Bowles In, Castillo Stays DC

Posted: January 30th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 84 Comments »

We’re finally getting some news.  I’m very happy that the Eagles were able to hire Todd Bowles to be the Secondary Coach.  Good move.  Keeping Juan as Defensive Coordinator – mixed bag.

I wrote previously that Juan didn’t fit the template for recent Super Bowl winners.  Those teams had a veteran DC or someone with an extensive background.  And several of  them learned from a top notch defensive coach.  Juan isn’t a veteran DC.  And while he did spend time working with Jim Johnson on blitzes, that isn’t the same thing as working under him on a daily basis.

Word is leaking now that Andy never considered replacing Juan.  I find this a little hard to believe, but that’s just me reading the tea leaves (southern iced tea and not Snapple for those scoring at home).

The thing about replacing Juan is that I only think Andy wanted someone that would be a slam dunk hire.  I’m guessing he looked around and put out a feeler or two, but nothing ended up working out.

I will admit being frustrated by today’s news that Butch Davis is in consideration for DC down in Tampa.  I think Butch would have been a good hire for our scheme and personnel.  I didn’t talk about him much because I wondered if Butch wanted to watch his son play HS football (here in Chapel Hill where I live).  If Butch is available, I sure hope Andy called him.  Butch is old friends with Tampa coach Greg Schiano so if that job works out, I’m sure their relationship is a big reason why.  Maybe Andy quietly talked to Butch and got a “no” in response.  Who knows…

Now let’s shift back to Juan.  Can he get the job done?  The defense did show serious improvement in the final 11 games.  That’s when Jarrad Page was benched.  We also had stabilized LB by that point.  And my man Derek Landri was doing his thing.

Juan was both part of the problem and part of the solution.  He mis-used personnel early on.  He tried to do too much schematically (which is incredibly ironic based on all his offseason talk).

Thankfully, Juan made changes.  He figured out how to best use his players.   He tinkered with the lineup until guys found the roles that suited them best.  Juan listened to what his players liked and didn’t like and adjusted the gameplans.  He got better.  The players got better.  The defense got better.

Can the Eagles win a Super Bowl with Juan as DC?  I don’t know.  I’m interested to see what he can do with a real MLB.  Of course, he’s got to help pick that guy out.  Juan did a poor job of that last year with Casey Matthews.  There is no guarantee he’ll get it right this year.  I do think we’ll go with a veteran in free agency so it will be much less of a projection than a 4th round draft pick.

I certainly want Juan to get the job done.  I believe in him as a person.  I believe in him as a coach.  As DC…I want to believe, but I really don’t know what I feel.  I do think that he and the players made a lot of progress in 2011.  I’m glad that’s not all out the window.  There is value in building on that foundation.

Is he good enough to beat GB or NO?  Is he good enough to win the big game?  I just don’t know.

As for Bowles, great hire.  He is a former NFL player.  I like that when it comes to someone coaching DBs.  He can talk from experience and the players might be more likely to listen.

I love Bowles background.  He and Reid know each other from the Packers in the mid-90s.  Todd was on the Player Personnel staff.  Then he went and coached in college.  I think that is good experience.  It teaches you how to teach.  Then he spent time with head coaches Bill Parcells and Butch Davis.  He worked with some good DCs:  Mike Nolan, Foge Fazio, Mike Zimmer, and Dom Capers.  Those guys are terrific coaches with a variety of schemes, ideas, and backgrounds.

Bowles has worked in the 3-4 and 4-3.  He’s worked with young players and veterans.  He’s been part of blitz happy groups and coverage based defenses.  He’s seen it all and should have a good feel for what works with what personnel.  There is no magic system that is foolproof.  You must marry scheme and squad.  The 46 Defense wasn’t all that dynamic with Mike Reichenbach instead of Mike Singletary.

Castillo is a coach’s coach.  He’s smart.  He’s been in the business a long time and is highly respected by his peers.  I think he’ll work with Bowles to help us put out the best possible defense.  I don’t see Juan having battles with anyone over power and who’s doing what.  I think he’ll embrace Bowles the way he did Jim Washburn.  Juan knows this is a short timeline he’s working on.  If he wants to stay a defensive coach, he need success in 2012.  He’ll be the DC, but his door will be open to whatever help Bowles can bring to the table.

If you don’t replace Juan, give him the tools that give him the best chance to succeed.  Hiring Bowles is step one in that process.  Add a MLB and then draft a SAM…we might just have a pretty good defense in 2012.  Good enough?  Only time will tell.


  • Anonymous

    T-Law:

    Did AR want to interview Bowles last year for the DC slot, but did the Dolphins refuse to give him permission because TB was still under contract?

    Also, it’s interesting that Johnny Lynn got the axe (CB play was shaky) and Bowles is now in charge of all the DBs . . . but LB coach — Mike Caldwell — still has a job. Even though the Eagle were just terrible at LB last year.

    On that point (LBs), you put the Casey Matthews failure (is there another word?) at Juan’s doorstep.

    But why isn’t Caldwell responsible?

    And by keeping him as LB coach, I’m wondering what message are the Eagles sending out about the LBs?

    Is it “with an off-season, you’ll see a different Matthews and Chaney”?

    Or do the Eagles still have LB at the bottom of the “to do” list?

    • Anonymous

      I think that a large part of it may be the front office and or Andy realizing they probably set Caldwell up for failure. You give me parts to a Ford Pinto don’t ask me to give you 400 horsepower. On the other hand Lynn had plenty of talent to work with and generally underachieved.

      • Anonymous

        I don’t blame Caldwell for not turning Casey Matthews into a credible LB or tell Jamar Chaney not to tackle. Conversely, Brian Rolle played well so it’s not like Caldwell did nothing correctly

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000462635892 Thorin McGee

          Last year seems to have been Mike’s first as LB coach, so maybe he’s getting the same pass as Jaun. Given the lack of success we’ve seen from that spot, I don’t know why we don’t hire a new guy,

    • Anonymous

      LB was the least talented position. As D3FB said, he shouldn’t have been expected to deliver top results with mediocre parts.

      Plus, Lynn was a veteran coach. Caldwell is an up ‘n comer. Johnnie wasn’t a guy Reid really wanted. He was BPA, so to speak. Bowles is an upgrade.

      • Anonymous

        It may be a time for a review of your “Do the Eagles have the worst linebackers in the league?” column from the beginning of last season.

        I still think the shocker from that column was classifying the Eagles linebackers in the same group as a squad with Vilma at MLB.

  • Matthew Butch

    I just don’t think it makes sense to make a change based on one year’s worth of data, when there were plenty of mitigating factors (the biggest being the offseason). Making panicked reactions is a bad way to run any type of operation. The continuity of having the same DC and scheme is huge. They players can concentrate on refining what they do instead of learning yet another scheme. But its nice to see a veteran coach there that Juan can rely on.

  • Anonymous

    I like your choice in iced tea since even if Snapple didn’t suck it would still be way overpriced.

    I just wonder what an experienced DC would have done with Jarred Page and the Eagles linebackers with a new wide 9 line coach and no offseason. By the way on the five losses where we were ahead in the fourth quarter and ended up losing – didn’t the offense suck at the end of those games as badly as the defense? Vick was pretty horrible for most of the season! All we needed was one more win anywhere to displace the Giants and from my standpoint the offense was as culpable as the defense. And on special teams we were good on coverage but I’m having a hard time remembering successful kick or punt returns. I do remember DeSean going backwards a bunch of times. Its certainly fair to criticize Castillo but those criticizing do not generally seem to have a realistic perspective on the season.

    • Matthew Butch

      The offense scored three points in those five losses, and there were many many turnovers.

      • Anonymous

        Good thing we have Marty back as OC . . . to prevent any further 4th Q collapses.

  • Anonymous

    Well, Andy is making my decision on whether to renew my NFL Sunday Ticket incredibly easy. No need to pay for that overpriced service when Andy obviously has no intention of attempting to win.

    • Anonymous

      The biggest problem this team had this past year was turnovers. Eliminate the turnovers and this team would have won several more games.

      If Reid does not convince Vick (and the rest of the skill players) that ball protection is #1 priority this team will disappoint again.

      #5 was a very good QB, but not great, and he did not have the heart of a champion because he wanted to be appreciated even though he never won it all, but he mostly understood that ball protection was key.

      • Anonymous

        #5 didn’t have the heart of a champion?

        Reid surrounded him with crap receivers — absolute garbage.

        In every NFC title game, McNabb’s top three WRs were guys would couldn’t start on another team — except D-Jax in 2008.

        Maybe if Reid had drafted some decent receivers in the 1999-2001 drafts, McNabb would have had the “heart” of a champion.

        And maybe if #5 didn’t run into the 2004 Patriots — the last great dynasty team — he’d had “have the heart of a champion.”

        Respectfully, I don’t buy it.

        Regardless, McNabb valued ball protection.

        In fact, if he was the Eagles’ QB this season, even at his age, they may have made the playoffs.

        Would it matter? The Giants are a better team this year. Better defense. Better QB. Better WRs. Better Head Coach.

        At least right now — when it counts.

        • Anonymous

          I agree on the early years, but McNabb had offensive weapons, and a dominant overall team, in 2004. They were good enough to beat those Patriots, and they didn’t, largely because of McNabb’s turnovers.

          I remember thinking at the end of that game that no matter how many Super Bowls they go on to win, they’ll never get that one back, and it was winnable. The Patriots went almost the entire 1st half without scoring.

          And then T.O. in 2005 happened. Ugh.

    • Anonymous

      Glad someone sees it. Since his job is on the line, Andy has decided to intentionally ruin the team so Lurie and Banner suffer. Big Red is an evil genius. He can then be the BYU coach next year and rule the world while we don’t win a game for the next decade.

      Why god, why????

      • Anonymous

        My bad. I should totally expect different results when the Eagles take almost the exact same approach.

        • Anonymous

          Did they not just hire a better DBs coach? Does Juan not have a year of experience now? Did the defense not improve?

          If we finished 20th or worse across the board, then you’d be right to ridicule AR. That’s not what happened. We can argue about how much the defense improved and where they truly rank, but let’s not act like the group is hopeless. That’s not reality.

          • Anonymous

            “We can argue about how much the defense improved and where they truly rank, but let’s not act like the group is hopeless. That’s not reality.” T-Law makes an excellent point.

            I can be labeled as a big-time skeptic when it comes to the believing the hype in the defensive improvement/renaissance over the last 4, 6, 11 or whatever games this season. But Tommy is right, the defense is not hopeless, and it has talent.

            I believe the larger issue last off season was that Reid/Eagles FO did not put the defense in a position to succeed, and whether they have learned from those mistakes. Last year, Reid hired Castilo as DC after hiring Washburn to install the wide-9 here. Added to that, JC’s staff includes 2 first year position coaches with no experience in the wide-9. Mistake #1. Although, Lynn was a veteran presence, his experience was not evident in the play of the secondary. Mistake #2, not acquiring the players (particularly LBs) necessary for the new defensive system to work. Disaster.

            I like the hiring of Bowles, he’s been an assistant under some solid defensive coaches (Parcells, Wade Phillips, Butch Davis and Mike Nolan). I think his addition will definitely help next season. If the Eagles have learned from the personnel failures, they will get a veteran MLB and upgrade the SAM postion with an impact player (either a high draft pick or FA), someone who is big and can tackle. Will this be enough to get to the Big Dance, likely not, but should be a big improvement from the 2011 Eagles.

          • Anonymous

            This Juan has one year experience now is a bit too optimistic. So does everybody else who worked last year.

            We did get a better DBs coach. We also had a DC with one year experience and a better DBs coach just before Castillo. That worked out really well.

            The defense improved from downright ridiculous to mediocre. Considering that we had about 5-6 potential Pro Bowlers on the defense I don’t see how that should give us any hope.

      • Anonymous

        He’s in cahoots w/ Romney… GASP!

      • Anonymous

        Why do you think his job is on the line?

        • Anonymous

          C’mon . . . at least Reid really did create jobs by firing employees.

          (Tongue planted firmly in cheek.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=565087931 Jeppe Elmelund van Ee

    Tommy,

    Maybe the FO are thinking that they need to retain Shady and Maclin to new expensive contracts within next year, and then maybe DeSean is not worth extending with what he demands.

    With that in mind, I don’t think we will go out an spend big bucks on a FA WR. Otherwise we could just as easily retain DeSean. IF he is let go, I think we spend a 1st or 2nd round pick on a WR.

    Maybe Wright, Sanu, etc… I don’t want Floyd (why didn’t he go to the Senior Bowl? Major red flag in my opinion!)

    • Anonymous

      Eagles don’t overpay guys. They have a figure they think DeSean is worth. And it’s not a cheap figure. This isn’t about being tight. They do know LeSean and Mac need new deals. Overpaying DJax would set a bad precedent. The Eagles want to give him a big bag of cash. He and Drew just want a bigger bag of cash. Adam Caplan was speculating our offer to be $8M per year with them asking for $10M.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000462635892 Thorin McGee

        I understand all of that, but I am still incredibly frustrated that they haven’t been able to break this stalemate. 1 word: incentives!!! This is exactly the situation for those. DeSean doesn’t score enough TDs? Fine! Pay him 7 plus $300K/TD or whatever bridges the gap.

        • Anonymous

          Great idea. Not sure DJ/DR would go for it. I’ll do some digging on the subject.

      • Anonymous

        The Eagles most certainly do overpay guys, there were a host of ‘dream teamers’ that were overpaid.

        • Anonymous

          Who? The only guy I can think of is Steve Smith. Eagles reached for him due to concerns over Maclin. Dumb move, but not the same as truly overpaying a guy. Eagles spent big bucks on VY, but he was more of a bad fit than a guy who got overpaid.

          The Eagles stick as close to value as humanly possible.

          • http://twitter.com/jeppevanee Jeppe van Ee

            How about Stacy Andrews?

          • Anonymous

            He was overpaid based on what we got, but the contract wasn’t out of line when we gave it to him. Argument there is about his health.

            When I say the Eagles don’t overpay, I’m really talking about keeping our own guys. The Eagles did give huge deals to Runyan/Kearse/Asante to bring them here.

            We’ve given out lots of big contracts. Banner very much sticks to the value he has worked out for players and positions. If the player and our value match up, great. However, Eagles aren’t giving blank checks to guys to stick around.

            Compare that to the Raiders. That’s a team that overpays their own guys to enormous deals. 31 other owners/GMs feel like puking after seeing the money doled out by the Raiders because it skews the market.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000462635892 Thorin McGee

            Vince Young was overpaid for a guy who really couldn’t find work elsewhere. For the situation (come to Philly to rehab your QB image) he should have come in for $1 mil or less..

          • Anonymous

            Ronnie Brown? Never has been paid so much per carry in his career. Seriously, it was no surprise really that we didn’t make use of a back up RB was it? The OT from Denver? Smith, as stated. And V the dream Y, who as pointed out, was a bad fit. How many of those dollars were well spent? How many were overspent? When have we ever paid that much for players on our squad that would be back ups and 3rd stringers? It was a unique off season and more than ever before, Lurie’s dollar was wasted.

          • Anonymous

            We’re just disagreeing on the word overpay. I’m talking about winning a bidding war to get someone signed. You’re talking about guys who got too much money based on production.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=47904149 Liam Garrett

            Let’s also keep in mind that some of those were 1-year contracts. It’s not like those contracts made lasting impacts on our long-term payroll and cap-space.

        • Anonymous

          Outside of Steve Smith, every deal we made was reportedly below the market value. It was regularly reported that players took less to come here. There may be an argument that they signed too many players, but I don’t think you can say they overpaid any particular player (again, outside of Steve Smith).

      • http://Twitter.com/JT_Football Joe Taylor

        You’re right. The Eagles don’t overpay players usually.

        There’s one exception though…
        I think the contract we gave Vick was WAYYY too much…Vick has the contract of an ELITE QB…He’s not even a top 10 PASSING QB…He’s a playmaker but when it comes down to being a true passing QB, he isn’t close to being one of the best QB’s in the NFL…

        Matt Stafford, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Eli Manning, Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Matt Shaub, and Andy Dalton are all QB’s that are a better passer than Vick…Don’t get me wrong, Vick isn’t garbage…Vick is a top 5 QB when it comes to being a PLAYMAKER..Because of his feet and his speed. Along with the way he can bail himself out of pressure. But every QB I listed is a better passer than Vick…Vick might have a better deep ball but when it comes to an overall better passer, all the QB’s I listed are for the most part better than Vick….

        But yet Vick get’s a 100 million dollar contract?
        After only 1 good year of passing?
        You can say that this year he didn’t do good because of the lack of offseason..Doesn’t matter though…If he’s good enough to receive that type of contract, that shouldn’t be an excuse..

        How many times did Vick throw AWFUL INT’S this year, or almost INT’s? Passes where you were like “I have no clue WTH he saw, or what he was trying to do?”??? Too many for a million dollar man..

        But other than that, the most recent overpaid player was probably Stacy Andrews. He was coming off an ACL injury and you give him that contract? Wow.

  • Anonymous

    Of course Andy was searching around. The whole “never seriously considered replacing him” is crap. While players or coaches are on this team or on his staff, he will always put a 2′-0″ thick concrete wall up between the media and those guys. Castillo is no exception.

    And actually, I think that is one of the reasons his players play for him and one of the reasons he still has a job.

    Some people (Rueban Frank) appear to take it personally…like they deserve the complete truth.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3NL63T2EE6YX3FQK4XNWEYJ2UM george

    Tommy,

    I had no idea you live in Chapel Hill. I just moved to Raleigh from PA and found a great group of guys to watch Philly sports with. Check it out and hopefully you can make an appearance to a game next season!

    http://www.meetup.com/Raleighgles/

    • Anonymous

      Talk to common people? Perish the thought.

      It is fun to watch games with fans. Just gets hard to step away from the PC. Hit me up next fall and we’ll see how things go.

  • Steven Dileo

    “I wrote previously that Juan didn’t fit the template for recent Super Bowl winners. Those teams had a veteran DC or someone with an extensive background. ”

    We set our own trends, Thomas.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000462635892 Thorin McGee

      Yep, a trend is just a trend until you have a new one.

    • Anonymous

      Brilliant. And true.

  • Anonymous

    Spags was in his first year as DC in NY. Giants defense struggled most of that year as he learned what he was doing. They actually played much better in 2008 after peaking in the 2007 playoffs.

    If the Eagles hadn’t improved on defense, no Jay Juan returns.
    But they ended up 7th in FO’s weighted DVOA ranking (weighted toward recent games).
    That’s not a bad finish, given that FO weights by strength of opponents as well.
    Juan made some mistakes early on, but figured out how to get the most of his safeties and LBs as the season progressed, but was also put in a bad situation when they didn’t trade Asante.

    I think Bowles was a good pickup, hopefully he’ll provide the help than Lynn failed to deliver.
    Zordich and Caldwell got their guys to play better as the season progressed, see Matthews and Clayton in the nickel, Jordan at SLB, Rolle at WLB, Coleman and Allen down the stretch.

    Juan did get creative with blitzes toward the end of the season, with a whole offseason, he has a chance to get creative with the wide 9 – note that he had his group outplaying the Lions by a wide margin by the end of the season (Detroit was 13th in weighted DVOA), and the Lions had those “veteran” LBs in Tulloch and Durant, Suh and Fairley at DT. And that’s with Schwartz as HC in Detroit.

    Not saying Juan is a lock to build the next great defense, but given his finish, the fact he works well with Washburn, and the lack of anyone other than Spags who was a credible upgrade, it’s far from the worst move they could make.

  • Anonymous

    I think the D will be good next year, top 15 at least and could be better. The whole unit will have a boost like a 2nd year player does.

    Off topic question: back-up QB is obviously a huge need now, maybe even more pressing than LB. If Vick throws an unhealthy amount of INTs in the first couple games, would Andy bench him for our super-reliable rookie/vet QB that’s TBD? My greatest fear is that Vick doesn’t have “it” anymore and the whole team really droops when he’s not playing well.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MIZ4JYNOUKDWRGXHDRK2MSY5AU Zachary

      We were top 15 this year….our defensive numbers were fine except Red Zone and take aways….

      • Anonymous

        Deleted by commenter

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MIZ4JYNOUKDWRGXHDRK2MSY5AU Zachary

    Does this move really help the team?

    We need more take aways, and more red-zone stops…I don’t dislike adding a talented coach, but I’m not sure there will be a noticable impact from a DB coach…

    Hope I’m wrong, but I think our defense needs to tackle better, hit harder, catch the damn ball and stop falling apart at the worst possible times….not sure Todd can fix all that….

    So here’s to hoping the Eagles add a shit ton of offense so the defense can be like the Patriots, Packers or Saints and we can win 40-35

    • Matthew Butch

      I’ve heard from a Niners fan that they hated Lynn when he was there. Bowles is an upgrade, even if we didn’t necessarily need it.

    • Anonymous

      Well you see after Juan has an entire offseason to eat dinner with the Matthews family, he will just have even more of a focus on fundamentals.

      • Anonymous

        They better set up a freaking buffet at the Matthews villa.

  • Anonymous

    There is one thing I am curious about with the Bowles hiring. What happens if Castillo struggles early in the season? Last year, I think they had to stick with Castillo because he was still new and getting adjusted to being DC. On top of that, there was not really a guy that could step in and be DC (Washburn I believe has said he doesn’t want to be DC). Now that Castillo has a year of experience and we have Bowles, if we do struggle early in the season, do you think it is possible the Eagles make an in-season change and demote Castillo? I really hope it does not come to that, but I am not sold on Castillo yet, so I do like that we have an experienced defensive coach who clearly has bigger goals than DB coach on the staff.

    • Anonymous

      Reid is on the hot seat. If things do go sideways, I think it is possible Reid could make a change. This wouldn’t be after a bad game or two. This would have to be something where Reid got the feeling change was absolutely necessary. Once you make a change, there is no going back. That’s not something you do lightly.

      • Anonymous

        Oh, I agree with you there. I wouldn’t expect him to make a change unless the defense struggles over a multiple game span. If the defense does struggle, I wouldn’t expect a change until close to midseason.

        Hopefully this doesn’t turn into something we have to worry about, but like I said, I am happy we brought in a guy that would likely be more than willing to take on the responsibilities of DC if need be.

  • Anonymous

    “southern iced tea and not Snapple for those scoring at home”

    So I see you like a little tea in your glass of sugar.

    • Anonymous

      Yes. And with lemon so that I can claim I ate a piece of fruit that day.

      • Anonymous

        I’ll be honest, I have lived in Nashville for the last 3 years, and I still can’t stand sweet tea. Super-saturating tea with sugar just doesn’t do it for me.

        • Anonymous

          You are dead to me.

        • Anonymous

          I’m gonna respectfully disagree as well.

          • Anonymous

            Who are you disagreeing with? I’m not sure whether to embrace you as my brother or denounce you as the enemy.

          • Anonymous

            I’m a sweet tea fiend. My original post was more clear, but I made a tasteless joke and edited down to just that.

            Bottom line: When back in Jersey, I have to drink soda, and it sucks.

  • Kammich

    I haven’t really chimed in on all of the DC drama because I felt as though it had been covered from every angle with every opine. Now that there is something concrete and official, I do feel a bit relieved.

    As soon as Spagnuolo came off of the market, I felt that this exact course of action(add Bowles, retain Castillo) was the best course of action. I don’t believe in change for the sake of change, and unless there was a CONSIDERABLE upgrade, I think Castillo’s last 11 games earned him a sophomore shot. I wish him the best of luck, and am pleased to add a talented young assistant in Bowles.

    Now give him some complimentary chess pieces via FA and the draft and we’ll see what this defense is really made of.

    • Anonymous

      This pretty much sums it up. I think a lot of people would have been happy with change for the sake of change, but I think all the offseason change is one reason why we were so sloppy at the outset of the season.

  • Anonymous

    ravens and steelers have had great D’s forever. that makes me think its mostly scheme. or maybe they draft differnt types of players than we do. or maybe a combo of both. i get a feeling they go after tougher guys than we do. it sounds funny but when i look at the steelers/ravens i feel like they look kind of intimidating and i feel like we def dont look intimidating.

    what are they doing that we are not? to me AR is really smart guy, I feel like he can figure it out. i just dont get what has been going on with the D since JJ passed away. we have enough good players, other than LB. wasnt JJ an LB coach in Seattle when AR hired him, so AR is smart enough to figure it out. people act like JJ was Dick Labeau when AR hired him. the only reason i have any trust juan can pull it out is cuz im trusting AR

    • Anonymous

      Steelers have Dick LeBeau, you can’t imitate what he does, when he leaves, the Steelers are in a world of hurt trying to replace him.

      The Ravens have a consistent philosophy from the FO down, they’ve gone through 4 DCs (5?) the last decade and gradually evolved from a 3-4 to a 3-4 hybrid.
      Marvin Lewis 1999-2001
      Mike Nolan 2002-2004
      Rex Ryan 2005-2008
      Greg Mattison 2009-2010
      Chuck Pagano 2011

      Ray Lewis got hurt in 2002 and the defense stunk, even with Ed Reed as a rookie.
      Lewis is the one constant on the Raven defense, when he retires, they’ll be in a world of hurt.

      Kiffin had a great defense in TB with an undersized 4-3 with cover 2, Dungy did the same in Indy with inferior talent that was a top defense as long as Sanders was healthy.
      Chicago has also had success with the 4-3 cover 2.

      Patriots and Eagles were probably the best defenses from early in the decade, NE used a 3-4, Eagles used a zone blitz 4-3 with man coverage.

      Point is there are lots of ways of building solid defenses (not just one year wonders like the Giants in 2008). The wide nine, with press coverage and a modified zone blitz scheme (which regularly sends a LB or the SS but doesn’t reveal which one before the snap) could be very effective if they can upgrade the LB core.

      • Anonymous

        Not so fast Tex. The big difference between the Eagles and Ravens, Steelers and the teams you mentioned is the talent (mostly acquired through the draft). All of those teams spent a lot of high picks on talented defensive players (even the absurd thought of using a 1st round pick on a LB). Look at the core players on the Ravens, Steelers, and the Bucs/Colts (super bowl squads) and you’ll see a lot of 1st round or 2nd round picks. The Eagles under Reid are good at drafting on the offensive side of the ball but defense is another story.

        • Anonymous

          Steelers:
          2011:
          1-31 Heyward DT
          3-95 Curtis Brown CB
          2010:
          2-52 Jason Worilds OLB
          2009:
          1-32 Evander Hood DE
          3-96 Keenan Lewis CB
          2008:
          3-88 Bruce Davis ILB
          2007:
          1-15 Lawrence Timmons ILB
          2-46 LaMarr Woodley OLB
          2006:
          3-83 Anthony Smith S
          2005:
          2-62 Bryant McFadden CB
          One good defense draft in seven years

          2011 starters –
          Casey Hampton 1-2001
          Brett Keisel 7-2002
          Smith 4-99 / Hood
          Harrison UDFA-2002
          Timmons 1-2007
          James Farrior FA-2002
          Woodley 2-2007
          Ike Taylor 4-2003
          Troy Polamalu 1-2003
          Ryan Clark – FA 2006
          William Gay UDFA-2007

          • Anonymous

            Out of your list I would count Timmons & Woodley as good. J. Farrior is a former 1st round pick. 2005 Super Bowl team had Porter a 3rd round pick.

          • Anonymous

            Babin just like Farrior was a former 1st rd pick/FA. Eagles ’09 draft was better than any of theirs in the 1st 2 rds. Maclin 19th, Jason Peters for our 28th & 4th rd. pick and McCoy in 2nd rd. A 27 yr old 2x consecutive Pro Bowler when we got Peters, McCoy in his 1st Pro Bowl and Maclin’s a very good and improving player. Can’t use draft picks much better than that.

          • Anonymous

            EZ, the topic is defense and comparisons to the Ravens and Steelers. Your response would be fine if Castilo was still an offensive assistant.

  • http://twitter.com/n3th3rman Christopher Miller

    I will defer to the clearer heads here, but I, for one, am very disappointed. I guess we should be thankful Bowles did not get a better offer or we could not even enjoy that minor victory.

    In lieu of this news, I feel even more strongly we need a veteran MLB. We cannot leave to chance going to the draft praying that Luke is there for us or that they won’t somehow bungle the chance to get the one guy that probably has the skill set to succeed despite having an inexperienced position coach. I am not saying it has to be the top tier guy like Lofton, but I think it needs to be someone that can be placed out there with little to no guidance and can be reliable in their role while guiding the guys around them. Even better if they can help mentor the other young LB’s.

    I also think we need to be very aggressive setting up the offense as our strength until the defense can get up to speed (we start slow every year and with what I hope is 2 or even 3 new starters at LB, I see no reason to think next year will be any different). To do that, I hope we go hard after VJax. I am ok letting DJax go if we replace him with Vincent or someone of equal quality and someone like Adams in the draft. Vick needs a real go to guy for every down and distance opposite of Maclin to encourage him to stay in the pocket and not sacrifice his body making plays. VJax, Maclin, Avant, Adams, Celek, Shady, Vick = defensive nightmare. Then go into the draft truly looking for BPA.

    • Anonymous

      I’ve been advocating for Dwayne Bowe, but otherwise I agree FA ideally should net an LB and a top-tier WR, consider our hands are tied with DeSean (although if he were the WR, that’d be fine by me).

      The draft will go much, much better if we don’t feel like we *have* to come out of it with our solution at LB.

      • Anonymous

        I think if we get the MLB in FA then our boy Garcon should be the guy to get in FA. He is a second tier WR in an already saturated market. Then in the draft you go get Floyd, Sanu, Jones, early. In the later round take Adams, Jordan White, or Ryan Broyles and stash his ass on IR for a year. Much cheaper on the cap. More depth.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Scott-Buchanan/1557343118 Scott Buchanan

    Ahhh Chapel Hill NC…Gods country! Go Heels

    • Anonymous

      Not a Heels fan (I’m a Hokie), but I love Chapel Hill. I’ve actually tried looking for jobs in the triangle area with no luck because I think it’d be a great place to live.

  • Anonymous

    Tommy,
    I love coming here for my daily dose of rational, well-thought-out Eagles arguments with specifics.

    I’m not sure anybody’s thrilled with Juan, or would have been torn up if we’d upgraded. But there’s widespread disagreement over whether not firing him is the worst thing the Eagles could have done.

    Frankly,
    Juan Castillo didn’t have 38 turnovers or miss key field goals or ditch his assignment on a key third down, or hold the ball for eight seconds when there were eight left in the half, or run backwards and fumble a punt, or throw an INT right to the other team’s LB or let a 260-pound running back catch a 45-yard touchdown pass or all the other things that submarined the Eagles’ season.

    Juan had his issues, but anyone who thought that firing him alone, and starting over with another okay DC would have made up for what ailed this team clearly hadn’t been watching the games very closely, or just needed a scapegoat for how lame it feels to go 8-8 and miss the playoffs.

    • Anonymous

      Really well said. If I thought firing Juan would have fixed everything, I’d have driven to Philly and done it myself.

  • Anonymous

    I’d feel better about Castillo if replacing him on the offensive line didn’t produce immediate positive results. Let’s be honest here: If Juan Castillo was fired rather than promoted last season we’d all be calling it one of the best moves of the offseason right now. We’d be wondering why Reid hadn’t fired Castillo sooner.

    Here’s a question that I think the Castillo supporters should consider: When the Eagles greatest positional improvement came from replacing Castillo in a position he held for 10 years, why do you think that Castillo will have more success in a position where he has no experience?

    • Anonymous

      Juan was beset by a lack of talent in his last few years on the OL. The fact is that for Juan’s style to work with the big dancing bears you need physical freaks. They have to be fairly talented to begin with. The thing about Mudd’s system is it is almost the moneyball of football. You take smaller athletic but less physically impressive. Just like Kelce. You can find him late. And rather than using them in a traditional 1vs1 manner you use a zone blocking scheme. Also Mudd is widely to considered to be the best OL coach in the HISTORY of the league. Kind of unfair to judge Juan who was a good OL coach against that.

    • Anonymous

      Juan did a solid job at OL. He had to develop a line to pass block for a QB who lead the league in throws over 20 yards, who held the ball probably longer than any QB in the league.

      Replacing Juan with Mudd would be like replacing Spags with Dick LeBeau.
      You might be good, but you’re not a legend.

    • Anonymous

      You do realize that Howard Mudd is one of the great OL coaches in history, right?

      Juan was solid. Nothing more, nothing less. Mudd is a legend.

      • Anonymous

        I have to admit when he changed the starting line up prior to the 1st game, by putting Herraman in as the starting RT without seeing him play one snap at the position, I said it would be a complete disaster. Mudd definitely proved me wrong. He held up solidly.

        Tommy, I was looking over Peters profile on PE and noticed he played RT his first 16 games as an OLineman and was wandering since that’s Vicks blindside, if he’s able to perform just as well as he does at LT would you start him there instead? Haveing the best most athletic T in the league protecting Vicks blindside I’m guessing would make him more comfortable in the pocket and only help improve his game.

        Also wandering if you think they could trade JamJax to Cleveland or somewhere for a 4th or 5th rd pick. Cut Justice so they can sign Dunlap, probably for a lot less, while getting a younger, better, healthier, LT & RT who seems to have steadily improved each yr, as well as showing success in Mudd’s system. At 26 I’d hate to let a young drafted talent leave for some unknown; even if it meant letting him challenge for a starting position. What’s the point of drafting players that continue to improve just to release them & use another draft pick who may or may not produce nearly as well then spend more picks if they continue to not work out. Justice seems to always have some sort of problem or another, but we spend like $4 million a yr on him and he’s less talented at this point.

  • Anonymous

    Tommy.

    Would you consider doing an article outlining factors/possibilities for DJ’s future?

  • Pingback: The Linc – Reactions To Bowles Hire, Castillo Non-Fire | Sports Feedr

  • Anonymous

    Tommy,

    I am sorry if you have covered this already, or are going to cover in a post later, but you have mentioned that you think the Eagles will go after a MLB in free agency rather than the draft. Is there anyone out there who is an upgrade over Chaney/Matthews that is expendable enough to make it to a new team? Are you thinking about a Dan Connor type player?
    Also, do you think its fair to say that NE does with Defensive Backs what the Eagles do with Line Backers, yet they make it work and we dont?
    Just looking for your perspective or anyone elses?
    Thanks,
    Scott