Cullen Jenkins won a Super Bowl last year with the Packers, so when he speaks on the season and the Eagles struggles this year, it has some weight behind it. When asked this week whether the defense's improvement over the last month was due to Juan Castillo growing into his job, Jenkins said it was the players who were finally executing.
"I think it's more with the players and I think it's a lot more experience with everybody playing together. I think people are really stepping up and making plays when they're put in a position to, as for earlier in the season we weren't doing that very well. And obviously, when that happens it all reflects on the coaches."
When further pressed as to whether Juan was putting them in better positions to succeed, Jenkins reiterated that it's been the players' fault all along.
"The players have just stepped it up more. We were put in a good position earlier and we didn't come away with the plays or the victories when we needed them."
"With each game he’s gotten a little bit better and kind of understands what works in the NFL and what doesn’t, because he had never done it before," the cornerback added. "So he’s getting better with that and getting better with his calls, and I think the better the calls, the more confident the players."
This actually brings me back to that Rich Hoffman article we linked to recently about Castillo. He had a very important question regarding the defensive coordinator.
Was the problem in the first five games that Castillo was overmatched, or was it an overall lack of talent up the gut of the defense?
You can answer it either way, but there is a problem. If you decide that Castillo was overmatched at the start of the season, you can only conclude that he isn't overmatched anymore. And if you decide that the problem was a talent problem at linebacker and safety, well, now that the numbers and the results are so much better, what exactly is the issue?
We've seen quotes from players that suggest both sides. But either way, doesn't it seem that whether Castiilo has finally figured it out or whether the players are just finally executing his scheme (which must have been good), that it bodes well for his future?