The Importance of Iowa?

Posted: July 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 36 Comments »

I bought my Sporting News College Football Preview magazine yesterday.  I’ve done that now for 17 straight years.  It is the best college preview magazine there is, from a national standpoint.  I was thumbing through the magazine and I stumbled onto Iowa’s page.  That’s when an interesting thought occurred to me.

Their defensive coordinator is a man named Norm Parker and he’s one of my favorite football coaches.  Norm runs a simple defense.   He plays mostly Cover 2 behind a 4-3 front that attacks upfield with a 1-gap scheme.  He likes light defensive linemen that can penetrate and be disruptive.  Norm believes in keeping things simple and letting his players play fast.  Sound familiar?

Juan Castillo’s son Greg is a DB for Iowa.  I know Juan goes to games when he can and he obviously watches every Iowa game.  I wonder how much of an influence Iowa has had on his defensive ideas.

The Hawkeyes are very good defensively.

2010 — 25th in yards, 7th in points

2009 — 10th in yards, 8th in points

2008 — 13th in yards, 5th in points

2007 — 36th in yards, 12th in points

You can see they are really hard to score on.  Obviously that is a key point for us.  The last 2 years we were solid in terms of yards allowed, but poor in terms of points allowed.

Iowa doesn’t get great recruits.  They take good players and find the right spot for them in Norm’s system.  They develop the players in the weight room and on the practice field.  The best thing about the defense is how it functions as a unit.  You know the old saying…the whole is better than the sum of the parts, that’s Iowa defense.  They play really good team defense, a weakness of the 2009-2010 Eagles.

I don’t know if Iowa and Norm Parker did have influence on Castillo or if this is pure coincidence.  If Castillo did choose to borrow some ideas from them, that’s fine with me.  Parker is a terrific coach.  As a Penn State fan who once saw his team lose 6-4 to Iowa, I can personally attest that they know how to play defense.

36 Comments on “The Importance of Iowa?”

  1. 1 Cliff said at 12:16 PM on July 4th, 2011:

    Can’t believe college football is almost upon us already.

    Speaking of our defense… have you seen the latest “Trent Cole is underrated” stat? According to Pro Football Focus, Cole blows away all 4-3 defensive ends.

  2. 2 mcud said at 12:33 PM on July 4th, 2011:


    Saw that about Cole. It left me wondering, how would Trent measure up if teams actually designed game plans around him, like they do with guys like Peppers, Freeney, Tuck, Allen, etc? No disrespect to Trent, but he wouldn’t scare me the way some other DEs would. I honestly don’t know how to classify Trent Cole. Very good? Great?

    Opposite argument for Nnamdi. Teams are obviously terrified of throwing his way. Would his stats look better if he was a slightly “lesser” player? What would an OC do if he HAD to throw at him more, like he would if he had a player like Samuel on the other side? Reason #14 why I want Asomugha.

  3. 3 Cliff said at 12:46 PM on July 4th, 2011:

    Also, have we talked about Eric Weddle as a possible free agent target?

    Does he make sense? Are we sold on the coaches being sold on Jarret as a long-term player?

  4. 4 CVD said at 1:38 PM on July 4th, 2011:

    good catch tommy, makes sense. we also drafted a guard from iowa i believe.

    i like weddle but why not just keep Q then? i think they like their young safties. i love nate allen, i feel like he could be a dawk type blitzer. and i am ok with k coleman if jarret isnt ready to start (as long as we get a good right corner). i got a good feeling about jarret too

    but i wouldnt be upset if we signed weddle

  5. 5 nicolajNN said at 2:41 PM on July 4th, 2011:

    Interesting perspective Tommy. You have talked a lot about Castillo as DC and the challenge of game-time adjustments and I was thinking will personnel packages, who to have on the field and when be a challenges too or is that “easy”?

    It also occurred to me that with ½ year worth of FA speculation a lot of people will disappointed no matter who we sign or trade for

  6. 6 Cliff said at 3:38 PM on July 4th, 2011:

    RE: Weddle vs. Q

    It would be about age. Weddle is only 26, I believe. It’s just a thought. I only realized Weddle would be a free agent today, which is really the only reason I’m mentioning him.

  7. 7 Cafone said at 4:04 PM on July 4th, 2011:

    Interesting point of view, but it is worrying that we know so little about the philosophies of our new defensive coordinator that you can posit the idea that he may take influence from the defensive coach of his son’s college team and the only legitimate response is “Maybe… Who knows? I guess we’ll find out.”

  8. 8 Eric said at 6:29 PM on July 4th, 2011:

    So I see Charles Johnson makes that DE list with Cole. We keep talking about RCB, but with Graham possibly out until mid-season, do they consider signing Johnson?

  9. 9 McG said at 11:05 PM on July 4th, 2011:

    Since the first time i saw someone mention Charles Johnson… I’ve been advocating that he will be our “aggressive” move. If I’m Roseman and trying to build a winner I focus on these efforts:

    Trade Kolb for DRC plus a 3rd
    Sign Charles Johnson
    Sign Tavaris Jackson or Mark Bulger

    Wait for Washington to drop Fat Al and get him on the cheap if possible.

  10. 10 Cliff said at 11:47 PM on July 4th, 2011:

    @ McG

    I like that plan!

    But I wonder what that would mean for Trent Cole. He might finally reach his boiling point if he sees the F.O. paying ANOTHER defensive end big money (Darren Howard counts too). If I were him, I’d go nuts.

    The F.O. could rationalize their decision by saying Johnson is 25 and has a longer career ahead of him (Cole turns 30 in October). But Cole is only human… and a football player… which means he doesn’t care if some punk 25 year old has more tread left on the tires.

  11. 11 ICDogg said at 5:12 AM on July 5th, 2011:

    How is Asante Samuel used in such a scheme? Seems like a waste of his talents.

  12. 12 Davesbeard said at 7:29 AM on July 5th, 2011:

    Cover 2 cornerbacks have plenty of time to stare at the Quarterback. Pretty sure Samuel could make that work! Might even prolong his career as his deep speed would become less important.

  13. 13 izzylangfan said at 10:00 AM on July 5th, 2011:

    Interesting, but it does not answer what for me is a key question. How do you know if something that works in the college game will carry over to the pro game. This is especially vital when you have an inexperienced DC since we do not yet know if Castillo’s defensive instincts and beliefs will work in the NFL . After all I still get a good chuckle just thinking about Dan Snyder hiring Steve Spurrier to bring in the Run and Shoot. Offense, I know but isn’t that still a relevant example?

  14. 14 McG said at 11:34 AM on July 5th, 2011:

    @ Cliff

    Yeah you raised my biggest concern with this plan. I believe we can get a few more good years out of Trent Cole especially in a rotational system like Washburns wide 9.

    I would like to see the Eagles front office pay him what he deserves so long as it doesn’t impede the growth of the whole team.

    I guess I would add to my previous post that doing contract negotiations with Trent Cole and DeSean Jackson.

  15. 15 eagles nut said at 12:17 PM on July 5th, 2011:


    When sites like CSN Philly blatantly steal your idea for articles do you get a finder’s fee?

  16. 16 CVD said at 12:19 PM on July 5th, 2011:

    Wow I didn’t realize weddle was that young. With 2 second round picks over the last two years and K Coleman looking like a solid pick, I don’t see them spending top dollar on a safety. But I def wouldn’t mind picking him up.

    I think Chicago Bears run the same scheme, pretty sure that’s what Castillo said. So it works in the NFL

    MCG. Dude I would be the happiest guy in the world if it went down like that. I have been thinking the same thing. But minus DRC. I want DRC badly but I don’t see it happening, I think we just get picks. I see us getting Ike, johnson, and trying for Albert. Or maybe just Namdi and trying for Albert. I am happy either way.

    And we need to throw Cole some cash. He deserves it.

  17. 17 Cliff said at 1:51 PM on July 5th, 2011:

    @ McG

    Yeah, as important as it is that we find a starting CB before the season starts, it feels more important to hurry up and extend DeSean. I know Rosenhaus and DeSean have handled the contract situation perfectly so far… but we don’t need any distractions this season or next. We’re so close to a Super Bowl.

    On that note, I wonder how contract negotiations with DeSean will impact Jeremy Maclin. Maclin can’t get the same money as DeSean, can he?


    Look at those stats and you see both guys have important roles in our offense.

  18. 18 CVD said at 2:01 PM on July 5th, 2011:

    yeah maclin is just as important as desean. desean is jut more explosive. but maclin is very consistent.

    but i think maclin should be getting paid pretty well right now. he was the 19th pick so doesnt he get decent $$? desean was middle to end of round 2.

    but i am sure come contarct year he will want to get paid if he is still perfroming like this. i think maclin takes a big step this year

  19. 19 CVD said at 2:07 PM on July 5th, 2011:


    8/4/2009: Signed a five-year, $15.5 million contract. The deal includes $9.5 million guaranteed. 2011: $658,500, 2012: $993,250, 2013: $1.603 million, 2014: Free Agent

    desean gets 565k this year, thats pretty bad. i could see desean wanting to be traded if he doesnt get paid. maclin seems like a reid guy and if he keeps getting better i would think we would extend him before his final year

    this website has all salsries. its pretty cool

  20. 20 CVD said at 2:09 PM on July 5th, 2011:

    mccoy is very underpaid. if he continues to play well i think we have to extend him after this year.

    2011: $490,000, 2012: $575,000, 2013: Free Agent

  21. 21 McG said at 3:26 PM on July 5th, 2011:

    Good stuff CVD.

    Thanks for the link!

    There are a lot of fans who have been down on Reid and the draft… but I think your contract numbers for Maclin, Jackson, and Shady prove that Big Red and Co. have done a pretty lights out job on evaluating offensive talent.

    Here’s to the notion that Washburn can turn some of our high draft picks (Bunk and Mike Patterson) into pocket collapsing nightmares for the other team. Maybe he can even polish up Te’O and get something out of that young “high motor” player. We all know he loves Brandon Graham, so hopefully he will stick around long enough to help our most recent high defensive pick into a stud.

    Let’s hope the CBA talks go more smoothly than this Casey Anthony trial…

  22. 22 CVD said at 3:33 PM on July 5th, 2011:

    Thanks McG

    I feel like Wasburn could make or break this D. If he is as good as i think he will be, then i think our D could make a complete turn around.

    dont get me started on that trial. my girl has been watching it over the last month and i really got into it this weekend. i cant belive she got off. wow, i need some football to watch, hahahah

  23. 23 McG said at 4:41 PM on July 5th, 2011:

    I know right?

    Has any other sport managed to polarize fans the way the NFL has during their lockout? I mean, those of us who are rabid fans are scratching out the smallest tidbits of information searching for anything to rouse our interest.

    All the while, the average fan doesn’t even seem to notice that the lockout is happening because so far the season hasn’t been honestly threatened… yet.

    So is this a possible stroke of genius, or just a happy coincidence?

  24. 24 CVD said at 7:09 PM on July 5th, 2011:

    seriously. when this is all over and the eagles start making moves, it will feel like christmas morning when i was 5 years old. i will never appreciate preseason games more than i will this year. no matter how bad the commentating is i will watch every snap, except for the final game. final preseason game is pretty bad after the first half.

    i really think this thing will be settled by the begining of next week. it seems like they are finishing up a deal but dont want to let anyone know until it is 100% finalized.

  25. 25 Cliff said at 8:38 PM on July 5th, 2011:

    RE: LeSean and Maclin

    That’s what I mean though. Aren’t we getting close to the time when we usually re-sign our good young guys? I guess Maclin is a couple years off, but we could use some of this projected cap space to extend LeSean and front-load some salary, right?

  26. 26 Steag209 said at 11:27 PM on July 5th, 2011:

    Living and growing up in Iowa, I love this defense and the production they get out of small school farm kids. With that said, if Castillo copies anything besides the keeping things simple I will be very disappointed. I always found it funny how, on Saturdays I watch the Iowa defense never blitz and then on Sundays see the Eagles blitz almost once a series if not more, and while it works for the Hawks to not send extra guys, I have always been more of a fan of the defense creating plays that the Offense has to react against instead of always having be the reactee on defense. Ray Lewis said it best back in 2000 when they were crazy good, that they don’t base their defense on how the offense reacts, they dictate to the offense how they need to play. (As a disclaimer I realize I’m only talking about roughly a quarter or so of defensive snaps played that teams actually make the decision on whether or not to blitz)

  27. 27 ATG said at 1:43 AM on July 6th, 2011:

    I said the same thing, worrying about the blitz going away. It was pointed out to me that what is exciting about a blitz is getting to the QB and taking control of the snap. If we can do that with just four guys, you are going to see the opposing QB on the ground more often. That will also be exciting.

  28. 28 Iowa Eagle said at 2:32 AM on July 6th, 2011:

    Anyone else get the feeling DJax will shut down negotiations this year, and head for Free Agency in 2012?

  29. 29 Davesbeard said at 4:56 AM on July 6th, 2011:

    Castillo didn’t seem to suggest that the blitz was going away, he has said multiple times he was a fan of JJ’s early defenses. They definitely blitzed, just without some of the outrageous complexity later JJ and McDermot D’s had.

  30. 30 MegaLinky – July 6, 2011 – The Redskins will likely not even get that conditional 6th or 7th rounder for Donny Mac – Blogging the bEast said at 7:37 AM on July 6th, 2011:

    […] Importance of Iowa – Tommy Lawlor, IgglesBlitz […]

  31. 31 Cliff said at 7:50 AM on July 6th, 2011:

    @ Iowa Eagle

    You’ve got a point. Hopefully DJax recognizes he has s frail, puny body and signs an extension with us pronto.

  32. 32 Walter said at 11:43 AM on July 6th, 2011:

    What about trading for Nate Clemonts? I think SF maybe looking to move him.

  33. 33 CVD said at 12:03 PM on July 6th, 2011:


    yeah we are going to have to be shelling out some $$. Desean, Vick, Mccoy and Maclin.

    Mcalin can wait until sometimes next year. But Mccoy needs to be done before next season starts. And obviously Vick and Desean.

    Iwoa Eagle, i get the same feeling. But isnt he scared of getting hurt? He is so fragile. I think he will want more than we will give, hopefully they work it out. I honestly wouldnt be surprised to see him traded this year.

  34. 34 CVD said at 12:05 PM on July 6th, 2011:

    on mcoy i didnt mean this upcoming season, i mean the following.

    i was thinking do we wait on extending Vick until half way through the year? Just to see how things go

  35. 35 Eric said at 11:11 AM on July 7th, 2011:

    Maclin is making 658k base with roughly 1.3million in other bonuses for 2011.

  36. 36 Eagles’ new defensive look? | The Flea Flicker Football Fan said at 8:02 AM on July 12th, 2011:

    […] based on some offseason quotes from new defensive coordinator Juan Castillo and the connection that Tommy Lawlor of Iggles Blitz recently pointed out between Castillo and the University of Iowa, the Eagles are likely to move […]