Atlanta Falcons could benefit or suffer from Eagles defensive coordinator change


Sep 16, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo talks with players during the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles defeated the Ravens 24-23. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

The Philadelphia Eagles have replaced their defensive coordinator. The coordinator for the past season and a half, Juan Castillo, has been a long-time assistant under Andy Reid but finally got the axe. His dismissal by the Eables is almost as bizarre as his promotion to defensive coordinator.

You see, Castillo has been an offensive assistant, offensive  line coach, tight ends coach, and offensive line coach again from 1995 until his promotion to d-coordinator in 2011. They essentially promoted a guy with no NFL defensive experience to the most important defensive coaching position. He had some defensive experience in the collegiate ranks, but not in the NFL.

The last two seasons, the Eagles have gone from a team that runs a lot of soft Cover-2 defense, to one that has the personnel and is trying to become a man coverage, great at rushing the passer, and very aggressive. The Eagles are trying to become what the Raiders are historically known for (man-to-man cover-0 defense), and they are the team with the best fit from a personnel standpoint to execute that plan.

Obviously the Falcons are going to head up to Philadelphia in Week 8 to play the Eagles. And they are going to face a defense that doesn’t give up a whole lot of yards, but has been tremendously inconsistent. They tend to have a lot of breakdowns in coverage, and haven’t been getting after the quarterback very good this season. It will be an interesting matchup.

One of the most intriguing things about this matchup will be that the Falcons will be facing a Philly defense led by a new d-coordinator, Todd Bowles, the defensive backs coach for the Eagles. It will be interesting to see what direction the Eagles defense goes under new leadership.

The Falcons offense could benefit from a change. Todd Bowles will likely bring new thoughts and ideas to the Philadelphia defense. It will likely take them a while to implement those changes, new wrinkles, different responsibilities for the defense, etc. I suspect that the Eagles have most of the bye week off, just like the Falcons.  While all of the new things will be implemented in the playbook and in theory, it will doubtless take the Eagles some time to get those schemes right in practice, and the Falcons will be the first team to run up against an Eagles team trying to run an adjusted scheme.

The Falcons could also suffer. This Philadelphia team has 22 games worth of film on it, and it’s obvious that the Falcons are privy to all of that information and will not have left one stone uncovered on the film/information that is available to them. But the fact of the matter is that the Falcons have no film on this Eagles defense under the coordinating of Todd Bowles. There is no way of telling what different stunts, twists, blitzes, coverage disguises, you name it that the Philly defense could roll out against the Falcons. The Falcons have no real way to predict what will be thrown at them in week 8, and the unknown is a dangerous thing.

There’s no way of predicting what will happen. Up to this point, the Eagles defense has been very inconsistent. But the talent is truly there- they have two Pro-Bowl defensive ends (Trent Cole and Jason Babin), an improved interior pass rush, improved linebacking corps, and all the talent in the world at the corner position (Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Brandon Boykin). The Falcons offense hasn’t been super consistent either. It will be really, really interesting to see how this matchup develops through these two weeks, and beyond that.