When the Eagles started 1-4 last season, there was a lot of criticism about the decisions the Eagles made on defense during the offseason.
Chief among them was the choice to go with young players at linebacker and safety, a move that led to lots of big plays up the middle of the defense. Andy Reid defended the decisions — and new defensive coordinator Juan Castillo — at the time, but he was singing a different tune at the owners meetings on Wednesday. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer shares some self-critical comments from Reid.
“We had young guys there, and so I knew that going in,” Reid said. “The plan that I had I didn’t execute it very well. Right? Thaty’s my responsibility. I goofed on that one, right? I expected the young guys on defense to get where they’re getting by the end of the season sooner, particularly the middle of the defense — linebackers and safeties. I expected the offense to carry it through. So that part didn’t take place. But to tell you, yeah, your linebackers — the more gaps you open up, the more physical they have to be. That’s how it is.”
The Eagles moved to rectify that problem with the trade for DeMeco Ryans earlier this offseason and other moves they made as 2011 rolled along helped lead to better defensive results. As Reid mentioned, the offense wasn’t able to do enough to carry the team while the defense found its way and that meant the early struggles wound up sinking the Eagles’ season.