Juan Castillo nuggets: Eagles defense farther along this year than they were last year

Juan Castillo spoke with the media after this morning’s walk-throughs.  He threw out some pretty good nuggets.  The highlights:

  • Walk-throughs, OTAs, and minicamp are all about learning assignments.  It’s mental repetition, but also muscle-memory.  This afternoon will be the first glimpse of seeing the players play fast.
  • There were an assortment of personnel looks in the secondary in practice yesterday and Thursday, particularly in the nickel.  Nnamdi Asomugha got some work in the slot with Curtis Marsh working on the outside.  In other cases, Joselio Hanson came in at the slot and Nnamdi stayed on the outside. Somebody asked Castillo about how the secondary would be lining up this season, and Castillo said, “It’s a match defense. Every week will be different.” What he means is that depending on the strengths of the personnel of the opposing offense, the Eagles will deploy their assortment of CBs accordingly.
  • He’s excited to see Brandon Graham this afternoon.  He noted that Graham has a chip on his shoulder. “Brandon Graham worked his butt off this offseason.”
  • Castillo repeated the number 8 several times in regard to the number of spots available on the DL rotation.  I think that he meant that in any given game, 8 defensive linemen will be part of the rotation, not that they’ll only keep 8 guys.
  • He thinks that having OTAs and minicamp has made a big difference for Casey Matthews.  The rookies this year had 5 weeks of 2-3 hours of work per day more than the rookies last year.
  • When asked about the difference between Casey Matthews’ heavy load of responsibilities last year and a similar situation this year with Mychal Kendricks, Castillo went into some detail on what the rookies did in rookie minicamps in May: “We were able to break down one concept, one coverage, and you do that coverage the whole day.  (In rookie minicamp), we did one coverage for 5 practices, which is our main coverage. They were able to understand not just the concept, but the weaknesses of the coverage.  Everything has a weakness, everything has a strength.  So that has really helped Mychal a lot.  That’s an advantage that Casey didn’t have.”


  • Castillo said that Andy Reid hired all the coaches on his staff because they’re good teachers.  Continuing on the theme from the bullet point above, the shortened offseason affected the coaching staff as well: “When we installed the coverages last year in training camp, we were installing 2 and 3 coverages at a time.  This year we’re installing 1 coverage at a time and the guys understand it. We’re really farther along.  I saw that in the walk-throughs.  (They’re picking it up so well that I may have) made the walk-throughs too easy. We’re going to move a little quicker.”
  • When asked if Oshiomogho Atogwe will get any work with the 1’s today, he answered that training camp is 3 weeks long and everyone will get a chance to prove themselves.  (That sounds like a no to me, but we’ll find out in a few hours).
  • Jaiquawn Jarrett is more comfortable than he was last year.

Hitting this afternoon!  Can’t wait.

One quick aside.  I’d like to formally thank the people at Starters Pub in Bethlehem.  There is no wireless internet in the media trailer at Eagles camp, and since I don’t have an internet card, I had to find accommodations elsewhere.  Starters let me set up shop at the end of the bar, and even let me unplug the Megatouch game so I can plug in my laptop.  Food is great too.  Had a cheesesteak whiz without yesterday.  Real deal.  If you head out to training camp, I highly recommend stopping in, and if you see some dork on his laptop at the end of the bar, stop over and say hi.


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  12. phillyangst says:

    Hey Jimmy, great update. I make it a habit to go to Starters Pub when I’m here at Lehigh. I had dinner there last night (Diablo wings, Jack Mushroom Burger and plenty of Yuengling). Sounds as if Castillo has also gotten better with his press conferences by giving more interesting quotes. I’m looking forward to the afternoon practice. I’ll especially be watching Graham, Bell, Watkins, Jarrett and Kendricks.

    1. Yeah, I had the cheesesteak, some soft pretzel appetizer one day, buffalo chicken fingers another. Waiting for my buffalo chicken cheesesteak as I type this. Heathy eats!

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  13. nicolajNN says:

    Great write-up, I haven’t been able to follow training camp much so far, so it’s greatly appreciated. One question though, is Juan still as awkward as last year when talking to the press as he was last year or has it improved?

    1. Good question. Last year, he sat up at a podium, and reporters fired questions at him. This year, they’re not really doing that. The offensive/defensive assistants either sit at a table where other reporters can sit with them, or they stand there as reporters crowd around them and ask questions. It has a much more personal feel and Juan seems much more comfortable in that setting.

      And thanks.

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