Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo downplays defense's struggles, expects improvement

Juan Castillo expects to see the defense improve. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- The Eagles' first-team defense allowed 10 points on the two drives they played and struggled with poor tackling, poor angles and the inability to stop third downs. Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo said Sunday "there's some things that we need to improve on" and referenced the increased work in third-down situations during Saturday's practice and the tackling drills the team conducted as an example of the work they're doing.

“I think it’s the beginning of the first preseason game," Castillo said when asked if the problems are the same problems he encountered last season. "I think the way we finished [last season], we didn’t finish like that. So that’s where it’s a little different. We want to go ahead and start what we finished. There’s some things we need to work on. That’s what we’re doing.”

Castillo said tackling is a matter of "muscle memory," and the more it's drilled, the better it will become. Castillo said the Eagles haven't played in eight months, so tackling is behind at this point. Castillo said judgments can be formed during the first regular-season game, not during the preseason. 

The scheming point is accurate, and the Eagles will mix and match personnel more during the regular season than the preseason. Castillo noted that the Eagles play the Steelers in the regular season, so the schemes were even more vanilla.

When Castillo watched the film, defensive end Phillip Hunt jumped out at him as a player who impressed him. Castillo also thought the linebackers played "decent."

Regarding the touchdown that was allowed on what appeared to be a breakdown by safety Jaiquawn Jarrett, Castillo took responsibility for his safety.

"I got to do a better job with that, with coaching," Castillo said. "I didn't do a very good job of that. We'll work on red zone today."

Look for more in Monday's Inquirer.