One of the offseason's weirdest moves (back when there was an offseason) was the Eagles' decision to take their offensive line coach, Juan Castillo, and make him their new defensive coordinator. The jobs do not appear to be similar, and there was likely a long line of very qualified, very experienced defensive coaches that had to be turned away. But "coaches coach," as coaches say, and Castillo's an Andy Reid guy who's going to be on Andy Reid's staff somewhere. They decided they'd rather bring in new line coaches than a new coordinator, so Castillo got shuffled over to the other side of the ball and handed a lot more responsibility and pressure.
Because of this, one of our most popular questions here on the blog is how different Castillo's defense will be than that of his predecessor, Sean McDermott. I have no idea, since I was not consulted on the move. But the Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane sat down with Castillo recently to try to get some idea for himself.
McLane's biggest conclusion seems to be that Castillo plans to blitz less than "mad scientist" (Jeff's words, not mine) McDermott did. It seems as if Castillo and Reid will be counting on new defensive line coach Jim Washburn, who was known as the best in the business while in Tennessee, to generate a pass rush with the front four. That makes you wonder if the new defense will be as focused on forcing turnovers as McDermott was, or if it'll be more focused on ... you know ... stopping other teams from gaining yards. I personally think it would do well to try the stopping thing, but we'll see. At least I think we will. Right now, Castillo has no players to work with. Fortunately, we're doing better than that, because we have ... links!
David Akers tells CSN Philly that he thinks it's time to get a labor deal done. Akers said he's called NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and told him as much. I can't imagine Smith is enjoying Akers' public rhetoric, since it conflicts with the current litigation strategy that has yet to play out. And the fact that Akers' comments seem clearly rooted in a selfish desire to figure out where he's going to play next year bodes ill for the players' side. If they're going to start demanding a shift in strategy before the court cases are all heard, then they're setting up to give the owners what they want -- a cracked, broken group of players that will take any deal just to get back on the field.
Speaking of De Smith, he apparently ducked out of his D.C. office Tuesday and went to watch 41 Redskins players work out together at a Virginia high school. London Fletcher worked out the defensive players. John Beck and Rex Grossman worked out the offensive players. There's a story in here about how Beck called Roy Helu after Helu was drafted. I marvel at the idea that either guy knew who the other was.
While there, the Washington Times reports, Smith updated players on the state of the lockout and the significance of the pending court cases.
New York Giants
Big Blue View talked to Brian Witherspoon, who's trying to hang on to the back end of the Giants' roster as a return specialist. Interesting look at the case of a guy just trying to scrape out a living in pro football without anybody really paying much attention.
Former running back Mickey Kobrosky, who played for the Giants in 1937 and scored a touchdown playing against them in an exhibition game while at Trinity College, is being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame. In other news, for some reason it's been especially tough to find Giants links over the past couple of weeks. I'm taking suggestions.
Jean-Jacques Taylor offers a "hand clap" for Jerry Jones for his refusal to cut pay of coaches and other employees during the lockout, and rightfully takes other owners to task for doing so at a time when no team has yet lost any money. We've hit this angle a few times here, and the Cowboys aren't the only team doing this. They're just, sadly, part of the minority.
Blogging the Boys is trying to delve into the "Right Kind of Guys" concept Jason Garrett used to explain the team's draft philosophy last month. Having watched last year's Cowboys, I'm thinking "Guys Who Can Tackle" would have been a good way to go, too, but whatever works.
All right, that should get you started. I'm going to go see if I can remember where I put my sunglasses two weeks ago. Be back later, of course.