A week into yet another “Offseason of Discontent” and all is quite on the Juan Castillo front… well maybe not all is quiet.
As you may have heard – and we didn’t necessarily feel the need to address right away – the Eagles parted ways with Secondary/Defensive Backs Coach, Johnnie Lynn.
Why is this important? Well that means the 2012 Eagles will have their sixth Secondary Coach in as many years. That’s right… since 2007, Andy Reid has employed six different men as the coach of the team’s Defensive Backs unit: John Harbaugh (2007), Sean McDerm
outt (2008), Brian Stewart (2009), Dick Jauron (2010) and Lynn (2011).
So, while jettisoning the DB’s coach isn’t earth-shattering or even headline making news (except on CSNPhilly.com), it seemingly does mark the beginning of another shakeup in the Defensive coaching staff.
Are the Eagles seriously going to change the entire Defensive staff for a second straight year(*)? It’s sure starting to look that way, and seems to be widely assumed. But there are a few factors to consider.
(*)Considering all the success they had with such a huge turnover this year…
While the team likely wants to obtain Jim Washburn and his successful-against-the-pass/detrimental-against-the-run “Wide-9” Defensive Line scheme – as you know, The Walrus LOVES superficial stats like sacks and INTs (see: Samuel, Asante) – that may force Andy’s hand into keeping
Offensive Line Coach Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo around for another season.
Ideally, former Eagles’ Linebackers Coach/Jim Johnson protégé and recent head cheese of an underperforming St. Louis Rams team, Steve Spagnuolo, would return to where his career first took off, and take the reins as D-Coordinator. Stevie Spags oversaw the Eagles phenomenal Secondary of the early 2000’s (Troy Vincent, Bobby Taylor, Brian Dawkins, anyone?) and last
good decent respectable Linebacking corps in Philadelphia – when the likes of Jeremiah Trotter, Ike Reese and (gulp) Dhani Bowtie Jones helped the team reach a Super Bowl. He was also the showrunner of a tenacious and ferocious Giants defense that defeated viciously tormented Tom Brady in Super Bowl XXII.
Word around the league though, is that Spags wouldn’t be able to co-exist with Washburn and the “Wide
-Gaping hole-9,” which is both good and bad. Good, because maybe then the Birds could put together some semblence of a run-Defense. Bad, because Washburn is clearly capable of getting the most out of Defensive Ends. We all know about Babin’s 18-sack year and Trent Cole’s reemergence as a dominate End… But, did you know that the Eagles led the NFL this season in sacks without sending a blitz? According to Sheil Kapadia in today’s “Moving the Chains” column (see #6), 38 of the Eagles’ 50 sacks came without sending extra pressure. That’s thanks to Washburn’s unusual scheme.
But again, as nice as leading the league in sacks may be, it’s a superficial stat when not coupled with the ability of stopping the run. Or having Linebackers that are capable of tackling.
There’s also talk today, according to ProFootballTalk.com, via Philly.com’s Les Bowen, of Spags taking a year off from coaching. Oy(**). Spagnuolo taking a year off would be the nail-in-the-coffin for the Eagles DC position. No Spags, no change.
(**)Though in the piece, his wife seems to think he’s full of shit about taking time off. What’s likely to happen? Always go with the wife…
Will The Walrus really look elsewhere for a new Defensive Coach? It seems highly unlikely. Thanks to the Defense
catching fire playing better than a bunch of middle schoolers over the last four weeks of the season, Reid a built-in (albeit bullshit) excuse for bringing Juan back.
Maybe it’s not so certain that Juan is out as Defensive C.oordinator But at least he’ll have a chance to help Reid fail to win a Super Bowl for a fourteenth straight season!
So there’s that…