rose have stressed it to me. Sam has stressed it to me. The body is connected all over from your toes all the way up to your shoulder, down to your fingertips. And when you grasp that and you understand that, which you guys did such a great job of helping me to do, you're like, everything's connected in some sort of way. So this is where the pain is manifesting, but this is where maybe the problem is. And so understanding that and going through that with you guys, and then giving me exercises to help to combat that overuse in that one particular area, or where the... Or just kind of knowing that like, even though the pain is coming from this area, this is actually where the problem is. And so you're overusing or maybe your toe's hurting, which is causing your shoulder to hurt, blah, blah, blah.

Morgan Cox: We would work through exercises and it just helped me, gave me the confidence to know that like, no matter what pain I was going through, ultimately once I got on the field, everything was gonna be okay because I knew how to progressively work it up and get ready. I would say if I'm not ranting here, going into the off season, understanding that I'm gonna get in a season and I'm gonna just use these muscles over and over and over and over. And so doing much more or much less specific work and more general strength work has helped me through a lot of the years, too. Guys were like, "Well, do you snap all the way through off season?" I'm like, "No, I barely touch a ball if I can help it," because I know what's coming once July 27th hits, I'm gonna be snapping 50 balls a day at a minimum. And so I'd rather build up all the other muscles around it, so I can have that general strength. Because once it comes to that specific, there's no turning it off.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah, yeah. 'Cause you can't get away from that. So, I think there's a lot of value there. It's also, I think about all the medial epicondylitis or golfer's elbow that I've rehabbed, very few of those athletes overuse that muscle while their head is below their knees. Right? But it's super unique because we know that the nervous system needs to function appropriately. And your nervous system is going to function differently if you're hanging upside down and trying to use your nervous system than if you're upright and your hand is up over your head. So just understand, like you said, kind of understanding that position is definitely new. And don't be afraid as the clinician to lean on things that have worked. No, I haven't rehabbed a million long snappers. There aren't a million of you guys, but I've rehabbed this pathology before and what can I pull on to help with that? Sometimes I see newer clinicians that are working with NFL athletes and they get all kind of nervous about it. But if you take a step back, it's like, wait, you have seen this? How do you...

Morgan Cox: That's the main thing I knew when I had elbow, wrist, shoulder pain or whatever. I know that you have worked with baseball players.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: A lot of baseball players.

Morgan Cox: Same thing with, like I said, my PT back in Memphis, Monica Baker. I remember she had baseball players coming through her practice and stuff. So that kind of relation of like, well, I may not be doing this, but I am doing this. You know what I mean? Like, just in a different way. And so knowing that those muscles can be used the same way. And I remember like, I remember worrying that I had like Tommy Johns or something like that, just because athletes listen to other... What's going on. But then once I talked to you and once we had a plan going forward, just, you lose all that nervousness and it's all about confidence. And then the discipline of taking care of your homework as you would always ask me about, you do your homework? 

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And the answer's no. The answer's always yes. The answer's always yes with you.

Morgan Cox: Regardless of whether I did or not.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I don't believe that. Okay. So if that's some of the clinical pearls, let's talk a little bit professionally speaking. You've been doing this for 14 years and every single year, there's someone younger, there's someone cheaper. How do you continue to stay at the top of your game? How do you deal with that pressure and uncertainty professionally speaking? 

Morgan Cox: I would say professionally speaking, I just kinda keep my head down. Again, the attitude in a long snapper is if no one knows your name, you know you're doing your job. And so my attitude, I remember somebody told me when I first started, coaches sleep well at night if they don't have to worry about their long snapper or sleep a lot better, I should say at night, if they don't have to worry about their long snapper, 'cause that's the last thing you want to have to worry about. So, not getting complacent with anything and just understanding that going about my routine each year and understanding what I need to do in order to compete at a high level. Still, even being in the top 10 oldest guys in the league now, having to keep myself in a specific shape knowing what the season is gonna demand on me.

Morgan Cox: So I try not to worry too much about what other long snapper are doing or what younger guys are doing. And just kind of focusing on what has gotten me to the point that I'm at. Even to the point of, heard golfers that don't watch each other's swings while they're in a round. And I kind of adopted that a long time ago. I remember watching another long snapper in one of my, I think my second year, watching another long snapper snapping pre-game. And I was like, "Oh man, he's doing this and that." I was like, "I need to try that." And this is in a game. And I ended up having a kind of a low snap. So from then on out, I kind of determined that I was never gonna watch another snapper. And it's not out of disrespect, I was just never gonna watch him in the game. I watch tons and tons of film. I watch every snap every week. And so it's not about what I can or can't...

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Of your snaps. You watch all of your snaps.

Morgan Cox: I watch my snaps, I watch all the other guys snapping, too. I wanna see how they're doing and what they're doing. If they are doing something well, then I wanna pick it up and it's just a... But it's, I guess what I mean is like, when I'm in a competition, I don't want to adopt a new methodology in the middle of competition. I'm gonna focus on me and focus on what's gotten me to that point. And then, later on down the road, if I feel like something needs to be fixed, I've got a weak area, I'll look at somebody else that's doing it really well, and go and adopt that.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: At what point did you realize, "This is what works for me, I need to live in these four feet"? 

Morgan Cox: I would say I learned that probably early on. It's always really kind of been my attitude regardless of what area in life or it is what I do, long snapping, but I see it in a lot of other places. Like, I want other aspects of my life. I want to find out who's doing things the best and then like, why are they the best at it? And then adopt their methodology. I saw something like that about Kobe Bryant. He had a similar, and I'm not saying that Kobe...

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Very similar, very similar with Kobe.

Morgan Cox: Especially athletically. But attitude wise, I think it's a good approach to life of thinking of like, who's doing this the best? And then how can I chase what they're doing and figure out their methodology? And so for me, that's been the case in long snapping. When I go back to college and I reflect on college, I came into college and I heard there was a guy that was doing the field goal snaps, Adam Miles. And then there was a guy doing the punt snaps, Ryan West. And they were both very good at what they did respective to their field goal and punts. And so I was like, okay, how does Ryan do what he does or how does Ryan do what he does blocking wise on punts and field goal? And then field goal is how does Adam do what he does? And just try to craft my style and make it my own. But because I had those two examples as soon as I got in college, I knew I had the tools 'cause I'd gotten to that point. But then learning how they were successful and then kind of emulating them from that point out.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: By the way, that is very Kobe-esque. 'Cause I think like every summer, he would sit down and say, "What do I want to add to my game? What little nuance can I add to continue to push myself forward?" And it sounds like that's what you did at Tennessee, right? When you were able to witness that? 

Morgan Cox: Yes, absolutely. I went, when I got to college and I saw those two guys doing it so well, and that's when I learned about the laces that Adam, not to dive into technique too much, but Adam was using mostly arms. He used, he took away most of the variables, all the variables he possibly could. And he was just snapping with his arms. He was a very good baseball player, and so he knew the wrist flick really well, and he'd rotate that ball exactly how it needed to be. And so I was like, "Man, he can do it. I can do it. I just gotta spend time doing it." And so then that's where the work comes in. You gotta spend time doing it. You can't just look at it and like, "Oh yeah, I'll just do that." That doesn't work like that. It's like Ryan's footwork was so good in blocking, so I'm like, "How do I get my footwork to look the same way?"

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Okay. So you've played Ravens and Titans, but you've spoken to people all the way across the league. So from a organizational standpoint, what are some of the things that you truly value as it pertains to strength and conditioning and rehab that would make the ideal setting for you to stay healthy? 

Morgan Cox: I think, one, having the two departments communicating very well is a very key aspect in the same way that the client and therapist have to communicate. You want to be able to communicate the strength program and the training program as well, just because they are, I mean, so intertwined, just like I spoke about before. I have some specific movements that maybe I've got some aches and pains from, but then I also need general strength as I go into the weight room and making sure those don't cross over too much where they're not... And so I've really appreciated that especially here at the Titans that those guys communicate so well. I've gone through some things that they've done a great job of helping me get and be at my best.

Morgan Cox: And so communication is key from that standpoint. But then also, again, I hate to keep harping on it, but just knowing the athlete, you know. Todd Toriscelli and Frank Piraino both do a great job of coming to me knowing what my position is, what I need, and helping me be at my best, make sure I'm not setting myself up for an injury somehow. And they pay attention. So, I mean, I hate to simplify it, but just knowing the athlete is, I mean, heck, 90% of the battle, I feel like.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Simple is always better. So you don't have to apologize for that. But I think you're right. And I think we lose that sometimes. And I think us PTs or maybe it's the accomplished strength coach, we choke when it comes to that. We think we know everything. And I think the person who pays the price oftentimes is the athlete. When the PT says, "Stick to my program," or the strength coach says, "Stick to my program," you gotta be, and even if you're in the outside, like in the private setting like I am, you gotta trust your strength coaches or know your strength coaches. Find them, become friends with them, know who knows what they're doing, and you can really collaborate with as opposed to just staying in your own goddamn silo. You know, freaking hate those silos.

Morgan Cox: That's tough.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt:  ____ in silos. It is. It is tough. It is tough. Can you share with me a story when maybe Sam Koch kind of put you in your place as a younger player, and opened your eyes to how you really needed to focus? 

Morgan Cox: Oh, goodness. Everybody loves this story. So...

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: How many people have you told this story though? 

Morgan Cox: Lots. Lots.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Great. So it's no problem with you sharing it here.

Morgan Cox: No, it's not. It also makes Sam look like kind of a jerk, which, I mean, I guess he's probably not mad about it.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: It is what it is.

 Morgan Cox: No, to me it's a testament to his attitude, what I spoke about earlier. But anyway, so I get into the league, I'm pretty fresh and I'm in my second year, still trying to figure things out, sophomore season. And I guess we, let's see, we went down to St. Louis, so that's how long I've been in the NFL. We're playing in St. Louis and we go through our warmup. I'm just kinda having an off warmup. I don't really feel it. We go in to the locker room, kind of stretch and do the rest of our kind of pre-game routine, come back out. And I mean, kickoff is in four minutes maybe, and the stadium is full. I mean, they're about to bring the flags out for the national anthem and everything like that. And so we were... Sam and I usually got like five or six punts in. I snap one and punt goes over my head, it's fine. And I'm like, "Is that okay?" He is like, "Yeah, it's all right." And then I snap the next snap and it's at his left knee, which is where my miss had been for the most of the warmup.

Morgan Cox: And all of a sudden I'm looking up to see where the punt is going over my head, which is usually what happens, and I feel something hit the back of my helmet, and my head jumps forward. And I realized that Sam had basically taken a snap and crow hopped into this throw and threw it right back into the middle of the back of my head.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And he is a  ____.

Morgan Cox: Props to him. Yeah, Sam, especially at the time, was only behind Flacco in terms of arm strength, and so for him to just grab it, crow hop and then put it on a dime in the back of my head, and I was like, "What?" And he's like, "Snap the effing ball."

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah.

Morgan Cox: 'Cause he showed me where it was and I was like, "I'm sorry." Two minutes later, we kick off and we get through the game and I honestly don't even remember the game, I think he...

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Concussed you.

Morgan Cox: Probably should have been a protocol for that, but... Yeah, it just, like I said before, it set the stage of like, this is what the standard is, and I'm not gonna allow you to be anything less than what the standard is.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And also he knew what and how to push your buttons by then. Right? 

Morgan Cox: Oh, absolutely.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And he knew you wouldn't wilt. He knew you would come back and kinda be able to get through the game, so it's just...

Morgan Cox:
I think if I did, then he would have had another snapper, he would have done it too, and then he would have found somebody that didn't wilt. No, I'm kidding. We were close friends at that time, and he knew that he could lean into me and that attitude carried us through the 11 years that we played together.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: I can't even imagine going to work with that guy for 11 years, 'cause I feel like...

Morgan Cox: I loved every second of it. I know a lot of people can't believe it, but I loved every second of it.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: And it's relentless, but it's how you stay in the league for 18 years or however many years he did it, right? 

Morgan Cox: I mean, just the attitude that Sam had, and we had to go on this soapbox, but just the attitude Sam had has carried me into so many different aspects of life. And I still call him on FaceTime, if something's going on in my house or whatever, he just... He's a do-it-all guy and is chasing greatness at all times, and so I really am thankful and blessed to have him in my life for that reason.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yeah. And it's a sign of a great teammate. And so even in the professional setting, when I'm working with PTs, it's like I'm looking for PTs to throw that ball at the back of my head. I just had...

Morgan Cox: There are probably other ways to do it. You don't to have that as long as you have a helmet on.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: You're exactly right. But I've had PTs put me in my place as an owner of a company to say, "Dude, you need to focus on this or I need you to focus on that," and that's really gone a long way, and it's a matter of can you take that and get better for it. Obviously. Obviously, you could. And he'd freaking do that. Okay, tell me what... Of all those things, what do you wish PTs or strength coaches, what do you think... What do you wish we did more of? 

Morgan Cox: Ruby's back.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Ruby, what do you wish strength coaches did more of? 

Morgan Cox: What do I wish PTs and strength5 coaches more of? That's a tough question, man. And I think you guys, especially you in particular, do a great job of checking in with me and keeping me accountable. I would say probably accountability would be the best thing, because oftentimes we get... Athletes get in their routine or they get in kind of like a lull or just the way the season goes, is the routine and the monotony of the season, and just the checking in kinda jolts you back into like, okay, are you doing this? We're like, "Well, no, I slacked off. I didn't do it this one day and then I didn't do it the second day," or whatever. I would say y'all are as much a part of the team in terms of my team as anybody that I'm actually playing next to, because you're holding me accountable to that standard, holding me accountable, that day in and day out routine, that's gonna make me great.

Morgan Cox: And so, again, it goes back to caring about the athlete, caring about who he is and what his goals are. So I'd say accountability would be the softball for me just to say that that would help. That helps athletes just because a lot of times we get in our own heads and we're thinking about a performance or whatever, and so we skip something or that kind of thing.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Well, okay. But also, as a note, we, the therapist or the strength coach, we're judged by how well you guys do. And so I think too often we say, "I gave the guys exercises, he didn't do 'em," and it's like, think about, we're gonna be judged on an outstanding outcome, we've won an outstanding outcome and sometimes it takes a text message to say, "Did you do it?" And then everyone wins, then the therapist looks good because patient's doing well, and the athlete wins because they're doing what they do, so that's really freaking good advice, Morgan Cox.

Morgan Cox: And then it comes back to like, at the end of the day, it's the same reason that I refer people to you, they're in Baltimore. I refer people because I know you're gonna care for them the way you care for me, and so it just exponentially helps you, 'cause if you have one patient that you're helping out and that you've spent time on and you care about, I would be difficult to convince that that guy doesn't turn in five more clients into you to like, "This is how he cared for me, this is how he got me better." Maybe this didn't work with him. We worked on something else, and so it just carries on. From a business aspect, it's perfect, because it was the same with Rose. Dude, you will not find a better massage therapist than Rose Callas ____. And I tell everybody that because there was that muddly aspect of the job is done when the job is done, it's not on that time ticks off the clock or when you check out.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Yep, yep, for sure. That's awesome. Okay, Morgan, there's so much wisdom in some of your answers to that, so I really appreciate it. That brings us to our lightning round, Morgan Cox.

Morgan Cox: Here we go.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: You ready? 

Morgan Cox: Yeah.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Buckle up.

Morgan Cox: Buckle up.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Here we go. Quick answers. What have you changed your mind on in the last five years? 

Morgan Cox: What did I change my mind on in the last five years? 

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: Like my 10-year-old says, "Dad, why do you always repeat the question?"

Morgan Cox: I don't know what I've changed my mind out in the last 10 years. I have changed my mind on... I'm trying to think athletically, getting down the field, I used to just be a guy and I'm trying to be in the mix, and not just running down the field, I wanna be in the mix. It hasn't worked out in terms of numbers-wise, but I, for a long time, was just a guy, but I'm trying.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: You're trying. Okay, that's athletically. In life, what have you changed your mind on in the last five years, not 10 years. Don't change the question, Dad.

Morgan Cox: Last five years. This isn't very lightning of me.

Dr. Yoni Rosenblatt: No.

Morgan Cox: Nutrition-wise, I would say, was it three off-seasons ago, I focused on nutrition and it changed a lot, it changed a lot about my body composition. People were commenting, I looked more in shape. I wasn't as like, what was the word, like flabby or whatever. I spent an off-season focusing on nutrition and understanding meal prep and not just snacking, so to speak, and I gained a much bigger understanding of what makes my body tick from that standpoint. And I'm not perfect, but I care a lot more about the quality of food and the type of food that goes into my body.


Subscribe today

Get appointment updates, practical and actionable health + fitness tips, blog news, and True Sports announcements delivered straight to your inbox. No spam.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.