PHILADELPHIA (AP) - If embattled Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo is feeling the heat from his unit blowing three consecutive fourth-quarter leads, he’s clearly not showing it.
Castillo, in his weekly press conference, remained calm and confident that his defense will improve and still mentioned the words Super Bowl, despite the Eagles' 1-3 start to what was supposed to be a dream season.
“There are some things we need to take care of, and there are some things I need to take care of,” Castillo said. “It will get better, believe me. We’re going to get this thing turned around and when we do everyone will be happy again.”
Philadelphia, in last place in the NFC East, and two games behind the Giants and Redskins, meets Buffalo (3-1) on Sunday.
Asked why he was so confident after the team’s dreadful start, and how for the first time in franchise history they allowed three consecutive opponents to come back in the fourth quarter, Castillo simply smiled.
“I’ve been through this before and I’ve had success,” he said. “We believe in ourselves. I can tell you this, every week we get better and better and better. Look, we’ve been here 12 years and our record speaks for itself. We’re going to get better. We’re going to correct the problems.”
Under coach Andy Reid, this is the third time the Eagles have started the season 1-3. Neither of the first two rebounded to make the postseason. In 1999, Reid’s rookie year, the Eagles finished 5-11 after a 1-3 start and in 2007, the team needed to win its last three games of the season to finish 8-8 after the same open.
This year is more startling because of the major offseason acquisitions, especially on defense where defensive end Jason Babin, defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha were all signed as free agents and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was acquired from Arizona for quarterback Kevin Kolb.
However, in three consecutive weeks, the Eagles lost late leads to the Falcons, Giants and 49ers. San Francisco even trailed, 23-3, in the third quarter.
Castillo, a longtime offensive line coach, was a shocking hire as defensive coordinator to replace the fired Sean McDermott. And now, those critics appear to have some material to back their stance up.
“I don’t think you can put it all on Juan,” said veteran defensive end Juqua Parker, who has played for three defensive coordinators with the Eagles. “You can’t say it’s all Juan’s fault if that’s what people are saying.
“It’s been a team effort. We’re all in this together.”
The Eagles defense ranks 16th in overall defense, 30th against the run and 24th in points allowed. While the unit has a league-high 15 sacks, it has forced just four turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles).
Is the Eagles personnel, despite all the Pro Bowl additions, good enough?