Juan Castillo Adapting

Posted: August 2nd, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 17 Comments »

For PE.com, I wrote about Juan Castillo and the progress he’s made from last year to this year.  My focus was on how he is handling the role of Defensive Coordinator.   Clearly we’ll have to wait for the season to see the on-field results.

I do think it was important for him to make some changes in the way he carried himself and did things.  He seems much more like a DC this time around.  That will help the players believe in him.  You can bet players were just as shocked as we were when they heard Juan got the DC job.  “The OL coach???”

People generally resist change.  The Giants players weren’t so sure about Steve Spagnuolo when he first got there.  That defense struggled in the preseason and was terrible for the first couple of games.  Once the players got used to the system and started to believe in Spags, things took an unfortunate turn…for the better.

Juan has a chance to succeed this year.  He’s got the personnel.  He’s had the time.  There is stability with the coaching staff.  No excuses.  We’ll find out if he is meant to be a defensive coach or not.

* * * * *

Jamar Chaney was bumped up to the #1 Nickel D, alongside DeMeco Ryans.  Chaney is taking the place of Brian Rolle.  I think this is a promotion for Chaney rather than a demotion for Rolle.  Jamar has played well in recent days and I think the coaches want to reward him.

It would be great if we could find a role for Chaney that he could thrive in.  He showed big time talent for a couple of games back in 2010.  Getting him back to that point is tricky.  Jamar was overwhelmed last year and didn’t handle it well.

One more sign of Castillo’s growth as DC is that he’s not over-praising players this year and isn’t over-using them either.  Chaney was supposed to be the star of the defense.  Casey Matthews was the starting MLB and on the #1 Nickel.  This time around Kendricks is a starter, but is just on the #2 Nickel unit.  Let him get his feet wet instead of overwhelming him with a bunch of different responsibilities.

* * * * *

Jimmy Bama and I did another podcast episode last night.  We’re still working on the levels.  Jimmy is lower than me again.  We’ll keep tweaking that until we get it right.

In the episode, I shared my brilliant new theory for how Andy Reid losing weight is a sign that the Eagles will win the Super Bowl.  This is so genius that you have to think I borrowed Einstein’s brain for a few minutes to come up with it.

* * * * *

Bobby April says for now that Damaris Johnson is the #1 PR and Brandon Boykin is the #1 KOR.  DJ is still trying to make the team so this info must make him pretty happy.  Preseason games will be a huge test for him.  DJ must show he can make defenders miss in live game action.  He did it at Tulsa so I’m assuming that will happen here, but you always want visual proof.

* * * * *

Time to tune in to PE.com for today’s TC coverage.

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  • Mac

    I haven’t seen too many Damaris Johnson highlights… but the ones I have seen, that little dude is quick. Super quick compared to college players. Has he been able to use his quickness and breakaway speed in camp? I would love to see someone other than DeSean field 90% of our punts this year.

  • Skeptic_Eagle

    There are plenty of different personality types around the NFL, I’m not a strong believer that “this kind of guy” or “that kind of guy” can/cannot be a good coordinator. Rex Ryan has gotten some pretty big performances out of his guys in some pretty unconventional ways.

    I think you’re forgetting that some people were praising Castillo’s antics as a “breath of fresh air”, saying he was bringing energy and passion to the defense. I didn’t put a lot of credence in that theory then, and I think a little too much is being made of the change in his demeanor being related to his competence as a coach, now. The proof will really be in the red zone D, and the ability to hold teams off if the offense can get a lead.
    Sure, the Giants players were probably skeptical of Spagnuolo’s qualifications, but players on last year’s Eagles D were extremely righteous in that skepticism of Castillo. You just don’t see a promotion like Castllo’s on the professional level. The jury is still very much out, regardless of his new no-headbutt doctrine. Nnamdi still being used in the slot makes me uneasy.

    • TommyLawlor

      There is no question that different personalities can succeed. Rex Ryan and Bill Belichick are very different, but both defensive gurus. This isn’t about personality, but more accurately presence. A coordinator must have a certain kind of presence. He needs to command respect. That doesn’t mean he can’t be goofy (like Rex or Wade Phillips). Dick LeBeau is more like a professor. Rod Marinelli is like a drill sargent.

      While I like Castillo’s new demeanor, there is no guarantee that he’ll prove to be a good DC. I think this is a step in the right direction, but the proof will be in the pudding.

  • seanjtaylor

    Hey Tommy,

    FO just released updated DVOA and the 2008 Eagles defense shows up in the top 10 of the last 20 years. That was JJ’s last year as DC and the first year with Asante. Maybe a tad early for a full retrospective, but I would love to hear your thoughts on what made that group so good.

    http://www.footballoutsiders.com/dvoa-ratings/2012/introducing-dvoa-v70

    • Eric Weaver

      All that for nothing when they failed in the final 8 minutes of the NFCC game.

    • austinfan

      A schedule of weak opposing QBs.
      Stl – Bulger – washed up
      Dal – Romo (41 points, 312 yards, 2 TD)
      PIt – Big Ben (not a top QB yet)
      Chi – Orton
      Wash – Campbell
      SF – O’Sullivan
      Atl – Ryan (rookie season)
      Sea – Wallace
      NYG – Manning (36 points, 191 yards)
      CIN – Fitzpatrick
      Bal – Flacco (rookie)
      AZ – Warner (20 points, 235 yards, 3 TDs)
      NYG – Manning (14 points, 123 yards, 1 TD)
      Cle – Dorsey
      Wash – Campbell
      Dal – Romo (6 points, 183 yards)
      xxx
      Min – Jackson
      NYG – Manning (11 points, 169 yards)
      AZ – Warner (32 points, 279 yards, 4 TD)

      People complain about the soft schedule for the defense at the end of 2011, but 2008 had a lot of weak QBs, Ryan and Flacco were rookies, Big Ben was inconsistent, Manning was still a work in progress.
      3 games against Manning, 2 against Romo, 2 against Warner.
      (5 of these in the regular season)

      2011:
      Manning (2), Romo (1), Cutler, Brady
      Manning was a better QB in 2011

      2008 was a physical defense, but it was vulnerable to good veteran QBs who weren’t fooled by JJ’s blitzes, but fortunately they didn’t face a lot of those guys.
      I think the 2001 defense was a better group.

      • seanjtaylor

        Good memory. I do think something is off with FO’s adjustments for defense in particular.

      • T_S_O_P

        Big Ben not yet a top QB… Who won the Super Bowl that year?

  • T_S_O_P

    The curious case of Dallas Reynolds who is going to be surpassed as the swing G and back up C by Vandervele, Gibson or others soon, except that it seems he is not. What do we make of his replacement of Mathis today Tommy? Is Reynolds really that sharp on Twitter to fulfil that role?

    • TommyLawlor

      The OL is a giant experiment right now. I don’t think anyone knows what’s going on beyond the starters.

      • T_S_O_P

        In that experiment, and at this moment, Reynolds figures. No?

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

    What does trading for CB Kevin Thomas mean in regard to the Eagles trust in Curtis Marsh?
    If nothing else, I think this goes to show, that we will target a CB quite early in the 2013 draft. Look out for Amerson, Rhodes and Milliner!

  • Eagles1991

    CB Kevin Thomas? What do we know gentlemen?

    • http://twitter.com/alex_karklins Alex Karklins

      The Eagles got him from a team with no CB depth?

  • mcud

    Measurables for Kevin Thomas strikingly similar to Curtis Marsh. Marsh had 3” advantage on the vert (37″ to 34″). Thomas had 7 more reps on the bench (19 to 12). Other than that, pretty similar.

  • Håkan Sandström

    So what do you think about this?:
    UPDATE: The Eagles also just traded Moise Fokou and Greg Lloyd to the Colts for 2010 3rd round pick from USC Kevin Thomas and a conditional 7th round pick.

  • CampDracula

    Hey Tommy- if you haven’t already, you may wanna look into compression to help you with your volume issues on the podcasts.