Eagles coach Andy Reid called it the fastball theory.
Under new defensive coordinator Juan Castillo and new defensive line coach Jim Washburn, the Eagles’ defense is going to be swarming, in attack mode.
Basically, they want to throw as many fastballs at the opposition as they can by constantly rotating defensive linemen.
“That’s hard on an offensive line,” Reid said. “You think you’re just wearing one guy down, and all of the sudden the [defensive line] brings in a new crew.”
In the team’s preseason opener, the Eagles collected six sacks, picked up a fumble and snared two interceptions. All in all, it was an impressive debut.
“The guys played fast. They were physical, and there were some good fundamentals,” Castillo said.
“As always we still have some weaknesses, and it takes a little bit of time to get everything right.”
Even though the first-team defense only saw about eight reps, the energy was evident. And that can be traced to Castillo.
“Sometimes, you see changes in coaches from practices to game days. They get a little stage fright, but Juan didn’t have any of that,” cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha said. “He was the same excited guy, running up and down the field and calling the plays we worked on, not putting guys in tough positions. Everyone respects that about him.”
Castillo was especially excited about the goal-line stand his substitutes pulled off in the closing seconds. Last season, the Eagles owned the NFL’s worst red-zone defense in two decades. Yesterday, Castillo said he wasn’t worried about 2010.
“I’m worried about 2011 and about looking at what happened today in practice and go from there,” Castillo said.