Today before practice, Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg talked about his suffering offensive line. The former Detroit Lions head coach said he had faith that the line would improve and even went so far as to say that they can be great.
To say an offensive line that features Mike McGlynn and Reggie Wells could be great is a stretch to say the least. But is it a stretch to say that offensive line coach Juan Castillo might not be the man to take them there?
People within the organization, and most in the media, pump up Castillo. He is often referred to as one of the best offensive line coaches in the league, but the performance of the offensive line this season has been unacceptable. Since he’s supposed to be such a good coach why doesn’t he make them better.
The simple truth is, Castillo hasn’t been a good coach, at least not lately, and the “O” line has been a problem for a while.
Once the Eagles jettisoned Donovan McNabb to Washington, we heard that him holding the ball for a long time was the problem. We were told that the quick-release of Kevin Kolb would be the answer. But Kolb was sacked 3 times in his only half of action.
This offensive line has even managed to get Michael Vick sacked 11 times in his 2.5 games of action- against Detriot and Jacksonville. If this keeps up, Vick will get sacked a whopping 70 times this season. Sound too high? Castillo’s line in 2007 gave up almost 50 sacks. That year he had Jon Runyan, Tra Thomas, and Shawn Andrews in a Pro Bowl year. Needless to say, this offensive line does not have that kind of talent.
Many fans can not break down the intricate ins and outs of how the offensive line is supposed to block on certain plays, but this line has made glaring mistakes that anyone with eyes can recognize. This line has had far too many penalties. These penalties have stalled drives.
Castillo has been blessed in the past to have very talented players at the two biggest positions- Left and right tackles. But since John Runyan and Tra Thomas left, this team has not found adequate replacement. While none of us really know how much input Castillo has on who the team drafts or signs to be on the line, I do know he looks at players before they are brought in. He is there to work out draft picks. So he had a say in bringing in players like Stacy Andrews. The current offensive line has no depth, and it’s starting five is suspect at best. Where is his share of the criticism for this?
In addition, the Pro Bowl offensive linemen who have been brought in here have regressed. The fact that Jason Peters cannot grasp the concept of how to avoid a false start penalty is a direct result of coaching. Before Peters came in here, he was praised as one of the best tackles in the league. People in Philadelphia will tell you his Pro-Bowl selection last season was based on reputation alone. A first-round pick and millions later, Peters is now just another member of the offensive line that drives the fans crazy.
People blame Sean McDermott for the step down in defense last season. Mornhinweg and Andy Reid are constantly criticized for their play calling. Speical teams coach Ted Dashier got run out of town last season. Even the strength and conditioning coach was let go last season.
Castillo is not solely to blame for this mess upfront, but to not hear his name at all when the problem is talked about makes no sense.
Where is Castillo’s blame?