So it begins, the shortest month by days, but the longest month for fans of the NFL and MLB. February, a time of year when I catch up on my movie watching (my wife forced me to watch Julie & Julia this weekend...yay). Yes we have the Flyers and Sixers right now along with college basketball; and when I want to nap on Sundays...golf. But if I am being honest my heart lies with the Eagles and the Phillies.
Since football season never ends, today we talk Eagles. Question: What was the one thing the final four teams in the NFL had in common this year? Answer: A top ten defense. Pittsburgh 2, NY Jets 3, Green Bay 5 and Chicago 9. Defense wins championships. The most important play and the one that might have won the super bowl for Green Bay was not on offense; Clay Mathews causing a fumble. Before that play, the Steelers had all the momentum and if they score on that drive they may have never looked back. Instead, a great defense steps up and makes a great play, single handily flipping the momentum back to the Packers.
This off season has been eventful for the Eagles, so far...I guess. We fired our young defensive coordinator, the one that was supposed to take over without a hiccup from the late great Jim Johnson. That didn't work out too well. He did have the 12th ranked defense in the NFL, but when you have the worst red-zone defense in 22 years; Andy made the right move by showing him the door, there by admitting he had made a mistake. Bring on the search for the next great defensive guru, would it be Dick Jauron, Dennis Allen, Mike Trgovac or Jeff Fisher (never a chance, but we can dream)? None of the above, the final answer, long time O-line coach, Juan Castillo. UGH! A team with super bowl talent (on the offensive side of the ball anyway) hires an offensive line coach to run the defense?! A guy that has coached on the offensive side of the ball for 21 years. A guy who last coached on defense in 1989, not in the NFL, not at the college level, but at a Texas high school! All you can do is shake your head and cross your fingers that Andy gets this right. I just hope Andy is not setting Castillo up for failure. I have to question Castillo a little bit here as a coach though. Ask yourself, was the offensive line that good last year, how about the year before? When was the last time the O-line was any good? I guess we will just have to wait and see how this plays out.
Now that we hired a highly coveted defensive coordinator (LOL) we did make one great move in adding Jim Washburn. One of the best defensive line coaches in the NFL. Then Andy adds new linebackers coach, Mike Caldwell and defensive backs/safeties coach Michael Zordich, both decent players but very little experience as coaches. That is what bothers me the most I think. You are trying to achieve a goal of winning a super bowl, but yet you hire one guy with experience on the defensive side of the ball. After watching McDermott make Swiss cheese of our defense for two years I would think that would be an area of concern for the Eagles. Maybe they would consider bringing in a proven guy to try and correct that side of the ball to match what the offense can do. But on the other hand, maybe this will all work out and this time next year with a top ten defense I will still be drunk from the Eagles parade down Broad Street...