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Is defense worse without Castillo? Don’t panic yet

Giving up more points under Bowles.

When Todd Bowles replaced Juan Castillo as defensive coordinator, the thought was that the unit would improve. Improve drastically, too.

Well, it's only a two-game sample set, but that hasn't been the case. Bowles' unit is allowing 29 points per game since taking over. Castillo's defense was giving up 20.8 points. Bowles dismissed the notion that a transition period is to be expected.

"No, I don't think so," Bowles said. "They're going to tackle, no matter what. They've got on the pads and they've got on the uniform. I'm the coach and I've been the coach before with the change and the adjustment. We just have to play. We don't have any excuses."

Nnamdi Asomugha, who seemed to incite the switch with his comments, has looked even more out of sorts since Bowles took over. And Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie arguably had his worst game of the season against Atlanta. Those are not good trends for Bowles, who had served as secondary coach.

"It was more of the tackling and more of getting up," Bowles said. "It wasn't the completions; it was the runs after the catch that were getting us in the Atlanta ballgame. In this last ballgame, we've got to make plays."

It won't get any easier Sunday, when the Eagles host the NFL's third-best passing offense. Tony Romo and the Cowboys are averaging 299.1 yards through the air.

Numbers aside, the defense just needs a win. One victory may be the catalyst to save this fading season.

"Our number one priority is to win a game, then once we get a win, then we can worry about what to do after that," said Cullen Jenkins.

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