Talkin’ About Juan

Posted: October 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 55 Comments »

Rather than write a long form post I’m going to put out a bunch of different thoughts on Juan.

First, let’s take an updated look at the numbers.

13th in yards allowed – 341 a game

21st in points allowed – 24.2 a game

9th in 3rd down defense

Tied for 5th in sacks, but that is skewed because of bye weeks…didn’t calculate sacks per game

10th in pass D

23rd in run D

21st in yards per play

* * * * *

You can see some progress with the defense, but we still don’t know what to make of the unit.  The last 6 quarters have been very good, but we don’t know if that was a fluke or truly the sign that things have changed.  Sunday night’s game against Dallas will be a good test.

* * * * *

What is Juan’s long term status?  I recently said that I didn’t think he would return as Def. Coordinator in 2012.  I still have my doubts, but his job hinges on the final 10 games.

What would Juan and the defense need to do in order to keep his job in your mind?

Do we judge him on stats?  What if the defense finished Top 10 in yards and Top 15 in points?  Both figures would be improvements on 2010.

Do we judge him on team success?  What if we do go 10-6 and win the division?  What if we go 9-7?  Say the defense is solid from here on out as part of that turnaround.  Is that enough to make you think he should keep his job?

Is there anyway you let him keep his job, short of a Super Bowl win?

* * * * *

Juan talked in the spring about wanting to emulate the Bears defense.  I guessed that was more about effort and style of play than scheme.  I think that assumption has proven to be true.

Now, how are we doing in regard to being Bears-like?  I have said for years that the Bears play harder on defense than any other team in the league.  They swarm to the ball unlike anyone else.  We did a good job of that against WAS and somewhat against BUF, but not before that.

Was Juan doing a good job of motivating his players?  Were the players slow simply because they were adjusting to the new scheme?  Anything else?  I don’t think we know the definitive reason, but it will be interesting to see if the swarming style continues the rest of the season.  We need that.

One issue I have with Juan is this…what is his vision for the defense?  If he truly wanted a defense built on effort and hustle, hitting and tackling…what is Asante Samuel doing here?  And then why go trade for DRC?  Both guys are talented CBs, but neither is even an average tackler.  What does Juan really want to see?

* * * * *

This ties in to a new point…is CB the new OL?

Juan loved taking guys with great potential when he ran the O-line.  Back in 2006 I had Winston Justice and Max Jean-Gilles as 2 of the 5 most overrated guys in the whole draft.  We took ’em both. We got them at good value points (2nd and 4th round as opposed to 1st and 2nd round, as many had projected).  Still, they were underachievers.

We drafted Shawn Andrews when he had a boatload of issues.  Shawn was great in his Sophomore season, but injuries and weight issues slowed him down as a Junior.  We took a chance and that worked great for 4 years.

We traded for Jason Peters in 2009.  Juan was the guy pushing hardest for the deal.  He saw a player with great potential.  Peters wasn’t so great in ’09, but has turned out to be a very good acquisition.

Even a late round pick like King Dunlap was a guy we took based on potential.  King was benched as a Senior at Auburn for not playing well enough.  A Freshman got his job.  Juan loved his size and potential so we took a chance on him.

Bobbie Williams also fits this scenario.  Dominant blocker in college, but struggled for most of his time in Philly.  Proved to be a very good run blocker in his one year as a starter.  Has since developed into a solid player for the Bengals.

We could get away with moves like this on the OL and still put out a solid product.  We had veterans like Tra, Jon, and Jermaine to help back in the “old days”.  Jamaal Jackson was a stabilizing force from 2005-2009.

Juan could spend a lot of time with each guy.  He was only coaching 10 guys.  He also had the veterans to be a good influence on the young guys.  OL are usually the best character guys on the team.  They aren’t prima donnas.  They do a good job of policing themselves and building a true group mentality.

So what about Juan and CBs?  Juan has us keep Asante, trade for DRC, and then sign Nnamdi.  He also has us keep Brandon Hughes and then re-sign Joselio Hanson after cutting him.  Juan wasn’t the driving force behind these moves, but he was okay with them.

Right now, I’m not sure if any of the CBs is happy.  Nnamdi is figuring out his role in the defense.  Asante believes that the Eagles were shopping him (not sure if that’s true or not).  DRC isn’t starting.  Hanson is barely used.  Hughes hoped for playing time, but is just a STer for now.

These guys aren’t high character OL.  They are prima donnas.  Nnamdi is a very grounded guy, but he’s still got more of an ego than any O-lineman.  That’s part of being a CB.  Great ones need some ego.  OL are a group.  CBs are out on an island.

CB isn’t a position where you can just collect talent and try to make it work.  You must have specific roles for players and it must match their skill set.  I hope Juan has a specific vision for the defense and how to use his CBs in the future.

I don’t think Asante Samuel is going to be here in 2012.  We have Nnamdi and DRC, big guys who can press.  We drafted Curtis Marsh, a big guy who can press.  Hughes isn’t all that big, but is good at press coverage.  Asante is the one piece that doesn’t fit with that group.

* * * * *

Juan has shown the ability to adjust.  He shifted his LBs around until he found the group he liked.  He tried a few things at Safety until Nate and Kurt emerged.  I don’t fault Juan for mixing and matching players to find the right combinations.  The only way to figure out what you’ve got is to give players a chance to show what they can do.

Juan tweaked the Wide-9 last week.  He also moved the LBs a yard closer to the ball.

Juan has adjusted the roles of players within the defense.  He’s tried LBs on TEs.  He used Nnamdi on TEs.  He’s not found an ideal solution to TEs yet, but he’s willing to mix it up to find a solution.

* * * * *

The players do like Juan.  They like playing for him.  We had a brutal start, but not one unnamed source leaked anti-Juan comments to PFT or any reporter.

Juan is taking more input from the players on what they want to do.  I like that.  Give them some ownership of the defense.  That normally brings out the best in players.

The next 10 weeks will tell us a lot about Juan, the positional coaches, and the players.

55 Comments on “Talkin’ About Juan”

  1. 1 Eric Weaver said at 12:47 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    The reality of all this is if the offense would play better, probably no one would even talk about the defense. Green Bay’s defense, specifically the pass defense, is bad – New England too. But no one really cares because the offense goes up and down the field and scores TDs 90% of the time in the red zone.

  2. 2 Morton said at 12:59 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    You can’t win a Super Bowl with shoddy or even below-average passing defense, no matter how good your offense is.

    Unless their defenses markedly improve, both New England and Green Bay will see themselves ousted in the first round of the playoffs.

    The only reason the Eagles were perennial playoff contenders for the past decade was their string of excellent defenses. 2000-2004, 2008 were the years with the deepest playoff runs, and they coincide with the most dominant Jim Johnson defenses.

    The true reality of the situation is that the offense feeds off of the defense – if the offensive players think that their defense can’t hold a lead, they press and make mistakes. If the defense could hold a lead and generate more turnovers, they’d instill the offense with confidence and give them opportunities to score more points.

    The success of an NFL team as a whole depends directly on the success of the defensive coordinator, and in turn, the defense. If Juan Castillo can’t implement a top-5 defensive unit, this team will not be in contention for a deep playoff run regardless of offensive talent. This is the same for every NFL team, even the Packers and the Patriots.

  3. 3 Eric Weaver said at 1:03 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    I don’t disagree with that, but if the offense was even marginally better, the focus wouldn’t be so much on Juan and what he’s doing. It would probably be more of an afterthought until later in the season.

  4. 4 Anonymous said at 5:38 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    Just because it is an afterthought doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem. Winning can hide a lot of flaws (as is seen in New England and Green Bay), but the second they loose a big game or get kicked out of the playoffs, their flaws will be the focus of the conversation. The point is not to eliminate discussion of the flaws, but actually to eliminate the flaw themselves.

  5. 5 Sam Lynch said at 12:52 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    Juan’s bar is higher than merely last season’s effort because of the investment made on that side of the ball. We added four huge pieces in Nnamdi, DRC, Babin, and Jenkins. We also added second and third round picks to the D. And we added a guy touted as the best DL coach in the league. We should, based on investment, be materially better. That’s what we should expect with an average DC performance.

    It isn’t necessarily all his fault if we are not — the draft picks may have been ill-advised (based on either the player or the position) and may not have been his fault, for example. He didn’t have as much time as one would like given the short off-season.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that in expectation, the defense has to be a lot better than the one that got the last guy fired. If the performance over the past 6 quarters continues, maybe that is what we have. But I’m pretty skeptical. And if this defense with all of that new investment continues to perform in the bottom third of the league, there to no way to sugar coat that.

  6. 6 Matthew Butch said at 2:10 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    You’re right, we should be better than we were last year.

    But I think there have been major scheme changes, and its taken players time to adjust.

    Jason Babin said something interesting in response to what changed in the Washington game. He said that besides just tackling better, they actually were in the correct position and doing the correct things. That sounds like he was saying the back 7 were out of position.

    I know you’re skeptical, but I’m very optimistic for that reason.

  7. 7 Anonymous said at 2:23 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    Sean had 2 years to work with players and get his scheme going. The problems never really got solved. There were blown coverages and confused DBs in both seasons. The shuffling at LB was continuous.

    Also, Sean wasn’t fully getting along with everyone, as I’ve written about before.

    Juan has done a good job of mending fences. The players do like him. The communication between him and the players is improving. There’s truly more of a give and take than before.

    Do we give Juan a 2nd year if the defense shows some improvement? Say we finish 9th in yards allowed and 15 in points allowed? Those aren’t great totals, but aren’t terrible either. Is that enough?

    For me personally, I don’t know what to say. Love Juan to death, but that’s not enough for him to be our DC. That’s a position that demands results. I can live with “the right guys” in some spots, but not DC. That guy better be good.

    One big thing for me would be to see the defense play well for an extended period. Show me that there is real potential to be a good unit. Give me 4 games where the opponent doesn’t break 21 points. Give me 4 games where teams don’t rush for 100 yards. Give me 4 games where we come up with at least 3 takeaways. Something like that. Show me something that I can really believe in.

    I’ve seen the 2011 Eagles play well for stretches, but I need whole games and even multiple games to really get my attention.

  8. 8 Anonymous said at 4:40 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    i want to see just what you said:
    One big thing for me would be to see the defense play well for an extended period. Show me that there is real potential to be a good unit. Give me 4 games where the opponent doesn’t break 21 points. Give me 4 games where teams don’t rush for 100 yards. Give me 4 games where we come up with at least 3 takeaways. Something like that. Show me something that I can really believe in.

    I’ve seen the 2011 Eagles play well for stretches, but I need whole games and even multiple games to really get my attention.
    (is there a nice way to add a box quote in here?)

    but i also want to see some steady improvement as the season goes on. hopefully we have seen the lowest of the lows and the D will peak at the end of the season, just in time for a playoff run!

  9. 9 Anonymous said at 5:35 PM on October 25th, 2011:


    You guys basically hit all the salient points. The truth is we need to see more to get a real feel for whether this can work, because the only thing worse than continuing on with an average Juan is starting over and dealing with all this confusion and bad tackling again next year (although a new guy would have an offseason).

    I think we do have to factor in the idea that all the newness plus shortened offseason have made Juan’s job harder than it was already going to be.

    If the unit shows no improvement, if all the pieces don’t begin to function as one, then you start over. But these next 10 games are paramount.

    If this scenario plays out, where the Eagles play really well but then get their doors blown off by the Saints or the Packers in the playoffs, then I’ll be on the fence as to what they should do.

  10. 10 Anonymous said at 5:49 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    “Also, Sean wasn’t fully getting along with everyone, as I’ve written about before.

    Juan has done a good job of mending fences. The players do like him. The communication between him and the players is improving. There’s truly more of a give and take than before. ”

    I’ll be honest, I think you significantly overrate the “likeability” factor in terms of effectiveness as a coach/player. There have been plenty of examples of coaches who players have hated (or players who have been hated) that have been extremely effective. I could care less if the players like Juan or not. Being likeable has it’s advantages in the sense that when things are going rough, players are less likely to throw the coach under the bus and cause lockerroom problems, but it also has significant disadvantages as well. For example, when a coach and a player get too close, it can make the coach biased towards that player, or less likely to challenge that player. I’m not saying that being a friendly coach is necessarily a bad thing what so ever, I’m just saying that it doesn’t necessarily correlate at all with being effective. A scenario I would absolutely hate to see happen is that by the end of the year, Juan turns out to be not absolutely horrendous, but still below average, but because the players like him and he is a likeable guy, they decide to keep him instead of going with someone less likeable but significantly more effective.

  11. 11 Anonymous said at 11:27 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    I have no vested interest in seeing Juan succeed, other than the fact that before the season I predicted he’d be a head coach in 2 years. Honestly though I know we added some big pieces, but when you focus on the big names I think you lose focus on a lot of the bad.

    Similar to when folks make the case not having a training camp hurt Danny Watkins, I think the same can be said for Juan not having a full training camp to work out kinks. Let’s also focus on the fact with our new scheme, we added 7 new starters this year (DE, DT, MLB, WLB, FS, SS & CB) to start the season. Of those 7 new starters, 3 were 7th rd picks & one was an overrated 4th rd rookie (if his last name wasn’t matthews he’d prob have gone in the 6th rd). Another starter, Foku, was also a 7th rd pick and has shown a whole lot of averageness. So we had 45% of our starters being 7th rd picks/rookies. Doesn’t seem like the recipe for a dominant defense.

    Now taking all this into consideration I think the prudent thing to do would have been to get an experienced Defensive mind, but Andy typically doesn’t do the prudent/safe thing. New scheme, 7 new starters on D and shortened season…I know what I need…a D coordinator who has been an o-line coach for the last 10 yrs. Hopefully, with Nate Allen being back healthy and some time to get things figured out, we’ll see more of what we saw last week. Also, hopefully after this season we’ll upgrade at LB, but then again history tells us we prob won’t see a big investment at LB.

    So what the hell did I just ramble about above? At this point I don’t even know anymore other than I may or may not have a vested interest in seeing Juan Castillo succeed and I may or may not be half latino, which may or may not be another reason why I’ll go to any length to find as much bullsh*t as possible to make excuses for my amigo Juan.

  12. 12 Mac said at 9:47 AM on October 26th, 2011:

    Pit… I’m basically 50/50 german/irish, and I predicted the same thing you did about Juan before we started seeing his press conferences. I thought for sure a guy who spent that much time on the offensive side of the ball and now has a chance with some good talent to have success as a DC and poof… he’s gone snatched up to be a Head Coach somewhere.

    The reason I’m considering backing down from that prediction is because of how abysmal his pressers have been this year. I say that, because I still believe this defense is built to create turnovers, and at some point will start doing that (maybe continuing what we saw in the washington game).

  13. 13 Anonymous said at 12:57 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    Is this year the first time Juan has had to work with CB’s in any capacity? I understand (at least in theory) how working on the O-Line gives you good familiarity with the D-Line and LB’s, and maybe Safeties in some situations, but CB’s? Had Juan even looked outside the hash-marks in the last 20 years? What reason would Andy/Howie have to believe that Juan had any idea what he wanted to do in the secondary?

    RE CB is the New O-Line:
    Any chance we move King Dunlap to CB? He has tremendous size/athleticism and would probably be great at pressing receivers. Lots of potential.

  14. 14 Anonymous said at 1:18 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    Just lift guys over his head and giggle

  15. 15 Anonymous said at 2:06 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    This is the first time in the NFL that Juan has had anything to do with CBs, other than scheming to stop them on blitzes.

  16. 16 Morton said at 1:02 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    With all of those investments, the defense should be at least an above-average unit. I mean, this defense as it is currently constituted is *worse* than last year’s unit which saw the RCB spot manned by Dimitri Patterson.

    Jeffrey Lurie could have saved himself a ton of money by just retaining Sean McDermott, not signing a single free agent, and trotting Dimitri Patterson out at RCB. It would have achieved the same, or even better, result. That’s what is most shocking, in my opinion – that this defense saw a tremendous infusion of talent in the offseason and is actually *worse*.

  17. 17 Anonymous said at 2:07 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    The defense is above average in yards.

    Not so in points and yards per play.

  18. 18 Morton said at 2:49 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    The defense is ranked #21 in footballoutsiders defensive DVOA stats.

    FO ranks the Eagles #15 against the pass, and #28 against the run. According to their stats, Juan’s unit is thoroughly average stopping the passing game and abysmal against rushing attacks, which would make his unit solidly below-average as a whole.

    There’s no reason that this unit, with all of the talent in the secondary and on the defensive line, can’t at least be one of the top 10 defenses in the NFL. This is *all* on Juan and his positional coaches.

    Look at the Cowboys for a counterpoint – they were absymal last year on defense, didn’t make any substantial offseason acquisitions, and yet are now the #3 defense according to Footballoutsiders. The one significant change? The addition of DC Rob Ryan.

    Ryan is fielding the #4 passing defense in the NFL (fo stats) with a decrepit Terrence Newman, underperforming Mike Jenkins, and a bunch of scrubs. Castillo can only field the #15 passing defense with the #1 free agent CB of the 2011 offseason, the #1 free agent CB of the 2008 offseason, two second round safeties, and another Pro Bowl CB. What’s wrong with this picture?

  19. 19 Mac said at 3:01 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    Here’s an idea…

    Let’s change most of the coaching staff, keep half the starters, and have less than half the time to teach a new scheme and let the players get to know each other and their roles.

    Oh and lets raise the bar at the same time.

    Makes sense?

  20. 20 Morton said at 6:01 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    Why does this conveniently not apply to the Cowboys or 49ers, who both have the same hurdles to clear with regard to new schemes and coaching staffs and starters, and yet are playing excellent on defense?

  21. 21 Mac said at 9:50 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    Personally, I’m not comparing the Eagles defense to the Cowboys or the 49ers, especially because those teams are built so differently. It’s clear that you have a love affair with great LB play, and both of those teams have that… It’s not a position of value by the Eagles, and that isn’t likely to change any time soon.

    How many new players do the Cowgirls have on defense?

    How many new coaches other than Rob Ryan do they have?

    I honestly don’t know the answer to either of those questions… did a little research and from what I saw the changes were less than what the Eagles have done with their revamp.

    The Eagles have a new guy who has never been a DC in the NFL before. He didn’t have the benefit of great conversations around the dinner table about the Polish goal-line and the 46 defense. He is figuring out how to call games on the fly. Nnamdi is learning all kinds of new things and trying new stuff. The D-line looks like things might finally be firing on all 4 cylinders now. The amazing play by Coleman and Allen may have been an anomaly last week, but I see no reason to think we can’t get solid play out of them. If someone can light a fire under DRC and Asante’s asses and get them to make any effort tackling, and we can play with some enthusiasm like the Washington game I have every reason to believe this can be a top 15 defense.

    Was it a slow start? Yes, and I’m not debating that. I’m not even making excuses… I just tried to tell you why I think it was a slow start. I’m not saying it was fun to watch, quite the opposite. It was torture. I am optimistic enough to think that the key word will be WAS.

    If it turns out that this defense finishes in the bottom half of the league in points and yards then I would be thrilled to try another person at DC. Until then, I think we have to ride this Juan thing out, and I don’t think it will be as bad as you think it is.

  22. 22 Anonymous said at 1:11 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    I’d rather not see Castillo back even if the defense improves. I want a solid defensive coach with experience to coach our defense, not a high energy motivational guy. The last we need is a guy like Andy Reid coaching the other side of the ball, someone who does a lot of things well, but isn’t exactly know for calling a good game on Sundays. We need a Jim Johnson, not another Andy Reid.

  23. 23 Ben Hert said at 10:35 AM on October 26th, 2011:

    Its easy to say “Replace him with another Jim Johnson” but how many Jim Johnsons are out there right now? JJs come along once in a lifetime, and a lot of times they aren’t that easy to spot. I’m sure they’d be more than happy to if one came along, but at this point who out there would you replace Juan with next season.

  24. 24 Matthew Butch said at 1:18 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    If the defense improves from both the start we’ve had and from last year, I say keep him. Especially if the defense doesn’t cost the Birds another game.

    I like Juan, and I think if he has a full offseason and a second year, he’ll be good.

  25. 25 Anonymous said at 1:20 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    McDermott got fired largely because his defense was among the worst in the red zone in NFL history. Juan’s first responsibility was to fix that issue. It’s incredible that it hasn’t improved at all — you would think statistical regression would take care of at least some of it.

    Also, despite all the turnovers (many of which have occurred on the opponent’s side of the field), our offense gives the defense a lot of help. We are winning time of possession and giving the defense opportunities to play with a lead.

    On the topic of players speaking out — Darryl Tapp has said some things that could be interpreted as a lack of faith in Juan.

    I’m also curious how much input Andy has on the defensive side these days. One of the biggest drawbacks to hiring Juan was that Reid lost another check on his power. It seems like Holmgren started to flounder too when he started taking on too many responsibilities. I think Andy has many strengths but it’s not good for any leader to start placing yes-men in important positions. It worked really well for us to have a defensive coordinator in total control of his shop.

    I feel like you might hear more players grumbling about Juan if they felt like he wasn’t so tightly hitched to the big boss. Reid wanted the Wide 9 (which, I’m a fan of in practice — love pressure from the front four) and presumably also wanted this mismatched group of corners. I guess I wonder how much latitude Juan really has in molding the defense to his own vision. Not that I’ve ever been very impressed with his public explanations of what that vision entails. But on a gut subjective level, if you had to describe the defense’s identity, flip around what you think of our offense and doesn’t it kind of look like an “Andy Reid defense”?

    I guess a Super Bowl would probably save Juan. Short of that, or some kind of magical late-season improvement, I don’t know how Andy could bring Juan back with a straight face.

  26. 26 the guy said at 2:06 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    The RZ defense is actually slightly better so far this year, but still worst in the league. I think you have to put a lot of it on the LBs and S. That group isn’t any better than last year and so the problems remain.

    Yes, a lot of the turnovers have been on the opponents side of the field. Unfortunately, a lot of them were in the RZ, taking points off the board.

    Talking about winning time of possession, the only games where the Eagles really won ToP were:
    * Giants loss – 37min ToP, 1/5 in RZ, 0/2 in GTG, 1 TD scored the entire game
    * Bills loss – 33min ToP, 5 turnovers including a pick-6
    * Redskins win – 38min ToP, 2 turnovers, 2/5 in RZ, 2/4 in GTG

    As far as giving the defense a chance to play with the lead, that has been the case in games, but once a lead has been built the offense seems to disappear. The Eagles are averaging 9.7 2nd half points (22nd) and 2.8 in the 4th Q (30th).

    NOTE – Got my stats from this site:

    Tommy, the same site does sacks/game:
    Eagles have 3 sacks per game, and the site puts them at #4, but one problem with that site is how it handles ties. #1 and #2 are tied, so the Eagles are actually tied with MIN for 3rd best in sacks/game.

  27. 27 Anonymous said at 2:21 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    Good site. The offense ranks 7th in TOP and the defense has seen the 5th least offensive plays run against it.

  28. 28 Anonymous said at 2:38 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    I made sure to list yards per play in the stats section of the post. I’m not trying to sugarcoat this in Juan’s defense. We all know you can use stats to skew arguments.

  29. 29 Anonymous said at 2:13 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    Teams are only 2 for for the last 5 in the Red Zone.

    Anomaly or legit progress?

    Good question about this as an “Andy Reid defense”. The counter to that is that the whole NFL has gone Andy Reid. If you want to beat GB, you better have at least 3 good CBs. You need CBs to beat the Saints and Pats. And so on.

    I think the defense is more a reflection of the NFL going pass happy than Andy trying to build it truly in his style.

  30. 30 Anonymous said at 2:35 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    That makes sense. And I was totally for the acquisitions we made this offseason. In theory, it makes a lot of sense. But I put it on Juan and Andy for not integrating the new players and all the levels of this defense (front four, LBs and secondary) into a coherent whole. It’s been a failure in practice.

    Hopefully, you’re right that we’re making improvement. But I also worry how much of that is just Rex Grossman.

    And as far as it being a defense in Andy Reid’s image, it seems like two of the biggest offensive criticisms apply here too — it’s a finesse group that has trouble executing in the red zone.

    It’s funny because until the last few years, I always thought that Reid’s teams were very physical (despite our troubles in short yardage for almost Andy’s entire tenure). We would have games with the Cowboys and the Giants where you could see that Reid’s team was just tougher. I rarely feel that way anymore. I lean toward it being a personnel more than a coaching/team identity thing, but it’s a problem.

  31. 31 Mac said at 10:44 AM on October 26th, 2011:

    It’s not just going pass happy… the rules greatly favor teams that have a high percentage of passing plays.

    I haven’t tracked any differences, but the amount of pass interference calls seems to be increasing, and the new rules favor a passing team with protecting QBs and WRs. Any team that doesn’t take advantage of the rules is basically playing a game that doesn’t exist anymore.

  32. 32 the guy said at 1:32 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    Off topic, but I’d be interested in your take on this:

    “How Michael Vick makes his line look bad”

    Seems less an article explaining why the line looks bad than one about the flaws in Vick’s game. I really haven’t thought the line has looked bad this year, except against the blitz.

  33. 33 Anonymous said at 2:09 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    We’re used to seeing McNabb make a good line look poor. In comparison, Vick is doing fine.

  34. 34 Anonymous said at 2:25 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    From what I understand, a large part in why McDermot is no longer in Philly is because the players were not responding to him. It wasn’t the defenses, it wasn’t the schemes.

    So if the players buy into what he is selling, and the defense continues to improve, then he stays.

  35. 35 Gary said at 2:56 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    All I can keep thinking is how huge this Dallas game is. Another performance like the one against Washington and I can really believe this defense has turned the corner. The defense falls flat on its face and it would seem to confirm that Washington just has a terrible offense and Juan is still lost.

  36. 36 Anonymous said at 3:17 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    It just seems to soon to fire Castillo, there was a lot of turnover in a short offseason. So if the defense plays decent the remainder of the season I don’t think you fire him, keep in mind Reid also has a great deal of respect for Castillo.

  37. 37 Mac said at 4:33 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    I agree, and I think we will be able to speculate more fully when the entire 16 game schedule is complete.

  38. 38 Anonymous said at 5:52 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    This is also my take. Given all the variables, it’s too soon to pin it all on one guy or one cause.

    One thing we can all agree on is they must play much better the rest of the way.

    But the point made above, that the offense could take a lot of the pressure off them by cleaning up their performance, is valid as well. The O could have bailed the D out against Atlanta, Buffalo and especially San Fran. They’d still be a crappy D, but in the vein of the Patriots’ crappy D.

  39. 39 Anonymous said at 3:27 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    Kind of a side question. I am an Eagles fan living in Houston, and therefore hear/watch a lot about the Texans on the radio/TV. Since Wade Phillips came in and changed their defense to the 3-4, a great player is getting lost in the shuffle and it almost seems like he is being phased out of the defense. That player is DeMeco Ryans, a great MLB in the 4-3, but seems out of his element in a 3-4. During this past weekend’s stomping of the Titans, 19 different Texans made a tackle, and he wasn’t one of them. Also, their secondary play last year was obviously one of the worst in history, so they signed Jonathan Joseph this offseason to help 1st round draft pick of 2010 (Kareem Jackson). However, their secondary is still a little suspect with Jackson still getting burned. What do you think of an offseason trade between the Texans and Eagles (Asante for DeMeco)?

  40. 40 Anonymous said at 3:33 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    I hope the coaches and the players – esp. the LB’s see the tape where Romo drops back like looking to pass and does a delayed handoff to the RB – sometimes he even fakes a throw and does the delayed hand off – this has been Romo’s MO and he does the delayed hand off extremely well….and with our Defense being sometimes over aggressive it can end up being a huge nail driven in this seasons coffin

  41. 41 Mac said at 3:36 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    If T.O. works out, and no one is there to listen, does he make a sound?

  42. 42 Sam Lynch said at 4:35 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    No, but his agent does.

  43. 43 Mac said at 9:52 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    I did a google search for a “drew rosenhaus” dart board. No luck… anyone want to start a novelty business?

  44. 44 Anonymous said at 4:47 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    My gut’s telling me if we win against the boys Sunday night and the defense looks good, we will have most likely turned the corner (backs). If we lose and the D sucks again, then we might write off the season and hope that Spags gets sacked in St Louis..

  45. 45 Anonymous said at 5:54 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    Either way, I’d take Spags back. I’m in no rush to judge Castillo, but Spags would excite me.

  46. 46 Anonymous said at 5:08 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    My 6 year old had wear a Team Jersey to school day…and he chose to wear his beloved Flyers “JVR” jersey….I asked my little guy when he came back how his day was…he said there were 2 girls in his class that wore Cowboys Jerseys…and my 6 year old being a die hard Eagles fan like his dad…said BOO COWBOYS…apparently his class teacher heard him and gave him a Timeout…I heard this and laughed proudly while my wife looked disapprovingly at me…Just thought I would share!

  47. 47 Mac said at 9:53 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    Totally worth it. Buy that kid a PBR… when he’s 21.

  48. 48 Anonymous said at 11:03 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    What a travesty. This is why adults should have to take a class before they are allowed to have children. Sending innocent children to school wearing Cowboy gear, it should be a crime.

  49. 49 Mac said at 11:48 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    And shame on the teacher for not sending those girls to the office to remove shirts that clearly contained offensive material.

  50. 50 Anonymous said at 5:09 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    Unfortunately, we’re nowhere near where Morton would have us believe we are.

  51. 51 Steve H said at 7:09 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    As with any Morton related conversation, keep in mind that everything he percieves is filtered through shit colored glasses.

    Its an interesting list, I definitely don’t agree with all the rankings (Pierre Garcon over Jake Long? Or Steve Johnson for that matter?)

    Looking at the 2007 draft, holy smokes was that a good time to have a high pick. Adrian Peterson, Darelle Revis, Calvin Johnson and Patrick Willis all in the first half of the first round. Those 4 guys are either the best or you could argue that they are the best at their position in the game today.

    Kevin Kolb is definitely ranked too high I think but in terms of the value we got for him he worked out just great. An extra 3rd and a 5th, DRC, and another 2nd rounder instead of just taking him in the first. Good trade back, that one. Shame Stewart Bradley didn’t work out or that trade would be looking really really good.

  52. 52 Mac said at 10:02 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    Interesting article, especially ranking the teams by +/- … You would think that the top 15 teams would be play off bound this year, and many are… but…

  53. 53 Anonymous said at 11:02 PM on October 25th, 2011:

    This ain’t about Juan – it’s about AR – and we really should be talkin’ about this upcoming game, for if we lose, we ain’t going anywhere this year and it will be time to get the broom out and perform a clean sweep at NovaCare for a fresh start over next year

  54. 54 Steve H said at 4:58 AM on October 26th, 2011:

    Everyone was reading to tar and feather Andy a couple weeks ago, now we have some life and hope. Lets let the season play out before we decide it’s time to storm the castle and lynch the king.

  55. 55 Ben Aven said at 9:22 AM on October 26th, 2011:

    There is a large factor getting overlooked that could play a huge part in what happens to Juan at the end of the season. Does Mudd retire after the year? If Juan and this defense hasn’t totally convinced us that he deserves another year to work with this D and Mudd retires, I can see Andy moving him back to Oline, finding a new DC, and acting like it was his plan all along.