From SI.com’s Don Banks’ “7 strong hunches for 2012:”
Juan Castillo will be hailed as a much improved defensive coordinator in year two, thanks to better players. Every coach’s intelligence level is tied to his team’s win-loss record to some degree, but the wisdom of moving Castillo from offensive line coach to defensive coordinator last year in Philadelphia was thought one of the all-time dumb moves — at least during the Eagles’ dismal 4-8 start to its “dream” season. Funny, but the risky maneuver got a little smarter looking when Philly finished the year with four consecutive victories to even things out at 8-8.
Castillo will be accorded even smarter status this year, and if the revamped Eagles defense starts quickly, don’t be surprised if the words “stroke of genius” are employed at some point to describe his 2011 promotion. At least Philadelphia went out and got their DC some IQ helpers this offseason, trading for veteran middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans, and then splurging on defense in the draft, with the first four rounds bringing to town defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, linebacker Mychal Kendricks, defensive end Vinny Curry and cornerback Brandon Boykin.
If the Eagles can get better play at safety, and make all those blown fourth-quarter leads a distant memory, Castillo’s unit might vie for the league’s most improved defense in 2012.
It sure would be nice if a hunch could substitute for actual performance on the field but alas, it can’t. Here’s to hoping that Banks is right but I don’t have any confidence whatsoever in Castillo’s ability to scheme on the fly or adjust to a quality opponent. Just remember, the Birds’ coordinator is a guy who was learning on the job last year. I guess you could take solace in the fact there was no mutiny among the defensive players last season – an indication that Castillo retains a level of respect from his players. I however, remain skeptical of the Castillo experiment.