During the 2011 regular season, Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo was widely criticized for the Dream Team’s failures, and the “wide nine” alignment he employed was mocked.
But there are some strengths of the wide nine, including the way it frees up outside pass rushers. So it’s not surprising that Eagles defensive end Jason Babin is speaking out in favor of keeping Castillo and keeping the wide nine.
Babin, who had 18 sacks last year, said today that people on the outside jumped on the wide nine after the Eagles got off to a rough start, but that in reality the wide nine was just an easy thing to blame.
“When something isn’t working, and you have a new component, what’s the first thing people look at? The new component,” Babin said. “It’s human nature. If we would have won, what’s the first thing [analysts] would have looked at? The wide nine.”
Babin and Trent Cole seem to be in agreement that the Eagles’ defense was just fine last year, and their bad record was more about some bad circumstances than about having a bad team. And the truth is they have a point: Change a play or two over the course of the entire season and the Eagles would have topped the Giants in the NFC East.
So maybe it makes sense that the Eagles aren’t planning any big changes next year. But you can bet that if the Eagles miss the playoffs again at the end of the 2012 season, no one in Philadelphia is going to want to hear about how keeping Castillo’s defense in place was the right move.