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Juan Castillo’s defense starting to get some credit

Andy Reid, Juan Castillo AP

For much of this season, fans and media alike heaped scorn on Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, whose defense was one of the most disappointing units in football — and who looked woefully unprepared to be a defensive coordinator after two decades as an offensive assistant.

But late in the season the Eagles are finally playing good football, and they’re still in the NFC East race, and all of a sudden Castillo doesn’t look like so bad a coach.

Castillo’s defense was singled out on this week’s NFL Matchup, the ESPN show that gives great Xs and Os breakdowns via the all-22 film, for the stunts and blitzes it employed to pressure the quarterbacks in their back-to-back wins over the Dolphins and Jets.

“When you look at this Eagles defense now under Juan Castillo, it’s starting to evolve,” Ron Jaworski said. “A lot more multiple fronts, different looks.”

Jaworski showed two different sacks, one against the Dolphins and one against the Jets, and how the Eagles used a creative front to get to the quarterback on both plays.

“The only two players in three-point stances were defensive tackles Mike Patterson and Cullen Jenkins,” Jaworski said. “Ends Trent Cole and Jason Babin were inside standing up — an unconventional alignment. It was a combination stunt and blitz with linebacker Casey Matthews. It created identification and execution issues for the Dolphins’ offensive line. You had four offensive linemen blocking three rushers. No one accounted for Matthews. This was a change up for the Eagles.”

Babin sacked Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez after he lined up as an inside linebacker, a look that created some confusion for the Jets’ offensive linemen, who didn’t know who was supposed to block Babin.

“This time you had two blocking Patterson,” Jaworski pointed out. “No one accounted for Babin. The Eagles did not win with numbers. They won with scheme — a new wrinkle that has been very effective the last two weeks.”

Babin had three sacks against the Dolphins and three more against the Jets, and he now leads the league with 18 sacks. And Castillo doesn’t look like such a bad defensive coordinator anymore.

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31 Responses to “Juan Castillo’s defense starting to get some credit”
  1. jmclarkent says: Dec 24, 2011 7:39 AM

    If they bring him back next season, they will regret it.

    At the very least, hire an experienced “defensive assistant” to keep him honest.

  2. eigglesnosuperbowls says: Dec 24, 2011 7:47 AM

    C’MON MAN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. howley1 says: Dec 24, 2011 7:47 AM

    It’s pretty obvious that Washburn is running the defense now. Babin does *nothing* but rush the passer. It’s the only thing he does well. Can’t play the run, can’t cover a LB or TE to save his life.

  4. maddenwizkid says: Dec 24, 2011 7:47 AM

    Overrated bums coaching overrated bums, yeah that should get us to the SB or at least a division crown, okay no a playoff berth? How about a winning record? Fine well just settle for a nice piece on pft. When it comes to a championship I guess they can always DREAM. Hey thanx VY u made that easy

  5. vysethelegend says: Dec 24, 2011 7:49 AM

    Two games doesn’t mean it’ll last. There best move would be to hire Spags once he gets fired in St. Louis. The man is basically JJ 2.0 as a DC.

  6. dontouchmyjunk says: Dec 24, 2011 7:58 AM

    Word is that Reid himself is helping out with the defense. Sure does seem like something is happening beyond improved coaching from Castillo.

  7. pkeane91 says: Dec 24, 2011 8:09 AM

    @Howley

    Seriously? you kidding me? a defensive end covering a LB or TE? first things first.. LB’s play defense.

    yeah babin isnt playing the run verywell.. but he can certainly get to the qb better than a hell of a lot of DE/OLB.

    Castillo is letting Babin do what he is good at. credit to him. Castillo has made a top ten defense in yards allowed in his first year. give him some credit. i see him back next year. the Eagles defense will be better, more wrinkles, more plays. they’ll play faster.

  8. rugdaniels says: Dec 24, 2011 8:19 AM

    I’d love to see Reid and Castillo back with the Eagles next year. I love watching their fans flip back and forth between enraged and hopeful every other week. They deserve these guys.

  9. eagleswin says: Dec 24, 2011 8:21 AM

    This is exactly what i was afraid of. The Eagles looking better at the end of the season. You look like crap for 12 games but if you can show improvement after your record is 4-8 it’ll be different next year!

    With good coaching this should not be a team that is fighting to finish at .500. Juan was unprepared for the job and this has been a learning experience for him. The defensive side of the ball was a mess for most of the year and Andy will use this late season surge as an excuse to keep Juan.

    What’s funny is that McDermott got the boot for not turning a much less talented defense into a top defense. I think one of his starting corners isn’t even playing football anymore, yet Andy brings in a ton of defensive talent for his OL coach to coach. Does anyone think that McDermott would’ve gotten alot more out of these star players?

    I still don’t understand why they didn’t put Kafka in over Young when it became woefully obvious that Young has no clue what he’s doing in this offense. Kafka may not be a world beater but he knows the offense and will most likely be on the team next year.

    I guess when you are “all in” you have to start the braindead QB on the 1yr contract because you promised him the #2 job.

  10. jc1958cool says: Dec 24, 2011 8:30 AM

    all the talent on that defense, i could coach and look as good as castillo! what a joke

  11. eaglesnoles05 says: Dec 24, 2011 8:56 AM

    The “Dream” is alive, that’s all I’m saying on this subject, for now. Eagles fans who hope to not make the playoffs to force coaching changes are a buncha _______s. #goFyourself. LEt’s do this, or at least pretend we want to. Good lord.

  12. eaglesnoles05 says: Dec 24, 2011 8:59 AM

    @eagleswin- I liked mcderm, but he has fone jack as a DC. Castillio has now had about as many impressive coaching outings in 14gms than McDermott has had in two seasons. Neither are near the top of my hall-of-fame ballot, but take off the regret goggles and cheer for your team during the season. Bitch in the offseason.

  13. howley1 says: Dec 24, 2011 8:59 AM

    “Seriously? you kidding me? a defensive end covering a LB or TE? first things first.. LB’s play defense. ”

    Yeah typo, that was supposed to be “RB”

  14. blackqbwhiterb says: Dec 24, 2011 9:17 AM

    Before any bashing, remember 2 things- any time you introduce a whole new system, it takes time. And secondly, look at how many points this “awful new defense” gave up against NFC east teams….

  15. plymkr88 says: Dec 24, 2011 9:22 AM

    As a Cowboy fan, I PRAY they bring Juan back.

  16. damko12 says: Dec 24, 2011 9:23 AM

    who is mark sanchez?

  17. mad55555 says: Dec 24, 2011 9:44 AM

    plymkr88 says:Dec 24, 2011 9:22 AM

    As a Cowboy fan, I PRAY they bring Juan back.
    ———————————————————

    He shut your team down! 34-7 Why would you want them to bring him back? Well, you are a cowtread fan, loggic doesn’t enter your bubble.
    HAQHAQHAQ

  18. sonopazzo6 says: Dec 24, 2011 9:46 AM

    Vick vs. Tebow in the Superbowl……the Eagles are victorious, there’s a parade down Broad Street, Amelia Earhart lands in New York, (turns out she just took a wrong turn) Jimmy Hoffa is discovered tending bar in Patterson, NJ, Andy Reid is made Mayor of Philadelphia for life and Juan Castillo is appointed Chief of Police and Minister of Defense…….the anti-christ appears as David Hasselhof in yet another TV series and the Mayan calendar ends the world 9 months early!!!

  19. cleverbob says: Dec 24, 2011 10:01 AM

    If they were truly going “all in” this season, they wouldn’t have gone with a DC that would take 12 games just to get his bearings. They made some necessary and obvious adjustments with the front 7, but they still haven’t maximized the talent they have at CB.

  20. phillyphever says: Dec 24, 2011 10:06 AM

    Well, there’s my lumps of coal in my stocking this year. Ugh, why couldn’t they have melted down and forced Lurie to clean house like this team needs to do?

  21. derekjetersmansion says: Dec 24, 2011 10:30 AM

    Former NFL DC Johnnie Lynn is the secondary coach. Maybe he’s the “experienced defensive assistant”. I wonder how much help he’s giving.

    Statistically, the Eagles D is #10. Lots of meaningless sacks!

    It’ll be interesting to see how the coaching staff changes. I kind of thought they didn’t fire Castillo because they had no one to replace him. Some coaches were too young (Caldwell, Zordich), others were too old and lame (Washburn, Lynn).

    I’m not defending Castillo, just remember they hired DL coach before the coordinator, thinking a young guy would come in and want to work with Washburn. It doesn’t work like that. The coordinator hires the coaches, not the other way around.

  22. adm350 says: Dec 24, 2011 10:37 AM

    Spags……you look better in Eagle Green. How about it. DC……and bring Quentin and Brandon back with you.

  23. laeaglefan says: Dec 24, 2011 10:38 AM

    “”At the very least, hire an experienced “defensive assistant” to keep him honest””

    What is Jim Washburn supposed to be….chopped liver?

  24. 1509lucky says: Dec 24, 2011 10:39 AM

    Still want him GONE!!!!!!!!!

  25. crazimitch says: Dec 24, 2011 10:45 AM

    Considering the high ratings, stadium attendance, and media attention the NFL gets i would think a lot of people are actually watching the games, but that is apparently not the case. In my opinion the Eagles problems are highly correlated to one thing and one thing only and that is not their Defense. That one thing is their Turnovers. They turn the ball over 2.5 times a game. Look back over the last 20 to 30 years and you’ll be hard pressed to find a team with a winning record who turns the ball over that much.
    The Eagles defense is 10th for yards allowed, but close to 20th in poinys allowed. The Eagles offense is in thetop five in yards, but the don’t score like the Saints, Pats, or Packers because those teams dont turn the ball over. In fact those three teams have terrible defenses.
    NFL games are simply awesome to watch, more should start cause its way better than anything else including watching fantasy stats.
    Oh and Tebow is a terrible QB.

  26. freedomispopular says: Dec 24, 2011 10:54 AM

    Before we call for his head, why don’t we see what he can do with an actual offseason under his belt.

  27. lbijake says: Dec 24, 2011 10:59 AM

    If Spags is available, Eagles and Giants will be fighting for him. Definitely agree that if they keep Castille, they need to hire a mentor for him. Both will promise him HC in two to three years.

    @derekjeter, calling Washburn old and lame is a bit off. He almost punched out the OC for lame play calling. Wash has the fire.

    Hope games play out so next weekend in a play in game for NFC East and Broncos.

  28. derekjetersmansion says: Dec 24, 2011 11:45 AM

    @ lbijake

    I bet it’s in his contract that Washburn won’t be asked to be DC. That’s lame.

  29. omegaichiban says: Dec 24, 2011 11:59 AM

    The defense is better now,who cares?? It was crap for much of the year. Castillo was a terrible move!!

  30. cobrala2 says: Dec 24, 2011 12:03 PM

    MDS you sure are getting excited about a mild improvement here.
    Our D couldn’t be more disappointing; they only had one way to go – UP. Castillo gets credit for taking, what, 14 weeks to coach his defense?! Puh-leez guys. SMH

    When our LBs and Safeties show up I’ll believe in Castillo. Until then I pray for Spagz as our DC!

  31. omegaichiban says: Dec 24, 2011 1:19 PM

    What homer gave my previous post a thumbs down? The defense was crap for most of the year. Who is in charge of the defense, Castillo? Terrible move. Now if brown didn’t throw away the 49er game, and Meshawn chose to participate this year, Philly might be in first place. Or if Reid could grasp that the run game is a valid way to win games…should I continue?

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