Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo will be heavily scrutinized this season and rightfully so. Last season, Castillo was the primary whipping boy for the Eagles defensive woes.
Head coach Andy Reid, in an unprecedented move, promoted Juan Castillo from offensive line coach to defensive coordinator before the beginning of the 2011 season.
The Eagles defense struggled the first half of the 2011 season. They allowed 178 points in their first eight games. The NFL lock out shortened training camps, so players had less time to mesh.
Evidently, the Eagles new defensive personnel (corner-backs Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and defensive end Jason Babin), along with the addition of defensive line coach Jim Washburn, did not have enough time together.
The corner-backs were placed out of position in a new scheme. The defensive line installed a wide nine technique that created huge gaps the young, inexperienced linebackers could not fill. It was a mess.
The defense strengthened it’s play during the last half of the season. The Eagles went on to win their last four games, allowing only 46 points during the span (11.5 points per game). Overall, the 2011 defensive finished within the top ten in yards and points allowed per game..
The Eagles have bolstered their defense during the off-season with the additions of DT Fletcher Cox, LB Mychal Kendricks, LB DeMeco Ryans, CB Brandon Boykins and S O.J. Otogwe. On paper, the personnel should actually be better.
Juan Castillo has to improve in his second season. Castillo must draw upon the experience he gained last year to avoid all of the critical mistakes the Eagles defense made.
Despite the season ending numbers, Castillo will always have to prove himself as to why he ascended to the position. Castillo’s position will be on the hot seat ( def: a position in which one is subjected to extreme stress or discomfort, as by excessive criticism) in 2012, even more so than head coach Andy Reid.