Yesterday, a report by Adam Caplan of NFL Network said that the Eagles were interested in Ike Taylor, a cornerback that spend last season with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Lost in that report was another nugget by Caplan. Caplan had some news about how new Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo’s defense may look. Here’s what Caplan had to report, per Pro Football Talk:
“Philadelphia is considering playing more zone coverage under first-year defensive coordinator Juan Castillo in order to complement changes up front. Along the defensive line, new position coach Jim Washburn is implementing a wide nine philosophy in which both ends line up well outside of the offensive tackles trying to block them. The defensive tackles will be up-field pass rushers.”
This makes sense after what Castillo told me along with the other reporters at his introductory news conference. Castillo stressed that he wanted his defense to be an attack first defense. In order to do this, he talked about simplifying the defense so his players could react quicker. It’s been well documented about how rookies and some veterans had trouble grasping Ex-Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott’s schemes.
Zone coverage, if implemented correctly, would allow players like rookie safety Jaiquawn Jarrett to only worry about their zone, react quicker and make plays. A zone defense also requires a lot of trust amongst the players, which could be a problem if their is a short training camp- or no training camp at all. Castillo is famous for his over night film watching sessions, and it seems he will expect that from his players at fist to get the zone down.
Castillo also talked about playing to his defenses strengths, which is speed. This ties into the report that new Defensive Line Coach Jim Washburn is thinking of having his ends play outside of the offensive tackles. Players like Brandon Graham would benefit from such a system, as he would be able to use his speed to get around the guard, and not get held up on the line. Another player that would benefit from this could be Jason Babin, who could be brought in as a free agent.
One thing Castillo talked about at length during his press conference was his ability to use what he learned as a offensive line coach to help. Here is some footage I shot for Gcobb.com, where Castillo talks about how his knowledge could benefit the linebackers in particular.