Blog Entry

Andy Reid won't back off the wide-nine scheme

Posted on: October 11, 2011 9:56 pm
Juan Castillo has struggled to get Philadelphia's defense playing well this year (US Presswire).Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It still boggles the mind that after firing defensive coordinator Sean McDermott after last season, Eagles coach Andy Reid moved offensive line coach Juan Castillo to McDermott’s old spot. And it’s been kind of fun to point out the inadequacy (so far) of that move, considering Philadelphia’s defense -- even with highly-regarded new acquisitions like Nnamdi Asomugha, Jason Babin and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie -- has been underwhelming this year.

Try tied for 26th in the NFL with 26.4 points allowed per game.

But the Philadelphia Inquirer has an interesting theory why Castillo might have been Reid’s only choice: basically, it states that, since Reid was so intent on implementing a new wide-nine* defense, other defensive coordinator candidates who would have had to do Reid’s biding in playing with that defense might have balked at the idea and said no thanks.

*This is the scheme where the defensive ends are split out wide, on the outside of the opponent’s tight end, and their goal is to disrupt the pocket with speed rather than trying to move offensive tackles with strength or footwork.

“What probably happened as the Eagles defensive coordinator search turned farcical was that interviewed candidates balked at the idea of coming aboard with the stipulation that the wide nine would be used here -- take it or leave it,” writes Jeff McLane. “There aren't many coaches that use it, although it has been around in one form or other for many years.

So that left Juan Castillo. And, well, Castillo would do whatever Reid and (defensive line coach Jim) Washburn wanted. He was an offensive line coach wishing to become a defensive coordinator. Castillo would have agreed to the wide nineteen.”

As McLane suggests, Washburn might have been another obstacle. Reid hired the well-respected Washburn away from Tennessee specifically so he could help install the wide-nine. This was before Reid had even hired a defensive coordinator. Considering Washburn was on to stay no matter what, that also would have taken away from a new coordinator’s autonomy in hiring the coaches he wanted.

While Babin and defensive end Trent Cole have performed well split out wide, the linebackers have done a poor job of tackling, leading to the benching of Casey Matthews and safety Kurt Coleman. But the real problem, the newspaper writes, is that Reid has not given Castillo the appropriate parts to play successfully with the wide-nine.

Yet, Reid told reporters this week that he’s sticking with the wide-nine, because he’s saying that it worked. For proof, he points to the second half of last Sunday’s Buffalo game when the Bills were held to a field goal for the rest of the game after starting the second half with an 80-yard touchdown drive.

"You obviously saw it work in the second half very effectively," Reid said. "We've just got to continue to work with it. Listen, anything new you've got to work with and work out the wrinkles and get it right."

"Players, they have to learn it, coaches have to learn it, particularly the new coaches. So it's a joint effort there."

Yes, but if the Eagles don’t improve -- they are, after all, a stunning 1-4 -- it might not be Reid’s call after this season. Because Reid is not 100 percent certain to survive if Philadelphia’s wide-nine doesn’t start producing better results relatively soon.

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Since: Mar 17, 2009
Posted on: October 12, 2011 3:54 pm

Andy Reid won't back off the wide-nine scheme

Reid will be saved by the division, the winner might end up with an 8-8 record this year, the Eagles could easily end up there with a win Sunday.

Since: Oct 12, 2011
Posted on: October 12, 2011 11:04 am

Andy Reid won't back off the wide-nine scheme

Good teams stop the run period.  Not stopping the run sets up to many things for the opposing offense and takes away the talents of the Eagles secondary

Since: Jan 2, 2010
Posted on: October 12, 2011 2:37 am

Andy Reid won't back off the wide-nine scheme

I can telll you now Knowing that it was Andy HIMSELF who wants to run this wide 9 makes me even me upset with him. I wonder If they ran the typical schemes if this D would be better? Either way Reid WILL survive this season mostly because its his only really bad season thus far. Even if they only win 4 or 5 this year he will be back..It seems only when you have back to back low win seasons do Vet coaches get fired. As much as i am tired of His tenure in Philly, There is ZERO chance the Fat man is gone after this year.

If the D would create turnovers, this team could survive the flaws on offense namely the line. This team can score in bunches but they get predictable when they fall behind. Vick has made some bad choices this year but He has also played pretty well in my opinion given the fact the pass protection is not good at all. I think he is trying to do too much at times but if this D can setttled down, get stops and get him back on the field, I think he will play at a high level again. 

Eagles still don't have good LB's or Safties for this scheme and that sucks. This D will continue to give up massive runs but I  think the Pass D gets much better as we go along.
If this team can get takeaways, even in it's current form this would be a dangerous team. Sigh......

Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: October 12, 2011 1:09 am

Andy Reid won't back off the wide-nine scheme

I don't give a damn what scheme you run...wide-nine...3-4...46...if you have complete utter scrubs for linebackers and no one to lay the wood at safety, your defense will falter. Period.

Since: Aug 26, 2011
Posted on: October 11, 2011 11:53 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Nov 5, 2007
Posted on: October 11, 2011 11:45 pm

Andy Reid won't back off the wide-nine scheme

Hey skins, how about Andy Reid for a 2nd round pick?

...You did it before  Wink

Since: Jan 20, 2008
Posted on: October 11, 2011 10:49 pm

Andy Reid won't back off the wide-nine scheme

well said!

Since: Dec 6, 2006
Posted on: October 11, 2011 10:44 pm

Andy Reid won't back off the wide-nine scheme

Excellent, since the skins are sure to try to pound the Eagles w/ their running game.  The skins can basically bury the eagles for the season if they win this week, which is ironic since the eagles seem to have adopted the skins former role as the team where free agents go to die.

Build your lines, build through the draft - very pleasantly surprised w/ the skins so far.  They won't win the super bowl, but at least they're moving in the right direction.  

Since: Jun 18, 2010
Posted on: October 11, 2011 10:01 pm

Andy Reid won't back off the wide-nine scheme


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