Jeremiah Trotter was a guest of 97.5 The Fanatic last night to talk about the Eagles trade for LB DeMeco Ryans. Having probably been the last good MIKE to play for the Eagles (with the exception of a stretch by Stewart Bradley). Trot is uniquely qualified to comment. He likes DeMeco, but he's still not sold on the wide-9.
"I'm excited about it. This guy is an absolute tackling machine, he's a leader, he has some years on his belt. He's a two time pro bowler so he's been there done that and I think he will come right in and help this defense. Saying that, they still, I believe, have to get away from the wide-9.
Unless you got guys like myself, 255-260, a guy like Carlos Emmons come in at 6-4 255, 260 those type guys that extend long arms, get off blocks and make plays the wide-9 is not going to work too well. Now if you want to do it on third down, that's one thing but they have to get away from the wide 9."
Trot is clearly no fan of the wide-9, but I think the Eagles did start to heed his advice near the end of the year. We certainly saw less of the wide-9 later than we did early in the year and it seemed to work. And actually, the way the team finished last season was part of the reason Trot thinks Juan Castillo deserved to come back.
"I said early on that if Andy comes back, then he deserves another chance. You can't fire a guy after one year especially when you hired him knowing he had never been a defensive coordinator and you know he was going to undergo some growing pains. It wouldn't be right after one season, especially after the way they closed the season out winning four games and the Eagles defense in the top ten. So they showed some signs down the stretch, I know those games didn't mean anything, but you still playing against NFL talent. No matter how you look at it, they're playing against the best players in the world. So I think Juan will do a lot better this year and I think the players will be a lot more comfortable."