Philadelphia Eagles: Juan Castillo Can Turn Something Out Of Nothing

Dan Pennwyn@@WeBleedingGreenCorrespondent IMay 17, 2010

There is one thing that every NFL team must have to become a legitimate playoff contender year in and year out—five brick walls for an offensive line.

No matter how good a quarterback has proved to be or the anticipation of finding out what a rookie prospect can bring to the table, none of that matters unless there are five men in front of him who can stop a flood of jerseys gunning for him.

Over the last decade the Eagles offensive line has become a line of admiration around the NFL.

It has become a unit, led by line coach Juan Castillo, who is considered one of the best in the business, an offensive line known for creating massive holes in the run game and providing ample time in pass protection.

The 2010 season appears to be headed in a good direction with the exception of the injured Jamaal Jackson.

Jamaal endured a season ending ACL injury in the the game against the Denver Broncos that caused him to miss the final two games of the 2009 regular season—the final game against the Dallas Cowboys and the rematch just one week later in the playoffs. 

He also understands that in some cases it only takes one injury for another player to be hurled towards stardom—in fact that is exactly how Jamaal got his start.

"I'm pretty much familiar with the 'one play away' statement, when you're out there, you have to be as hungry as you can and just be humble. I'm trying to get back and do whatever I can to help this team ."

In 2005 when (then) center Hank Fraley went out with an injured rotator cuff, Jackson stepped in and took over for the remainder of the season. He then beat Fraley outright for the starting job during training camp in 2006.

And Jamaal has been the Eagles offensive centerpiece ever since!

Will he be able to fully rebound from his injury and return full strength in time to regain his starting title or is it possible for another player on the bubble to take over—just like he did in 2006?

Serving as backups behind Jackson are Nick Cole, who has the most playing time next to Jackson but struggled against bigger D-lines like the Dallas Cowboys, and then they have A.Q. Shipley who is a natural center out of Pittsburgh Unniversity.

There are also players like Mike McGlynn and Max Jean-Gilles who could prove to become dominating athletes at the center position.

Coach Castillo is known for finding unknown talents and turning them into NFL stars.

Athletes like Eagles starting center Jamaal Jackson, Nick Cole, Hank Fraley, Artis Hicks, Bubba Miller, and Steve Edwards were all NFL rookie free agents that Juan Castillo turned into big names throughout the league.

Is Castillo about to find another gem waiting to take this opportunity by the horns and make a real name for himself or will Jamaal's injury further impact the Eagles' offensive game plans in 2010? 

The first step for every player being looked at as a center is to show up at Lehigh Valley mentally and physically prepared—Nick Cole must be the most prepared though!

There aren't any rumors floating around saying there is an open competition for the starting center position in the Eagles franchise but if a player comes to camp, like Nick Cole, and shows he has what it takes to be a starting center in the NFL and can lead the offensive line, Jamaal Jackson's job could be on the line!

We'll all find out if anyone has what it takes in just a short while but this is one position fans will want to keep an eye on during camp.


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