For the third straight week, the Eagles will have a new look at the linebacker position.
Brian Rolle is taking over the weakside linebacker spot in place of Casey Matthews. It's a move that defensive coordinator Juan Castillo believes will help shore up the Eagles defense.
"I've seen Brian's athletic ability. He's an explosive player, and he makes plays," said the first-year defensive coordinator. "We're going to continue to use a rotation at linebacker. Rolle has had some good games, and he's also had a couple of games where you could see that he was still learning."
Castillo does not see this as a demotion for Matthews, who will still be very involved in the defense. The coach has high hopes for Matthews.
"I just want to stress to him that he needs to keep working hard and keep improving," Castillo said." There are some things that Casey did very well, and there are some things that he's still improving upon. Most importantly, he's still in some of our packages just like Rolle was the first three games. Casey's been in the nickel, in the Buffalo. He's been in base, and, really, we're just trying to use all of our talent."
The offensive line coach turned defensive coordinator believes that the same principles that allowed him to turn a struggling offensive line into a great one in his first year with Philadelphia hold true for the current situation at linebacker.
"I remember when I got hired to coach the offensive line, this team had problems at the position," Castillo said. "What you do is you work hard, you work on the fundamentals. You do the important things over and over. We're doing the same thing now with our linebackers. We have plans; every position has daily musts that they repeat them over and over.
"You can see that our guys are improving. They are young, so it's going to take a little bit of time until you start seeing Pro Bowl play from our guys. We do have guys who have the ability to be Pro Bowl caliber. Now, it's time for us as coaches to develop them, and for them to believe in themselves and make plays."
Looking to rebound from back-to-back losses, Castillo knows how tough it has been and reiterated his commitment to the organization, the city, and the fans.
"We're here in Philadelphia; we're here to win," said an impassioned Castillo. "We've lost two games, that hurts, that hurts, that's why you work your butt off and that's why all of our guys are working their butts off, because, you know what, we don't want to lose. We don't want to lose for the fans; we don't want to lose for our owner.
"There's nobody in that room who wants to lose. It hurts. I mean, right now, it hurts. So what do you do about it? You work harder, you stay up longer, you fight, you compete, and then you look forward to Sunday so you can get that 'W.' That's what you do. That's what real men do, that's what our guys are, and that's what we're going to do."
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