Forget the fact that we don't have the LB's for this system, at least for a minute. My problem is how we hired Juan. When he was offered the job, he had no say in the wide-9, had little to no say in the personnel, and I am sure the schemes and formations are mainly not of his original design. I am willing to bet he would have took the job no matter what alignment or base D we were going to run, as he would have been stupid not to. 4-3, 3-4, 46, he would have taken the job if they said they were switching DJ to nose tackle. Not that I blame him for taking the job - nice pay raise, experience at the coordinator level, etc. But how many coordinators would have accepted a job where they had such little say in how the scheme would be structured from the outset? Picture Mike Martz taking a corrdinator position where the base offense is already set for him, or Spagnuolo, Marinelli, Capers, etc accepting a position in a similar situation. No fucking way do they take the job.
When a coach is hired as a coordinator, they likely have an entire system in place that covers all levels of their respective side of the ball. Regarding rookie coordinators, they are usually veterans of a system that has seen success at the level they coach at, and upon getting promoted they implement whatever system they cut their teeth on. And while they are coordinator rookies, they certainly are versed enough in the given system to have contingencies for most scenarios that may occur in whatever system they run.
But Castillo has absolutely 0 experience coordinating a D at this level, and the system he supposedly runs is just all over the place. And while I am willing to concede that Castillo does not have the power or control that just about every other D coordinator in the league has when it comes to making changes, I am also confident that it would not matter much if he was actually given the freedom to run the D as he sees fit.
The wide 9 obviously has its strengths, but, as the Eagles have displayed thus far, such a system should never, ever be run unless you have a coordinator that truly understands the caveats of that particular up-front alignment. A defensive coordinator using the wide 9 should have a keen sense of the skillsets of the 2nd and 3rd level players, and know exactly when and where to make adjustments, how to disguise and compensate for shortcomings at the positions behind the line, etc, etc. Having veteran position coaches for the LB’s and DB’s that understand the roles and responsibilities of their respective players regarding a wide 9 front also would not hurt. The Eagles have none of that, and dumped a brand new system on a neophyte coordinator who has neither the experience or the wisdom to make any adjustments.
As some have mentioned in other posts, part of me wonders how we would have been if we took last years D and basically plugged in Nnamdi and Jenkins, and perhaps Babin. While we likely would not have had the success in disrupting the QB that we have had so far this year, with Nnamdi locking down the right side, our #1 defensive weakness of 2010 would essentially become our #1 strength, not to mention the other cascading effects such as Chaney being freed up in the middle to use his speed and attack with the guys in front of him going 2-gap, and the blitzes we would be able to run without edge coverage concern.
In conclusion, I think Washburn’s wide 9 has its merits, and I would support the Eagles running it, so as long as the person responsible for architecting the defense fully understands its strengths and weaknesses, as well as the appropriate countermeasures to how our opponents are likely to attack such a defensive front.