Andy Reid Foolishly Destroyed His Defensive Formula For WinningBREAKING NEWS, Coaching Staff, Eagles, News Monday, October 10th, 2011
Eagles head coach Andy Reid has got a problem on the defensive side of the football, which I don’t think he can solve this season. Say what you want about the new “Wide Nine” alignment and the Eagles success in getting quarterback sacks, but the bottom line is that the Birds have won only one game out of five while playing this “Wide Nine”.
Reid went to the playoffs 11 out of 13 years by playing Jim Johnson’s defensive system, but he foolishly decided to abandon that system. He made a mistake by listening to all the people who focus on his inability to win a Super Bowl and changed the defensive system which had been responsible for his success.
All he needed to do was improve the personnel not change the system. Last year they had a rookie defensive coordinator in Sean McDermott, but they lacked the talent in the secondary to play the defense.
Johnson always had quality cornerbacks, Troy Vincent, Bobby Taylor, Al Harris, Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown and Asante Samuel to play his system, but McDermott had only one cornerback, Samuel, a year ago. Instead of tweaking the defense, Reid made some major structural changes and he’s destroyed his formula for winning. This football team isn’t going any where this year.
I’ve been saying all along that the Eagles made too many changes during the off season. They made some very important structural changes on both sides of the ball and they’re not working. If was foolish of Andy Reid to change his defensive front while also making someone as inexperienced as Castillo the defensive coordinator.
The Eagles are sitting in the same defensive alignment too much. One of the keys to Jim Johnson’s success was his ability to give the offense different looks. Rookie defensive coordinator, Castillo has helped out each offense the Birds have faced by playing the same front all the time.
You’ve got to play multiple fronts in the NFL. Sometimes you show them an under front, which shifts the line to the weak side (side away from the tight end), sometimes you show them an over front, by shifting the defensive line to the strongside (tight end side). Sometimes you have defensive line set up in a balanced 4-3 look.
You must give them different things to think about. Sometimes it requires moving up into an all-out blitz to force the quarterback to make a quick decision. There’s a rhythm to making defensive calls. I’m sure that Castillo is still learning to attack quarterback’s from a physical perspective and from a strategic perspective. At times a defense has to enforce its will on the offense.
Castillo is learning on the job, just like a new rookie quarterback would be learning. Plus the coupling of Castillo, a new young defensive coordinator and Jim Washburn, a strong-willed defensive line coach was a mistake.
The Eagles run defense is poor and inconsistent. The defensive line is always on the attack after the quarterback, which would be fine if you had an outstanding set of linebackers and safeties, but you don’t have them. They are both inept at tackling and covering running backs and tight ends.
The Birds linebackers play dumb football. They don’t anticipate screens and draws which is what everybody is going to run versus the “Wide Nine”. The linebackers should go into every game expecting. Screens and draws are what you use against a good pass rush. Buffalo ran five screens for huge yardage before the Eagles linebackers started to expect them. You can’t win playing foolish football like that.
The only way the Eagles can successfully continue playing this “Wide Nine” here in Philadelphia with their current linebacker personnel is if they play much more man-to-man with the corners playing without help over the top. They should put more pressure on their cornerbacks in pass coverage as a way of protecting their linebackers and safeties.
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