Philadelphia Eagles News

Defensive Coordinator Juan Castillo

On rookie LB Casey Matthews and his transition to MLB: "Good bloodlines, really good bloodlines. He's a very smart kid, and he came in about 245 pounds and looks really good. He did a good job running the defense yesterday for us. We feel very excited about the kid."

On Matthews' transition to first team MLB without Castillo seeing him in mini-camps due to the lockout: "The thing about it is that he's a football player. He's smart, and he has that 'it.' We feel at MLB, we want a guy who can get everybody lined up, and be a leader. Naturally, I think through the others who have been questioned before they proved themselves, but it's a good bloodline. He's grown up being a leader."

On whether Matthews is the front runner for the starting MLB position: "Right now, that's where he is at the position."

On Castillo's concern about lack of experience at LB: "You've known me throughout the years, and everyone needs their first chance. You've got your chance and somebody gave you a chance to do it. I'm sure people thought you weren't experienced enough, and now look at where you're at. That's the way I feel about things. We're teachers. That's why Coach [Andy] Reid hired us and that's why we're the defensive staff, we're all teachers. We feel that whoever we have, and Coach Reid and [General Manager] Howie [Roseman] do a great job getting our guys, and they're going to be good football players."

On how LB position changes with a wide-9 technique: "Football is a gap control game with that scheme. All that means is that the LBs have the C gap instead of having the D gap. It's not as big of thing. What it does is help the defensive ends on passing plays, we're going to attack."

On whether his defense is going to be more read-and-react or if he wants his players to start going downhill before the snap: "We're going to attack and get up the field."

On how tough it has been to install and implement defensive elements without CB Asante Samuel and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in camp yet: "I think the important thing is that people get hurt in the season. During the season, it might be like that. It's a great opportunity for the young kids to get some good work."

On how Castillo plans to use Rodgers-Cromartie in his defense: "He's a very good football player. He's tall, very athletic, makes plays, and causes turnovers. Turnovers have always been a big thing for the Philadelphia Eagles defense back with Jim Johnson, and he's done a good job with that. He's a shutdown corner."

On if S Marlin Jackson is healed: "It's just nice to see him out there practicing and what he does. He's an athlete and a good football player. It's exciting for us."

On whether Castillo notices hesitation from S Nate Allen after coming off his injury: "You know what's great? Just seeing our guys back out here. It's been awesome just seeing all of our guys. Nate's one of the guys who is ready to go, and if it was up to him, he'd be going full speed right now the whole time. He's moving around pretty well.

On what Matthews has shown so far in camp: "He's a natural leader. He has the 'it' and he's smart. We've put in quite a bit of defense already and he's been the one who's been calling the shots yesterday. We signal the fronts and the coverages in practice, and he's a pretty smart guy. When we put on the pads, we'll improve the fundamentals. I think what you need to understand is that on defense, we're teachers. Every day, we're going to better at certain things. Every coach has what we call a 'daily must', something that they're going to work on every day and they're going to improve. It's not like when we put on the pads, everybody is going to look the way they will when the season opens. Every day we're going to get a little bit better and take it one practice at a time. That's what Coach Reid preaches and you're used to hearing him say that, and that's what we're going to do on defense."

On whether Matthews is ahead of the rookie learning curve: "Yes, definitely."

On whether or not the defense can be led by a rookie: "When you look at that, he's the one calling the plays. He's the one that's given that. He has to be a leader in the huddle, a presence in the huddle. Once they break the huddle, Asante Samuel and [DE] Trent Cole are our leaders. Everybody knows those are our guys. In the huddle, he's the guy who controls that. He's the one who is going to make sure everyone gets the call. When the huddle breaks, he's going to make sure everybody gets lined up. Asante Samuel, Trent Cole, those are our leaders and the guys who've proven themselves over the years."

On whether Castillo is working on fundamentals because of a lack of mini-camps or because he wants to get back to basics: "I know that what you always do is preach and work on fundamentals. If we want to be good at something, if you want to be a good tackling team, what do you have to do in practice? You have to tackle. If you're a defensive lineman and you want to get off the football, just like what [defensive line coach] [Jim] Washburn is doing, they're going to practice getting off the football. Linebackers talk about being able to use their hands. What do you do in practice? Use your hands. They have to able to take on offensive linemen and try to cut them. You saw that today that we're working on cutting.

"Those are things that are going to be worked on every day. Defensive backs, corners have to be able to plant, stab, and drive. What are they going to do in practice? That's what they're going to work on. Safeties have to be able to open their hips, so what we're going to do is work on their hips. That's what we're going to do every day. When things happen and you don't play as well, you work on fundaments because if you keep working on fundamentals, you just keep getting better and better and better. You just have to have a plan, and the guys will believe in it. When something happens and they don't do something correctly, we go right back to fundamentals. They'll get better and we'll play better."

On Castillo's adjustment from offensive line coach to defensive coordinator: "Early on, when I became the defensive coordinator, I was always preaching that I was a defensive guy. Really what I am is a teacher. I can go coach d-line, linebackers, DBs, o-line. I'm a teacher and that's what Coach Reid wants from his staff. We're all teachers. We all can go and teach positions. We have to study and learn them, but we're teachers."

On Jim Washburn and his teachings to his players today: "Jim is teaching the guys to attack and get up the field, and that's very important. It's not as natural as you'd think sometimes. Those are the things that he's working on. He's trying to get the guys up the field to attack and then react."

On if the basic techniques that the staff is teaching are different from those in place in the past: "We're attacking up the field on first and second-down, instead of just on passing downs."

On his personality as a defensive coordinator: "I was a linebacker, and when you're a linebacker, it's different. I think that the thing for me is I just want to be myself. I want our guys to play hard and know that it is our job to make them better. When they make a mistake, we have to work those fundamentals to make them get better. When they make a mistake, we have to work those fundamentals to make them better and if they don't get better, that's my fault and my responsibility. What you're going to see is the fundamentals are the key for me."

On where LB Jamar Chaney will line up during camp and what is expected of him: "He can line up wherever he wants, he's a good football player. Right now, we have lined up at SAM."

On Chaney's rigorous offseason workouts and if he's ready to step up: "Yes. He's out there right now and him and Moise [Fokou] are one of the older kids. He's taking on a good role and he's playing a key position for us. That SAM position is a key position for us and he's doing job. You can see that he worked hard. A lot of our guys worked hard and they did a good job of training and preparing. They're excited, and I think you'll see that this afternoon in the practice. It's hard to prepare yourself for football unless you're doing football. The best thing you can do is train and that's what they've done. They've worked their tails off."

On how important it is to get Samuel to training camp quickly: "That's a personal matter. There is really never a good thing, but you have to notice as a leader when something happens that you have to look at the positive things. To me now, that allows somebody else to step up. Who is going take over in the secondary? Is it Nate [Allen]? Who's going to be the leader when Asante is not here? You know all the energy that Asante brings."

On what impact Samuel will have on Rodgers-Cromartie: "The thing about Asante, and I mentioned this about Trent, too, is that people talk about playmakers. Trent Cole got drafted in the fifth round, and he's one of the premier pass rushers. Samuel got drafted in the fourth round, and he's one of the premier corners. That tells you that, if you work your butt off just like Asante does before and after practice studying, that you can be the best. That's what we're trying to preach to all our guys. Let's work hard and then instead of having one or two playmakers, let's have 11 playmakers. Why not? Asante wasn't a first round draft pick. Trent wasn't a first round draft pick. What did they do? They worked their tails off to be the best."

On if Castillo asks players to step up and be leaders or if that happens naturally: "I think it ends up happening naturally. The MIKE linebacker, it's important his presence in the huddle. There is a certain command that Coach Reid wants with that MIKE linebacker in the huddle, and we can coach him up on that. Some of you all have work people that work under you is that all you have to do is tell them what you want, and those guys are going to do what you want. If you don't tell them, they don't know what you want and I think that is important."

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