There are several things Juan Castillo will want to change about the Eagles’ defense in his second year as coordinator.
But one thing you can expect to remain the same is the emphasis on relying on the front four for pressure.
Consider this: The Eagles tied the Vikings for the league lead with 50 sacks last year. And 46 of those came from defensive linemen. According to the Football Outsiders Almanac, the Eagles rushed just four players on 81.8 percent of their opportunities, the second-highest number in the league.
After blitzing 38 percent of the time in 2010, the Eagles blitzed just 18 percent of the time last season. Despite the lockout-shortened offseason, Castillo implemented a relatively dramatic schematic change. There are two ways to look at the results, depending on whether you are a glass half-full or glass half-empty kind of observer.
For the optimists, the Eagles had one of the best pass rushes in the NFL and didn’t have to rely on extra pressure to get to opposing quarterbacks. Considering the defensive line has more talent in 2012, that’s something strong to build on.
The pessimists, meanwhile, will want to point out just how badly the back end of the defense was broken. The Eagles frequently had seven defenders in coverage, yet they allowed 27 passing touchdowns and 53 pass plays of 20+ yards.
Improvement from the back seven will go a long way in determining what kind of defense this is in 2012.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Mike Kafka is attempting what you might call unorthodox methods to improve his arm strength. T-Mac has an angle you won’t find anywhere else.
I offered up five Eagles leftovers from the first week of training camp, including expectations for Jeremy Maclin and notes on Cullen Jenkins’ role.
Jason Babin is expected to miss two to three weeks with a right calf strain.
And Howie Roseman has added a wide receiver to the roster.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
I turned this into a full post Tuesday. Get all the national media links right here.
Not sure about the players, but the most important thing I did on the off day was catch up on Louie and Breaking Bad. I’m guessing my DVR probably differs from Andy Reid’s, though.
Wednesday is Military Day at Lehigh, which means 300 guests from the United States Armed Forces will be in attendance. The morning walk-through is at 8:15, with the afternoon session kicking off at 2:45. We’ll have it all covered right here, so check back often.
Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.