Originally written on Buzz On Broad  |  Last updated 12/19/11


The chances of Juan Castillo remaining defensive coordinator a few weeks ago were about as small as the Eagles playoff hopes.

But as the Eagles continue to push the door a little further open the on making the playoffs, could it be that Juan Castillo is starting to shut the door on the possibility of losing his job?

For the 2nd week in a row Castillo's unit has been lights out, holding their opponents to under 19 points in both games. How great have they been? Here is a breakdown of the numbers over the past 2 weeks.

Points per game: 14.5

Passing Yards Allowed Per Game: 152.5

Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game: 101.5

Turnovers: 7

Sacks: 13

Blown 4th Quarter Leaders: 0

While the numbers are great, what has been most impressive is the defenses ability to shut opponents down at key points in the game.

Early on in both games the Eagles special teams has put the defense in a tough situation- either with a blocked punt, or Curtis Marsh giving the team the ball. After both Curtis Marsh mistakes, the Eagles defense has come right back with a turnover of their own, swinging momentum back in their favor when a score by the opposing team could have really hurt the Eagles chances of winning.

Even against Seattle, Castillo did a good job adjusting in the 2nd half, as the Eagles defense allowed only 3 points. Yes Marshawn Lynch ran all over the Eagles in the first half, but on a lot of those runs a player was in position to make a tackle and didn't. Castillo can't go out there and tackle Lynch himself. Castillo also can't make Nnamdi Asomugha make plays, something he has yet to do this season despite the big money he was given. As much heat as Castillo has gotten for his use of Asomugha, the prize free agent signing has been burned time and time again in man coverage, and his 7 penalties and 10 missed tackle have little to do with Castillo's ability to create a game plan.  

Juan Castillo's unit has also done a good job of getting off of the field and not allowing long drives. Of the 6 scoring drives the Eagles have allowed the past 2 weeks, 4 have been drives of 35 yards or less. Of the two longer drives- 47 & 58- one resulted in a field goal and the other a touchdown once the game was already decided. 

As for the 4th quarter troubles? The Eagles defense also appears to have that solved, as they have allowed only 9 points total in the second halves of the last two games. In yesterday's win over the New York Jets, it was only a two possession game at the half with the Jets having the momentum, but the defense shut the door by allowing only 15 yards passing in the 3rd quarter and shutting the Jets out.

What does this mean for Juan Castillo's job? It means that if the defense can play at this level for the next 2 games, Castillo has a strong chance of remaining defensive coordinator.

If the Eagles were to fire Castillo, they would be on their 3rd defensive coordinator in as many seasons. At a certain point, they need to commit to someone and allow him to get comfortable in the position. The Eagles suffered through Castillo's growing pains earlier in the season, and might decide that allowing there to be some stability on the coaching staff is more important then trying to find another coordinator. 

Each week this season after his name and his unit have been ripped by the media and fans, Castillo has preached that it is not how you start, it is how you finish.

And if Castillo's unit continues to play this way for the final two weeks, he could finish with something no one thought he would- a job. 

Follow Buzz on Broad Eagles Beat Writer Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks

 

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