Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo is unhappy with the way his defense has played in the first five games of 2011. The first-year defensive signal-caller says that he's disappointed in his team's 1-4 start, noting that he feels as though his defense is to blame.
From the 20-yard line and out, the defense has actually been solid, allowing the sixth-fewest yards per game in the NFC. The red zone, however, has been a different story. The Eagles have allowed the most red zone touchdowns in the league, 11, and are last in the league in red zone efficiency.
Despite the defense's struggles this season, Castillo believes in his team, and in himself. He knows, though, that if the Eagles are going to rebound this season, it needs to happen this week against the Redskins. At 1-4, they cannot afford to experience any more growing pains.
"As a defense, you're supposed to win games, period," Castillo said. "It doesn't matter what the offense does, or how many points they score. If the defense goes out and shuts the other team down, you win in this league. Defense wins championships. I'm disappointed right now because I know that we can be that defense that decides games in our favor, but we just haven't been that team thus far this season. We're going to turn it around."
Castillo's confidence is not without justification. In the fourth quarter of Sunday's loss to the Bills, he made some minor schematic adjustments to the front seven, and the defense was able to hold Buffalo to just 43 yards of total offense and no points. The longtime Eagles coach indicated that we'll see similar adjustments this week against the Redskins.
""We're not going to change our wide-nine scheme for our front four," he said. "We feel that it gives us a good opportunity to pressure the quarterback. In game, we'll have to make some adjustments, but going in there are some things that we'll be doing differently. I can't get into the particulars, but you'll see some new wrinkles that will help us, especially in stopping the run."
The Eagles defense was so good, though, in that fourth quarter in Buffalo that the Bills didn't even sniff the red zone. Castillo knows that the defense will be tested by the Redskins and their strong rushing attack, especially inside the 20.
And Castillo vows to get the big plays in the red zone eliminated.
"The thing we have to stop doing is giving up big plays," Castillo said. "That falls upon me, and it's something I need to fix. We need to mix up our coverages, get consistent pressure, and then make sure that the guys understand their assignments and responsibilities. Really, our big problem is that we're just giving up big plays in the red zone. We will get this fixed, though."
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