Philadelphia Eagles News

Defensive Assistant Coaches

Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo

On the importance of the sessions with the rookies, in terms of getting them up to speed: "It's very critical for all of the young guys. They have an opportunity to see and compete with the older guys. The OTAs were really good to really see some of the concepts of our defense and now to come back and just kind of get a little refresher course. Really, not even that. We're kind of moving on. You see some of the things we were working on today; already, we're ahead of schedule. So it's really exciting and it's exciting for us too."

On whether there is a different level of excitement with the young guys in camp: "It's exciting because we have some really good young players. Some of those young guys have a chance to help this year, so really it's exciting and it's also good that we can help our defense so that they can be prepared with the veteran guys."

On whether he expects to see improvement in the defensive line with additions at the linebacker position: "Well, a lot of times improvement is not numbers. Improvement is consistency, meaning that sometimes you put a lot of pressure on the quarterback and not get sacks or there's somebody in his face. That is what we really expect to see more of. The numbers don't always tell the truth."

On what S Oshiomogho Atogwe will bring to the defense: "Experience, which is important because our safeties are young. I think to their credit, they're both in their second or third year. They're pretty young kids. (Atogwe) brings a lot of experience and competition."

On the difference LB DeMeco Ryans has made in elevating the play of his teammates: "He's a leader. He's done it. They can look to him and the way he carries himself on the field, the way he carries himself off the field, it's unbelievable."

On whether Ryans is at the point where he can be teaching and not learning: "I think the key was, again, the OTAs and everybody got to be around DeMeco. DeMeco knows that you can't just come in. The guys have to gravitate to him and he was able to do that by the way he handled himself. (He is a) professional and student. He was here for all of the OTAs and did a great job."

On what he saw from rookie LB Mychal Kendricks in college: "He was athletic. He was relentless. He's a guy you don't want to meet in a back alley. He's got that look and he's a great kid. He's a Philadelphia Eagle now."

Defensive Line Coach Jim Washburn

On what he will miss in the absence of DT Mike Patterson: "He always plays in the right place and does the right thing, and he always plays hard and knows what to do. This is a constant. You turn on the film and wonder how (DT) Fletcher (Cox) or (DE) Vinny (Curry) is going to play or whatever, and Mike was the old solid guy that is always there. That's a comfort to a coach to know that he's always going to do the right thing. Mike Patterson might be the one of the best people I ever met. He doesn't have to come to these rookie meetings at night and the afternoon, but he's there. I said, 'Mike, you don't have to be there,' and he said, 'I like to be there.' He likes football and he's a good one. We miss him, now."

On whether the loss of Patterson puts DT Fletcher Cox on an accelerated course: "He's going to be accelerated anyway. He's a good player and he has to play. It's the same thing where we're going to have the four tackles be starters, and then somebody comes out first. He's a mature guy anyway. I spent time with him at our facility, took him out to eat, and found out who he was. He's mature and he's savvy. I gave him a riddle two nights ago, the hardest riddle I had, and the next morning he told me he had the answer. I said, 'You google'd it, didn't you?' and he said, 'Yeah I did, I cheated.' He's clever and he's smart."  

On whether he sees DT Antonio Dixon taking the next step in his scheme after missing 12 games last season due to injury: "I was so disappointed. This spring, he worked his butt off and he's down to maybe 330 from 360 or whatever it was. I said, 'Wow, this guy has some quickness and he likes to play.' He's tough and he has ability. I was pleasantly surprised. I had seen film of him in the past but we didn't do what we do, but he's a real guy. I'm excited about him. He's a really good person, and he really wants to be a good player. I like him a lot and he's going to help us."

On how much he has enjoyed working with offensive line coach Howard Mudd and having their positions face each other every day: "It's fun to know that we were against each other for so many years. He called me on Friday nights after the week was over and ask me how practice went. I would sit there and tell him that he's a crazy son of a gun. We sit on the bench an hour before the games and talk about motorcycles or something. Now, to actually see him, all of the stuff that I used to think was so ungodly complicated actually wasn't. All along, it looked so difficult. He's the best assistant coach. The best thing about Howard coming here is that I don't ever have to coach against Howard ever again. He's so much better than I was, it's a joke. He probably liked going against me."

Secondary/Safeties Coach Mike Zordich

On his thoughts of the events at his alma mater, Penn State: "As a parent of three kids, those victims, the things that happened to those kids, those children, that is tough for me to think about ... The circumstances, the consequences that came out yesterday, are they difficult? Yes. But we have to accept them and we have to understand why those things were put on Penn State. It's a sad story, and really, that's all I want to say about that."

On how he sees the safety situation right now: "I think it's a great situation. With Nate (Allen), Kurt (Coleman), JJ (Jaiquawn Jarrett), and now with OJ (Atogwe) brought in the fold and certainly Colt (Anderson) is in that fold as well but not for a couple weeks. There is more competition, which is great because you always want competition because it brings out the best in you. Plus, with (Atogwe's) experience and his play-making ability, we have a pretty good player."

On whether he believes that Atogwe can be the same solid player that he was: "I still see a pretty darn good football player. I don't know what happened (at the Redskins). I see a guy with a lot of playing experience, very good play-making ability, and I see a guy who knows how to get turnovers. Those are very important things."

On whether it is matter of experience in terms of better play from the safeties: "Absolutely. The more games that these kids get in under their belt, they will understand the angles and understand the defenses. That's what so great about it because they're going into the second year of learning this defense and they just had OTAs for nine weeks and they were sitting in the classroom, learning it on the field, and it all helps. The longer that you've been in one system, the better off you are.

"They are extremely young and any experience they gain, like those games last year, is huge for them. Then, they come into the OTAs and we can spend time with them and teach them the same system that they played in last year. It's repetition. When they step on the field, bam, they'll know exactly what it is. That's how you play the game. When your mind is free and your athletic ability and instincts are free, you can go play."

On how Allen and Coleman have fed off negative criticism: "They're playing with a chip on their shoulder. When you play this game, there is nothing wrong with having a chip on their shoulder. It's a mean, tough, and violent game. For those guys, there is nothing wrong with that. Have they had problems in the past? Absolutely. Do they deserve some of the criticism? Yes. At the same time, they have shown that they are resilient, they can come back from it, and they can play pretty good football."

Secondary Coach Todd Bowles

On how his career as a defensive back and coaching experience help him relate to players: "You can see certain things in situations that they are in because you've been in them and you can answer some things on the field from that aspect. You can empathize with them but that doesn't make them right but you understand where they are coming from. I think every coach is different. There are a bunch of different ways to skin a cat but I've seen a lot of things and I have good recall. So when you see things that they are talking about on the field, you kind of see it with them or before them so it is easy to talk to them about."

On what he learned from being an interim head coach last year in Miami: "(Bill Parcells) and (Tony Sparano) taught me a lot and Mike Nolan over the years so you see a lot. Nothing really catches you off guard so you can't be too high or too low. They said a long time ago that every day there's going to be five things that you're not prepared to do as a head coach, be it on the field or off the field. Whether it is somebody getting arrested or curfew or those types of things. You have to be ready to deal with those situations as they come and not overreact."

On how he simplifies complex schemes so players are able to go out and succeed: "I don't know that it's simplifying other than playing the game and seeing what they're seeing and putting in their language so-to-speak. I think nowadays every player is different and you have to try to relate to them and see what makes them tick. No different than any other coach and you'll find out what makes them tick and teach them that way."

On whether there is a big difference between the free safety and strong safety positions in the Eagles defense: "No they are pretty much interchangeable. One may be a bigger hitter at times depending on which team. You like them to be interchangeable because they give you the ability to do more things but (the offenses) are going to motion and shift you where the (free safety) has to play (strong safety) and the (strong safety) has to play (free safety) so they have to know each other's job.

Linebackers Coach Mike Caldwell

On the veteran presence LB DeMeco Ryans brings and how that will help the younger linebackers: "I think the main thing about DeMeco is he's a professional and he's a veteran. So he understands and guys see that not necessarily on the field but off the field. It's how they study, attention to detail, how dedicated he is, watching extra film. Guess what, those young guys are going to see that and see where he's come from. They're going to say, 'Okay, I'm going to do this to get there.' Naturally, you just gravitate to good players and leadership."

On whether the team will establish three linebackers or use several situational players: "All guys are going to go out there on the field and they're going to earn their starting jobs. They're going to earn their place on the team. They're going to earn their playing time. So, there are different packages where we can work different guys in but that comes as game planning and if you performed in training camp and you've earned that spot."

On how quickly LB Mychal Kendricks has picked up the defensive system: "I think he's been doing a good job. Now, the process is different this year. He had time in the offseason so he's done a good job. He's been diligent in studying and he's asking good questions. The thing about him is he wants to get it right the first time in studying, so his progression has been good."

On the progress he expects from LB Brian Rolle in his second year: "The jump for all of the guys, going into your second year, that's your biggest jump. You understand how to be a professional. You have the experience under your belt, so now you just take that in and you become a better player that year. You see a big increase in productivity. That's what we expect from him, coming in here and continuing to make plays like he did last year. Just make more plays. 

Special Teams Coordinator Bobby April

On what new players will get an opportunity to return kicks: "Well there will definitely be some guys who will get some opportunities because we drafted a really good kick returner in Brandon Boykin and he's definitely going to get an opportunity. There's a couple other kids who are back there that have done it. Mardy Gilyard has done it. Chad Hall has done it. Damaris Johnson has done it. So we have some guys who've had some experience and success doing it. It'll be an open competition. It will be open because the results weren't what they should be. That's not on (Dion Lewis) but we still have to get production."

On if Desean Jackson will be returning punts as frequently as the last two seasons: "I don't think so. I think Desean is a guy who does a lot of running because most of most of his (deep routes). He doesn't do a lot of three-step hitch. He is running and stretching the field. And for (QB Michael Vick) to get coordinated with all of that, Desean's got a lot invested in keeping his legs replenished. Our special teams requires a lot of running as well. I think it is more to keep him in top form in that area.

"If we have someone to replace him in that area, it is a wise investment. If we don't then that's a different story and he's got to be able to do both. Someone has to step up but right now no one is as good as he is. They may not be ever but if they can be close enough that we can parlay his ability to be explosive and spry and everything. We have been (holding him out of punt returns) the past two years. We've been saving him on punt returns anyway. He doesn't return every punt. We put guys out there for that reason.

"(DeSean) just ran six go routes. Again, it will be (Andy Reid's) decision how we utilize him. The good thing about the head coach is he doesn't care how we get that ball across or close to that goal line. He doesn't care if Mike Vick throws it, LeSean (McCoy) runs it, or Desean returns it. If we can get the ball across the goal line or close to the goal line, Coach Reid is going to be happy. He doesn't have any pet areas."

On if he would like to see competition at punter: "Yeah I definitely want some competition for him. We brought in a guy in the offseason out of college. Ryan Tyladka did a nice job. We let him go. We released him although he did a good job. I think we could bring in one of the guys we worked out the other day. Could sign one of them. We worked out some guys. So, yeah, definitely want some competition. I want (Henry) to elevate his game and he wants to elevate his game because he is a good punter. He's a talented guy. Just needs to be a little more consistent in pushing that line of scrimmage a little farther away from our goal line."

Special Teams Quality Control Coach Duce Staley

On what he has seen from the rookies in terms of finding a return specialist: "We have some guys out there, and all of them are working hard. They've been working hard since OTAs and mini-camps. The one thing about having the rookies in so early is you want to see how much information they have retained. You want to see where they are physically and mentally, and the one thing about our sport is you get to see them do both. I think these guys are doing a good job and they're working hard. When the vets come in, they'll get a chance to come in and see how they do it. They get a chance to work at a faster speed."

On his assessment of how he has transitioned from being a player to being a coach: "It's definitely different. In order to coach, it's just like teaching and you have to know what you're talking about. You have to make sure as a coach that you've put in the time so that when you go out there, you put your soldiers on the battlefield, so to speak, in a position to be successful. I take pride in that simply because I will always love the game. So in order for me to play the game, in my mind and through the other players, I have played through the (players). When they make a move out on the field, I'm feeling my leg twitch on the sidelines. I still get excited, and that will always be a part of me and my pedigree. That part you will never take away from me, and now I have added on to that. On the coaching side of it, now I get better and stay after because I am driven by my passion and I'm driven by fury because that's a part of me and I want to get better at my craft."

On whether he sees himself as a big brother or father figure to the younger players who need guidance: "I have conversations with those guys, and I call them and they'll call me. We interact and talk about certain challenges that they're going through. I've been there and done that, so I'm able to share some things and able to share my approach. Once again, we have those guys here and back at the facility for a period of time and then after that, they go home. That's a part of being a man. I don't try to be a father figure, even though I'm your friend, because I'm your coach first, and they understand that.

"I'm trying to get the best out of you, and that's what I demand each and every day and each and every minute that I'm in that building and each and every hour that they're here. There are things outside of the buildings and distractions that they go through as young players. As you're teaching them football, what comes along with that is helping them evolve into men. Every once in a while, you have that conversation where you show them responsibility on the field will transfer over into your life. That is something both (running backs coach) Ted (Williams) and I are trying to get across."

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