Since returning to his starting role in Week 6, safety Kurt Coleman has led the Eagles in tackles and interceptions, with 64 and four, respectively. A seventh-round pick in 2010, the former Ohio State Buckeye is beginning to hit his groove.
The same, he believes, is true of defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, who led an excellent defensive performance Sunday against the Miami Dolphins in which the Eagles allowed only 10 points, notched a season-high nine sacks and added an interception to Coleman's log.
"We had some minor tweaks to the defensive scheme last week that really helped us out," said the second-year safety. "Juan really seems to be coming into his own as a defensive play-caller. In Miami, the great thing was that his calls were changing constantly, which helped keep their offense off-guard."
Coleman and Castillo have more in common than just their recent full assimilations to their respective positions. They both love the physical nature of the game and it shows in their work and in their talk.
"Juan wanted us to have a more consistent attacking attitude. That's something that we've been missing up until last week," said the 5-11 safety. "Against the Dolphins, we knew their offensive line plays to the whistle… sometimes past it. Coaches want that out of their players. We understood going into the game that we wanted to stand toe-to-toe with these guys all game long. That's what we did. We were going to fight them and stop them no matter what."
Coleman was criticized earlier this season when he missed a key tackle on Victor Cruz that resulted in a touchdown and his temporary removal from the starting lineup. Castillo, too, has been criticized for the performance of the overall defense. But, those two have not given up on one another.
"Juan's not going to quit on us, and we're not going to quit on Juan, or any of the other coaches, or our teammates, or the fans. This team is not one that will just give up. We'll keep on fighting," Coleman said.
Sunday was an example of just how good Coleman and Castillo can be when they are at their best. With three truly must-win games remaining on the schedule, expect to see both men rise to the challenge.
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