Funny, Juan Castillo was the least talked-about man at the NovaCare facilities this week. While Marty Mornhinweg and Andy Reid and Michael Vick were taking arrows, and DeMeco Ryans and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie were being praised, Castillo quietly slipped into the backdrop.
He offers so little at his press conferences, terrified of giving away anything that could help the opposition, that some reporters have given up on the exercise altogether, opting instead to visit the locker room in search of a more willing dance partner. So Castillo sits on stage in front of a modest gathering, speaks about exactly nothing for a few minutes, and then makes his way out of the auditorium and back behind the scenes.
After a year of public struggles and endless criticism, this is undoubtedly the preferred existence. A down effort against the Ravens will bring some of the heat back, but internally there is a sense that the situation has stabilized. The players have noticed a different Juan Castillo in Year Two, and it has had a ripple effect.
The NFL gave football geeks everywhere our wish this offseason, announcing it would release All-22 coaches’ film to the public (for a small fee, of course).
Unlike TV footage, the All-22 angles account for every player on the field on any given play.
I took a look at the coaches’ tape and came away with some new observations from Sunday’s Eagles-Browns game. We’ll start with the defense here and post offensive observations next.
Selection was based simply on who was available. But it just so happened to be four defensive players and four offensive players. Here are their responses.
Is he absolutely going to play against the Browns?
“Well, I’m going to play. I don’t where the ‘absolutely’ part comes into play. But I practiced today, felt fine, it was crisp, didn’t look as if I had missed much time.”
Yesterday, we went over how the Eagles’ offensive talent stacks up.
Today, let’s take a look at the defense.
I sometimes wonder if Sean McDermott looks at the moves the Eagles have made on that side of the ball the last two years and thinks: Where was this when I was the defensive coordinator?
This offseason, the Eagles used three picks in the first two rounds on defensive players. They also acquired middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans from the Texans. But is the Birds’ talent where it needs to be on defense?
If it’s football season, there’s a linebacker shuffle going on in Philadelphia. Death, taxes, and so on. Even an offseason dedicated in part to shoring up the position couldn’t totally shut down the dance. In the latest shift, Brian Rolle lost his job at WILL in favor of Akeem Jordan. Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo explained the move on Monday.
Had a chance to catch up with Jason Babin on Sunday.The defensive end has been out since late July with a calf strain that was expected to sideline him for 2-3 weeks. We are now in that window, and it sounds like Babin is getting close to a return.
“I know when I’m 100 percent. I’m pretty in-tune with my body. Keep this progress up and I’m sure it will be sooner than later,” said Babin
Jim Washburn put the depth chart up this morning, and it showed “Graham” as one of the starting defensive ends. Granted, it took injuries to both Jason Babin and now Trent Cole to get there, but he’ll take it.
“It feels good because I’ve been working, man,” said Brandon Graham. “That’s the goal – to get the Number One spot. Jason Babin and those guys did a lot last year, but there is competition every year and everybody deserves a chance for that Number One. And hopefully I can push myself up there.”