For those who don’t know, Juan Castillo has been the Eagles Offensive Line coach for the past 13 seasons. Castillo is well known for his ability to develop outstanding offensive lines. He's known by many of his colleagues and players to be a detailed, aggressive and passionate football coach.
Though I have great respect for Juan Castillo, his name was the last name I expected to be related to a search for the Eagles' new defensive coordinator.
When I first read the news I was so surprised I couldn’t believe my eyes. Surely some idiot accidentally typed Juan’s name into an article about the Eagles' new defensive coordinator, but after checking several sources, it was clear I could cancel my eye appointment, this was actually happening.
Castillo was originally a linebacker at Texas A&I and for the USFL's San Antonio Gunslingers. His coaching career began as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M-Kingsville (formerly Texas A&I) in 1982 working with the linebackers and defensive line.
From there, Castillo went to Kingsville High School from 1986-89 where he was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach.
To many Eagles fans, and probably most of them, this is not the splash defensive coordinator hire we were looking for.
If there is any conciliation for Eagles fans, it’s that Castillo can take the thousands of hours of film study and research and use it against opposing offenses.
At first I totally hated this hire, but how can you justify firing Sean McDermott, who had recently gained two years of coordinating experience, only to replace him with someone who has no experience coordinating a 4-3 defense or any defense in the NFL?
After several hours of mental ranting, and the largest confusion headache I’ve had since the Tuck Rule was spawned into existence, I still can't say I'm in love with the hire.
Although you have to think, who understands how to tear apart an offense's line structure more than the guy who has had to constantly hold it together? Sure, every offense has different weaknesses, but I would argue that Castillo understands line structure better than just about anyone.
If there is anyone who knows how to destroy an offense, it's the guy who just spent the last 13 years trying to plug the holes in crucial situations. I would argue that this may also give him some experience as a coordinator, albeit backwards experience. For 13 years, he’s been in the trenches making in-game line adjustments, finding new ways to set the blocking protections.
At this point Juan is incredibly experienced. He knows where holes are prone to develop in each given situation. He knows what kind of blitzes can dismantle an offensive line.
If you think about it, all he has to do is be able to get his guys into the backfield more times than not and force a punt, and with the help of new defensive line coach Jim Washburn, that task can’t be too difficult.
At this point I’m being incredibly optimistic; we still have no idea how a Juan Castillo defense will deal with the ever elusive offensive pass. But as Juan put it in his first press conference as Eagles defensive coordinator, “I’m a defensive guy.” We can only hope.
Have hope Eagles fans, we have no other choice now.