Sunday, February 6, 2011

Final Thoughts Before Super Bowl

It truly is a shame that the Eagles came within a mere 5 points of being at this game (yes I do believe the Eagles would have made it here had they beaten the Packers) but regardless, we are in for a great matchup and certainly a good game as the Steelers and Packers square off for the world championship.

As a football fan, I simply cannot wait for the game, as the Super Bowl tops my list of favorite holidays (unofficial). As an Eagles fan too, I also look forward to the contest. While it is still painful to ponder what could have been, it will certainly help to know that we lost to the Super Bowl champions. Furthermore, rumors exist that the Eagles are still interested in Darren Perry to coach the Eagles secondary. With an inexperienced Castillo, it is imperative to give him as much help as possible through both coaching and personnel acquisitions (Asomugha?) and therefore after the Super Bowl, we will have to see if the Eagles sign someone from the two teams.

It will certainly be a shame that there will be no cheerleaders at this Super Bowl for the first time in history, but hopefully an excellent game combined with a few good Doritos and E-trade commercials will make up for the absence of sex appeal.

So before I depart to take care of some pre-Super Bowl business, let's take a final look at the match up.

The Steelers are the 2nd ranked defense in 2010, with the Packers the 5th ranked. Although the Packers are the 5th ranked passing defense, with Pittsburgh being the best run stopping team in the league.

On offense, the Packers are the 9th best offense, while the Steelers are only the 14th best. The Packers then are the 5th best passing attack, with the Steelers being the 11th best rushing attack.

It surely is a difficult match up and the Packers are favored by most to slightly edge the Steelers. However, perhaps I am just playing Devil's advocate, but I'm going to have to go with the Steelers.

As much as it hurts to see them win a 7th championship, Pittsburgh defense simply impresses me more, and it is defense they say that wins championships. While the Packers have a prolific offense, they tend to excel when they find unexpected success with their running game (see James Starks). As Pittsburgh is by far the most dominant run stopping team, I believe the Steelers can shut down any attempt at a running game by Green Bay and focus on attacking Aaron Rodgers. Plus, Green Bay has been a flawed team all season long, partly due to injuries. In every postseason game except the Atlanta game, they played a magnificent 1st quarter, only to die on offense by the 2nd half. I believed all season long that these flaws would catch up with them eventually and the Super Bowl may be the night for it.

Of course, let's hope that I am wrong and the NFC is victorious once again this season. Either way, Happy Super Bowl everybody!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Juan Castillo DC Promotion a Day Later

I will admit that, like all of Philadelphia, I was shocked by the Juan Castillo move and was at a loss for words. To me the move made little sense, but after slowly gathering my senses I watched the press conference on and will now share my thoughts after a day to process it all.

To say the move is baffling is a gross understatement, as even Andy Reid himself mentioned in the press conference that he expected this move to be surprising to most, and it should be. Juan Castillo, despite having experience on the defensive side of the ball, has only had experience as a defensive coordinator at a high school level. In college he was a linebackers coach and he played linebacker at one point in his career. He clearly understands defense, but the fact remains that Castillo has not had any experience as a defensive coach at an NFL level.

Of course, the move is not entirely unreasonable. As an offensive line coach Juan is required to understand blitz packages very well. And he clearly does if the claims that he would talk defense with the late Jim Johnson are true. Sources around the league are attesting to his incredible work ethic and Castillo will likely get up to speed. Additionally, the addition of Jim Washburn should help to ease Castillo's job. Also, Howard Mudd, one of the best offensive line coaches in the game, should be a more than adequate replacement for Castillo.
Reid has rarely let us down in the past with his unpredictable decisions.
Still, when you put it all together, clearly Andy Reid is taking a tremendous risk that could have an impact on his tenure here in Philly. Yet, as I try to stay optimistic, I will trust Reid once again. Ever since he arrived in Philadelphia, Reid has been one of the most unpredictable coaches in the NFL. From the drafting of Donovan McNabb over Ricky Williams, the Terrell Owens trade, the signing of Michael Vick out of prison, the trade of Donovan McNabb to a divisional rival, to the anointing of Michael Vick as the starter over his long-term plan Kevin Kolb. All of Reid's gambles have paid off in the past, despite how controversial they may have been at the time.

Therefore, I will put my faith in Reid one more time that he knows what is best for the football team, even when the world scratches its head.