Getting a grasp on what Todd Bowles' defense will look like has been a difficult chore, but the beginning of one tenure and the end of another has provided some details on what led to Juan Castillo's firing.
Several players have stated since Bowles first met with them on Monday that his main message has been that the defense will no longer be predictable, especially in the fourth quarter. The defense's struggles in the fourth under Castillo have been well-documented. Defensive end Brandon Graham gave some insight as to what the problem was.
"I think we started running the same stuff over and over," Graham said Wednesday. "We 're not switching it up as much. You could hear it on the sideline -- a lot of times we run the same coverage."
In the Eagles' 26-23 overtime loss to the Lions on Oct. 14, Castillo was criticized for late-game adjustments that cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said played into Detroit's favor. But for the many of the Eagles' close games over the last two seasons, Castillo's play calls gave offenses obvious looks depending upon the down and distance.
"That's what he talked about -- not being predictable in the fourth quarter," Graham said of Bowles. "By the fourth quarter everybody know what we're going to do. That's how we get beat."
Graham said that Castillo kept things vanilla on game days rather than using all the schemes the Eagles had practiced on during the week.
"Coach Bowles -- it's going to be fun to see what he's doing because I think everything we run in practice we're actually going to run in the game," Graham said.
The third-year end said that he's hoping to see more time under Bowles. Graham has been relatively productive when he's seen the field, but with Trent Cole and Jason Babin ahead of him on the depth chart it's been difficult to crack the lineup.
"I know right now they're trying to figure out who they're trying to play," Graham said. "I'm just trying to make sure I keep chopping at it, keep working hard, and hope everything goes my way."
The defensive line has not had a sack in the last three games and has only six of the team's seven this season. In limited playing time, Graham has a half sack, 13 hurries and nine tackles.