Andy Reid Must Surround Castillo With Experience

Written By Bob Cunningham On Saturday, February 05, 2011
Now that Juan Castillo is officially on board as the Eagles defensive coordinator and Jim Washburn has been hired as the defensive line coach, it's time to turn the attention toward the linebackers and secondary coach.

Usually these hires aren't too terribly important, but with a first-time defensive coordinator they become decisions with potentially the entire season riding on them.

The guys hired must have a lot of experience and have shown an ability in the past to be successful coaches. There is no more room for inexperience.

While I don't believe the transition will be as hard for Castillo as others think, I'm also not naive to think he'll be a defensive mastermind by the team the season starts. It's simply not realistic. So in order to help the process go much smoother, he will need guys around him who he can trust to give him input.

Washburn already being on board definitely helps that, but it's only a start. The key issues that need to be addressed on this team are the linebacking corps and the secondary, so the coaches hired will need experience anyway if they're going to get the most out of the guys currently on the roster.

Jamar Chaney looks like a budding star, Stewart Bradley is a guy who could be very good with some coaching, Keenan Clayton will need a ton of coaching in his position switch from a college safety/linebacker hybrid into a pure WILL, and then some real coaching for guys like Akeem Jordan and Moise Fokou certainly wouldn't hurt.

The same thing goes for the secondary, although to a lesser degree. While guys can only be taught, there probably isn't a whole lot of room for growth with a guy like Asante Samuel or Quintin Mikell (who I believe will be re-signed), but odds are good the Eagles have at least one rookie to add to the mix on top of youngsters already on the roster in Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, and Trevard Lindley.

And while I've been a vocal detractor of Sean McDermott, I will go to bat for him and say the guys underneath him were nothing short of pathetic.

Rory Segrest went from bad special teams coordinator to worse defensive line coach, Bill Shuey looked more like a guy the linebackers would pick on then learn from, and he only had Dick Jauron in his corner for one season, and even then he was probably looking over his shoulder wondering when Jauron would take his job.

That said, I'm still not a McDermott fan and am glad he's gone.

Castillo, I believe, will harp on the fundamentals, which is exactly what this team needs. They need to restock the talent on defense and then start at square one. Start from their very first read-step and work your way up from there. Throw in a lot of tackling drills and you have a defense with a solid foundation that can be taught the more intricate details later.

The beauty of this game is that things don't have to be complicated to work well, and I think that's what we'll see from a Castillo-lead defense. He's not going to think of blitzes like Jim Johnson or Dick LeBeau, but I think we'll see a unit low in penalties and missed tackles and that alone could be enough to substantially improve on what McDermott left behind.

If Castillo can beat the fundamentals into them, and the details can be taught by experienced coaches at each position, we just might see a defense that does a lot of overachieving in 2011.

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