I feel like this is already known, but I just wanted to elaborate on it. Last year parts of our defense was terrible. By the end of the season it was determined that heads needed to roll. I think everyone on these boards was in agreement that this was something that needed to happen. The offense was clicking, but in order to get over the hump the defense would have to improve. Go on a journey with me my friends, but be warned, this may get long winded.
The 2010 Eagles defense looked alot better on paper then they did on tape. Ranked 12th in the NFL, this defense was historically bad in the redzone, and refused to get off the field on 3rd downs. Changes would be made. These changes started with wholesale changes in the coaching staff, and I also believe this is where the problems started. It was easiest for me to explain this by comparing 2 different scenarios. The Texans last year were in a similar (probably worse) situation last year. Ranked 30th in the NFL this team also decided it was time for changes. These changes started with the hiring of DC Wade Philips, who brought along his 3-4 scheme. A scheme this defense had never played before, and was unsure if the pieces would work. For the sake of keeping this short I'll sum up this next part. Guys transitioned to new positions, weak links were replaced. Missing pieces were filled through the draft and free agency. Pieces that fit correctly into the scheme Philips was installing. This defense now as of the end of the 4th game is currently ranked 9th in total defense, a upgrade from 30th last year. The passing defense which was ranked 32nd in the league last year is now also 9th. Impressive
Now we go back to the off season of the Eagles. In comes "DC" Juan Castillo, a guy with 0 experience at the NFL level. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that someone that doesn't have that experience couldn't get the job done. My gripe is that you don't bring in a guy like this to fix a defense that was historically bad, but I digress. So here comes Castillo and his scheme. To this day I still have no idea what this scheme is, and I think that was the first part of the problem. You can't draft guys to better your defense if you don't really have a defensive identity. I almost feel like Castillo was brought in to be Andy's contractor. My trade is construction so bear with me. This is Andy's defense he wants to build, but he needs someone to "overlook the project". In comes Juan to oversee the project. Problem is a contractor usually chooses his subs. Ones he has worked with, that he is comfortable with. makes things run smoother with him knowing these guys work well together. Well in this case Andy Reid I assume has chosen his own subs, but how well do they work together? I know one thing. I don't want my house to be a contractors first project, especially if I'm in dire need of a professionally built home. Anyway, enough of those analogies. Moving on. Now we have come to the draft, and this is where we should be looking for players to bring into Castillos "new scheme". The fact that we had bad linebacker play last year, coupled with the fact that they knew with Washburn's scheme we would need above average linebacker play, you would assume they would draft talent early. I guess the 4th round wasn't early enough. Surely these guys would be sitting behind an acquired Vet to learn for a while. Nope. Free agency rolls around and we start to acquire some very talented players. The defense seems to be taking shape, but something doesn't seem right. As we already discussed we would neat great LB play, yet not a single player was brought in to compete with our 4th,6th, and 7th rounders. Interesting. But hey, no one will be able to pass on us with the shut down man corners we've acquired, and that rookie Jarrett we drafted should be able to help lay the wood in the running game. What's that you say? The press corners we've acquired are playing zone defense? But if you are developing a defense with corners playing in zone, why bring in talented man corners? Sigh. And that hard hitting safety we drafted? Sitting on the bench watching our defense get gouged, and tackles being missed everywhere. Is he really worse than this?
Sorry figured I needed a break in there somewhere. Paragraph structure is not my strong suit.
So.... all this pretty much brings us to where we stand today. A defense that was historically bad in certain areas last year has become historically bad all around. Have the players helped out the situation? Not really, but what did you expect from a group of low round LB picks, and a couple soft safeties. Mix in a couple semi soft CB's playing out of position and you have a recipe for disaster. Is this really how you wanted your house built Andy? The 12th ranked defense has now become the 17th ranked defense. The run defense has gone from 15th to 30th. A defense that was supposedly made to hold a lead just can't do it. The wide 9 is producing sacks, but when the 4 man rush doesn't hit home bad things are happening. Nnamdi is looking lost out there, as are a lot of guys in a defense that was supposedly going to simplify things. Somethings not going as planned.
So, going back to my comparison, the Texans hired Philips who came in with detailed plans and built it the way he had it planned. He put guys in position to succeed, and taught them to play those positions. Those guys have bought into him and it's working over there. Meanwhile Castillo comes in with ideas. He tries to design a defense that he wants, built around a defensive line concept of someone else's while not playing to the strengths of his multi million dollar DB's. Guys are literally given starting jobs with no competition. If you ask my honest opinion I don't think this defense has bought into Juan and this this asinine play calling of his.You can say that it's not the coaches fault for poor tackling, and other mistakes, but it is the coaches fault if the talent just isn't there. The coaches had 2 opportunities to improve this linebacking core. They failed miserably during the draft, and didn't even try during free agency. Andy Reed hired his contractor and they built a house this off season. Problem is a house not built properly will not stand long. Hell I don't even see how this house passed inspection....