‘We’re Not Going To Be Predictable Anymore’

Philadelphia Eagles secondary coach Todd Bowles.There were varying degrees of willingness to talk about the Todd Bowles/Juan Castillo shake-up in the Eagles’ locker room Monday. Jason Babin, for example, has never been more skittish about a subject in his two years in Philadelphia. Others forced you to read between the lines.

There were a few revealing moments, however.

The biggest one came from backup linebacker Casey Matthews, who relayed Bowles’ message to the defense upon taking the reins.

“The biggest thing he said is, ‘We’re not going to predictable anymore.’ That’s what Coach said,” Matthews revealed, the obvious implication being that the ‘D’ was predictable under Castillo.

“We’re basically still running the same stuff. A couple tweaks. Coach Bowles said he’s not here to revamp the defense. We’re running the same stuff he just wants us to play together.”

That was the common thought from player to player: that Bowles would not be overhauling the defense; just some minor alterations to the scheme.

There was no evidence of any player being outraged by Castillo’s firing, and some are feeling reinvigorated.

“It’s a whole new season for us,” said Kurt Coleman. “We have 10 games to really prove ourselves and prove our worth to ourselves and these fans, and to the whole NFL. We’re not achieving our full potential, I feel like. We look at the last two years and we haven’t been able to do it, whether that be because of closing out games or what not. But we have 10 games to really prove ourselves and that starts this week.”

One concern is that Bowles, while having a wealth of coaching experience on the defensive side of the ball, has never called a game. Or has he?

“In the grand scheme of things, I think he was helping make play calls throughout this year,” said Coleman.

“I have all the confidence in him. He’s a smart coach, he really is. He’s going to do his due diligence in understanding the game as far as how the offense is going to attack us. And you have to be able to adjust throughout the game, and I think he is going to do a great job with that.”

Several players expressed sympathy for Castillo, whom they had grown to respect as a man. But all seem to feel that Bowles is ready for the role of defensive coordinator.

“He’s well respected,” said Matthews. “He’s been on the defensive side for a while and Juan came over from the offense. A lot of people, especially vets, you don’t know if they’re qualified and stuff like that. But I think Todd will get it done.”

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  • PaoliBulldog

    I feel bad for Castillo and admire him for trying. And I’ll wait to see how the defense plays under Bowles before passing judgment on Castillo’s qualifications.

    • BrandywineBeaver

      You are right. Its not like he was gonna turn the job down

  • Mr. Magee

    Casey Mathews’ comments remove any doubt (if there was any) as to whether Juan had won over the players… sounds like his hold on the defense was shaky at best.

    • xlGmanlx

      So a second year player who got little to no playing time is all of a sudden the mouthpiece for the defense? I think they are all professionals and if they looked hard enough you will see lack of discipline led to their downfall. Some scheme/playing calling yes, but at some point the players have to own this mess they made.

      • http://boyga.com/ joolyen

        I agree with Mr. Magee. I think Juan’s hiring undermined Castillo and Reid. It was probably the main reason Asante Samuel was acting crazy. People in everyday jobs revolt when odd stuff like that happens too. It was an odd outside of the box idea for Reid. Over the years I think the thing AR has done best is outsmart himself.

        • bigtimefan

          I couldn’t agree more, like when they drafted two guys coming off serious knee injuries the year before in college ( Cornielious Ingrahm and Jack ” x-box ” Ikeguano ) They both failed the combine physical for every other team, but Andy and company were going to outsmart everybody by drafting them! Also, how about the drafting of Jeremy Bloom, when they drafted him he had not played football for TWO years! He was put on injured reserve prior his first potential regular season game the first season and he was cut before the season opener of his second year, leaving the team with NO experienced punt / kickoff returner. How about the genius idea to turn a career defensive tackle( Dan Klecko ), into the starting fullback in training camp, then moving him back to defensive tackle right before the regular season began. Another one that I really enjoy….. the salary cap guy ( Howie Roseman ) promoted to the GM / boss of player personnel evaluation. Oh, and don’t forget the coup de gra, making his 12 year offensive line coach, his defensive coordinator! This a move,so bizarre that the NFL as a whole was shocked by the move. The only GOLD STANDARD that this team has, is the GOLD STANDARD of ARROGANCE! At least there front office trophy case is filled with a plethora of salary cap and arrogance trophies!! Jeffery…… the team is OURS, the time is YOURS!

          • Johngiam

            bigtimefan that was a big time post. good stuff man. of course i could list about 10 more examples of the arogance…but I think you made the point for both of us

      • Kyle

        You can have all the talent in the world, but if the coaching staff and play calling continuously puts the players in bad situations and doesn’t play to their strengths, it doesn’t matter how talented the players are you will fail. It didn’t matter who said what Casey said, Casey is just relaying something Bowles said in a team meeting. It seems as though Bowles knows the players and knows their strengths, it sounds like he will play to those strengths and put them in better positions.

  • xlGmanlx

    Who is Babin going to blame when he disappears for the rest of the season and is exposed as a sack seeker and has little interest in anything else? Start increasing Graham’s playing time please

  • http://www.facebook.com/jack.strong.1420 Jack Strong

    I don’t watch the eagles because they are the most predictable team . I don’t know how this is since they’ve changed players and coaches over the years but the same attitude seems to prevail. No killer instinct. Just win by whatever . Whatever doesn’t make for excitement. IMO

    • barry_nic

      Then why go on this blog?

    • Scott J

      If you don’t watch them, then don’t comment on them.

  • Jerry from Flawda

    Making Castillo the d coordinator was the most arrogant and selfish move of Andy’s career. Keep the roster, fire him and rosebud. Andy needs to take a less stressful job anyway. When they blow it this year, people are gonna run him out of town. I feel bad because it’s not like he hasn’t put every ounce of his effort and time in trying to win it all. Just sucks all around.

  • barry_nic

    Well I hope Coleman can play better with his “New Season” and doesn’t bite on the P/A and leave the corners hanging out to dry anymore. They play on Sundays, so we’ll see what the tune they’ll be singing after a couple of weeks under Bowles. Good luck Juan, hope you get an OL coaching job again soon(Indy?).

    • xlGmanlx

      Nope, and the tape is out there to play action this team for success. It is lack of discipline from the players as I doubt there are any instructions to bite on play fakes.

  • Scott J

    After Reid and Vick, Bowles has the most to gain. If he’s successful as our DC, it could land him a head coaching gig somewhere.

    • Nick

      If he pans out as a DC he’ll get overpaid by Lurie to stay

  • JofreyRice

    Cool. You can see what effect it has to do a bunch of stuff pre-snap and being unpredictable has on confusing protections. I think you have to have that in today’s NFL.

    Look at the Bears: they’re extremely well-coached on the fundamental aspects of tackling, covering, gap responsibility, along with the added dimension of being well coached on punching the ball out and knowing when to make measured gambles. Talent-wise, they are loaded with a good LB corps, the best pair of cornerbacks in the league, and the best defensive line. Even with all that talent, and good fundamental coaching, they still go through a bunch of artifice pre-snap to try and maximize the talent of their defense and coverage–moving Briggs and Urlacher into the A-Gaps, walking guys up from the secondary, switching Peppers’ side, or moving him to D-tackle, showing blitzes only to back out, etc. Castillo’s paint-by-numbers defense might have worked in the 70’s or 80’s, based on the talent on the team, but the game has changed. I’m excited to see what Bowles can come up with for the Birds.

  • http://twitter.com/AirAfrica Tatenda Chakanyuka

    I think Brandon Graham should start over Babin honestly, he’s just a better overall player (in the run defending mainly). Our Babin in as solely a pass rusher not an every down player, maybe switch to a 3-4 once in a while on long 3rd downs and have both Babin answer trent as rush LBs and get after it….play Jenkins, Cox and hopefully Patterson as the three linemen (or Landri with Cox as the nose instead of Patt)….just an idea