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Eagles look to simplify their defense

JuanCastilloGetty Getty Images

Former Eagles defensive coordinator Sean McDermott lost his job because, as coach Andy Reid explained it, the shadow of the late Jim Johnson was too large.  New defensive coordinator Juan Castillo could be trying to shrink that shadow.

Castillo says he wants to simply the defense, according to Jonathan Tamari of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“Jim Johnson got some great blitzes,” Castillo said.  “I want to have them all in the package, but how can I do it here so that it’s simple for my guys so that everybody can understand.  To play fast, you can’t be thinking.”

But Johnson was able to use those blitzes and to get his guys to understand those blitzes and to play effectively regarding of how much they were or weren’t thinking.  The more accurate reality could be that Castillo knows that he’ll have limited time to get his defense ready for the 2011 season, given the lockout.  Still, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for Eagles fans to wonder whether Castillo, a converted offensive line coach, is the one having trouble understanding Jim Johnson’s blitzes.

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36 Responses to “Eagles look to simplify their defense”
  1. johnnyshore says: May 14, 2011 10:34 AM

    “Still, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for Eagles fans to wonder whether Castillo, a converted offensive line coach, is the one having trouble understanding Jim Johnson’s blitzes.”

    This is getting ridiculous. Why would an offensive line coach not understand blitzes? A large part of his job would have been blitz protection. The guy has been around football all his life, so why is it such a surprise that an offensive coach can switch to defense. We aren’t talking about something overly complicated here; at the end of the day, IT’S FOOTBALL.

  2. snowpea84 says: May 14, 2011 10:36 AM

    Wrong.

  3. jw731 says: May 14, 2011 10:48 AM

    Juan Castillo’s resume doesn’t come within 1/1oooth of JJ when it comes to defense. The 3 stooges will tell you he has been around football all his life, etc.etc., as to not affect the bottom line, but we all saw what happened to the red zone defense after JJ passed, and McDoormat was one of his protege’s…You just can’t plug anybody in there to replace JJ, not matter what Spindaro and the rest of the party liners tell ya……

  4. smellmyface says: May 14, 2011 10:48 AM

    Typical Eagles fans will defend anyone on that team no matter what, The fact is why would he want to dumb down a defense thats been working for so many years? The players never had a problem before mabye he just doesnt know what to call and its to complicated for him. Just because he coached the O line doesnt mean he can switch that easy.

  5. revooc48 says: May 14, 2011 10:51 AM

    No your the only one wondering that so don’t speak for the eagles fans please.

  6. 2009kenny says: May 14, 2011 10:52 AM

    Understandably, the pen can be mightier than the sword. But is it fair for one with a pen to just insult another man. You are simply saying the man isn’t intelligent. That’s below the belt, that’s how you lose respect for a writer you’ve never met

  7. eagles83 says: May 14, 2011 11:02 AM

    As an Eagles fan I was shocked as hell by this move and was a bit peeved. However, after hearing some highly respected coaches and players in the league say “If anyone can make the switch, it’s this guy,” I felt better.

    He may be terrible, but to say he could be dumbing down the blitzes for himself is stupid. O line coaches understand blitzes just as well as D-Cords, they have to protect against it.

  8. Burritto says: May 14, 2011 11:03 AM

    Sorry, Evan Silva told me to avoid everything Juan Castillo-related because he doesn’t speak English well enough; therefore I have to skip this post.

  9. dafixisin says: May 14, 2011 11:14 AM

    The Eagles don’t have enough talent overall to get away with playing a vanilla scheme. These aren’t the Brown-White-Simmons-Joyner-Allen glory days under Bud Carson. Who knows though; add an Asomugha here, reunite Fat Albert with his old D-Line coach after the Skins are basically forced to cut him, and you might have something here. All big ifs though.

    Drafting Danny Watkins was a great start, but they can’t stop there. Jammal Brown is gonna be one of the few above average OTs available if/when FA gets underway.

  10. nmeagle33 says: May 14, 2011 11:14 AM

    I wish you the best Juan. Hopefully there will be a season.

  11. eaglesfan290 says: May 14, 2011 11:18 AM

    Well it’s unfair to kill the guy before you see how good he is with the D.

    Time will tell and as a Eagles fan if he sucks trust me the Eagles fans will let him know. I would say the lockout works to his advantage, all he does everyday is plan, if it is a simple plan it will be simple to install. He can work on making it more complicated and adding wrinkles when he has OTA’s and time to work with players next year.

  12. quirtevans says: May 14, 2011 11:21 AM

    “Still, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for Eagles fans to wonder whether Castillo, a converted offensive line coach, is the one having trouble understanding Jim Johnson’s blitzes.”

    That does seem like a pretty cheap shot, Mike.

  13. intherelikeswimwear says: May 14, 2011 11:31 AM

    Andy Reid took a big gamble promoting Juan. Look for some big moves in FA to give Juan the tools he needs to make this D work so Reid won’t look like an idiot.

  14. macjacmccoy says: May 14, 2011 11:38 AM

    Nah I dont think that. Maybe he might have trouble understanding the alignments or coverages but not the blitzs. He was an offensive line coach understanding blitzs and how to defeat them was his main job for the last decade.

  15. whathappenedtovox says: May 14, 2011 11:45 AM

    Lol, Juan Castillo doesn’t understand blitz schemes?

    He’s only been a football coach for 30 years. Stick to analysis of the law, Mike, and leave the actual football to someone else there.

  16. oldbyrd says: May 14, 2011 11:49 AM

    As a die hard Eagles fan I hope I’m wrong but, Juan as def. cord. was a horrible move.

  17. stanklepoot says: May 14, 2011 11:53 AM

    The problem isn’t understanding Jim Johnson’s blitz packages. The problem is knowing which one to use and when. While Johnson’s offense is highly aggressive, it’s also very precise. You have to be able to see the way the game is developing and predict what packages can disrupt what the offense will do next. That is what McDermott never really picked up on. As for Castillo, maybe he’ll succeed and maybe he won’t. He’s not coming into this with a blank slate, however. He coached LBs in college, and he was constantly consulting with defensive coaches and sitting in on defensive meetings while the O-line coach. Hopefully he learned enough to successfully make the switch. If not, someone else will end up with the job eventually. I’m at least willing to wait and see what kind of job he does before I question his skills or his intelligence.

  18. tombrookshire says: May 14, 2011 11:57 AM

    The Eagles FO and HC will tell you they are the smartest guys in football. If they did it at all, that means it was the right decision. Yet, you will see last season repeated this season. Undersized defense, manhandled at the point of attack, uneven play in the defensive backfield, injured and unsteady offensive line. Same, same. Doing the same things, expecting different results is the surest sign of insanity. When will Lurie figure out that his team will go nowhere with this bunch running his team?

  19. mrklutch says: May 14, 2011 12:15 PM

    I really miss JJ. They respected him and learned the scheme. Won’t find another like him.

  20. drbob117 says: May 14, 2011 12:17 PM

    Some of the people on here are just absurd. Castillo wouldn’t be dumbing the defense down for himself, after all he’s been a coach forever, been with the Eagles almost 15 years, and JJ came to him many times when he was O line coach to ask HIM if he thought a particular blitz would work. Because JJ respected other good coaches, and he knew Castillo was a good coach. He is widely respected throughout the NFL. The only place he isn’t respected is by Philly’s media, who couldn’t look any deeper than” how can an O line coach be a defensive coordinator?” I’m sure he’ll do just fine if that unit has any talent on it at all.I know when he came to Philly, the O Line went from one of the worst in the league to one of the best in a fairly short time. Give the guy a chance, they gave up a ton of points last year, so the only way to go is up.

  21. burgado86 says: May 14, 2011 12:30 PM

    LMAO wasnt juan castillo an O line coach before he took the defensive coordinator position??………Have fun with that one sheagles!

  22. nodecafplz1 says: May 14, 2011 12:45 PM

    Current questions marks are at starting corner and injured middle linebacker, not Juan Castillo. He played linebacker in college, so he was defensive-minded first. Jim Washburn will coach the D-line.

  23. starshipseven says: May 14, 2011 12:48 PM

    Who need defense when the Vick/Jackson combo’s throwing up 50 a game!

  24. pacificamjr says: May 14, 2011 12:54 PM

    i was watching To Catch a Predator online last night and the first two dudes who showed up to rape a little kid had an eagles hat and a yankees jacket! typical for the fans of both those squads

  25. dant10 says: May 14, 2011 1:01 PM

    Yeah Mike that was definitely a low blow. No one can say that he will do a great job since we haven’t seen them in action yet. Personally I liked the move and think eagles D is gonna be solid, until the season starts who knows though. But Mike you basically called Castillo dumb, that’s just rude. The guys been a NFL coach for years, he’s obviously doing something right. And not understanding blitzes!? C’mon…

  26. primetimemagik says: May 14, 2011 1:28 PM

    First off, anyone on here saying that O-Line Coach and D Coord. are two completely different positions are ignorrant to the game of football and to Juan Castillo. Castillo is a former linebacker and was a D coach for the start of his career in college. He moved to offense later in his collegiate coaching career then joined the Eagles as an offensive assistant under Ray Rhodes. To be a coach in the NFL you HAVE to know BOTH sides of the ball… plain and simple. Let’s not forget that Harbaugh was only a Special Teams coach before becoming a Head Coach! Other notable coaches switching sides of the ball… Bill Walsh, coached secondary before becoming legendary offensive genius, in fact the Eagles own JJ was a tight end and quarterback before becoming a superior defensive coordinator! Coordinators have to know how to get the most of out of their personnel more than the X’s and O’s… in the NFL, coaches are a dime a dozen that can call good plays. The thing that separates the great coaches from the average ones are those that can MOTIVATE and get the best from their players day in and day out. So everybody out there worrying about this move months later… RELAX!!

  27. thekingdp says: May 14, 2011 2:06 PM

    BTW, McDermott wasn’t JJ’s protege as much as Spagnuolo was.. For every single one of you f**king morons that think Jeffery Lurie & Andy Reid are clueless morons, look at how many Andy Reid assistants are NFL head coaches: Steve Spagnuolo, John Harbaugh, Pat Shurmur, Leslie Frazier, Ron Rivera, and even frigging Brad Childress all got NFL head coaching jobs because the Jeffery Lurie\Andy Reid model of running an NFL franchise WORKS. He wouldn’t have SIX MOTHERF**KING ASSISTANT COACHES as NFL head coaches if they didn’t know what they were doing. I trust their judgments on who’s a good coach and who isn’t over PFT’s cracked writer’s team.

  28. mimitaroo says: May 14, 2011 3:29 PM

    “Still, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for Eagles fans to wonder whether Castillo, a converted offensive line coach, is the one having trouble understanding Jim Johnson’s blitzes.”

    Well I now know of one person who wont be speaking to PFT Live come media day on superbowl week…

  29. nfl25 says: May 14, 2011 4:00 PM

    PFT seems like they arent big eagles fans

  30. readingrugby7 says: May 14, 2011 7:03 PM

    i think it was a smart move i questioned it at first like most,but castillo is one of the most respected coaches not only in the eagles organization but in the nfl as well. as a defensive cordinater you must have the respect of your players and thats what jj had! everyone one of his players would go to war for him and i think they will take to castillo the same way.

  31. melonnhead says: May 14, 2011 7:37 PM

    Time will tell and as a Eagles fan if he sucks trust me the Eagles fans will let him know.

    ————————————————

    Yup. Just as soon as he leaves and is working somewhere else.

  32. primetimemagik says: May 14, 2011 7:46 PM

    PFT seems like they’re not big football fans… just uneducated, ignorrant, never been football playing, media guys!

  33. hendeeze says: May 14, 2011 11:03 PM

    I would have though eagle fans would have put 2 and 2 together, but apparently not.

    When you hire a guy on the otherside of the ball to run your D. Dumbing down will occur. Not for the players sake, but for the Coach. ouch…..

  34. wydok says: May 15, 2011 8:29 AM

    This is old news. Various Philadelphia media were talking about simplifying the defense because McDermott over complicated things BEFORE Castillo was hired.

  35. CKL says: May 15, 2011 10:39 AM

    thekingdp says:
    May 14, 2011 2:06 PM
    BTW, McDermott wasn’t JJ’s protege as much as Spagnuolo was.. For every single one of you f**king morons that think Jeffery Lurie & Andy Reid are clueless morons, look at how many Andy Reid assistants are NFL head coaches: Steve Spagnuolo, John Harbaugh, Pat Shurmur, Leslie Frazier, Ron Rivera, and even frigging Brad Childress all got NFL head coaching jobs because the Jeffery Lurie\Andy Reid model of running an NFL franchise WORKS.
    ___________________________________
    Good points. A big part of how I judge HCs is by their assistants-the handpicked and educated ones. It’s hard to argue that Reid hasn’t done a good job there.

    Also as a Pats fan I can say that I like the way BB cross educates his assistants on all sides of the ball. I think it’s valuable experience and allows coaches to see other aspects of playcalling, scheming and philosophies that they wouldn’t see otherwise. Granted BB doesn’t do that with the long tenured guys like Scar or Weis or Crennel whose tenure on one side of the ball is comparable to Castillo’s, only the younger guys just starting out. So in that aspect, the Castillo move is a bit surprising.

    Also, that guy who said who cares about D when the O scores 50 can’t possibly be an Eagles fan or they would recall that JJ’s D was the biggest reason the Eagles were in so many NFCCs & playoff games to begin with.

  36. sweded775 says: May 31, 2011 5:31 PM

    We went to a superbly behind jjs D bad a$$ playcaller even with fredex playing wr not to mention thrash and pinkston

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