Juan Castillo has been on the job a month, and its been one of the worst defensive months in franchise history.The Eagles blew a fourth-quarter lead for the third time in 15 days Sunday, losing to the 49ers 24-23 after leading 23-3 early in the third quarter.The Eagles were 75-12 under Jim Johnson when leading going into the fourth quarter and 16-2 under Sean McDermott.Under Castillo, theyre 1-3.Under Castillo, they cant stop anybody.Castillo, named defensive coordinator when the Eagles fired McDermott, has never before been a defensive coach above the high school level, and with the Eagles defense struggling terribly now despite numerous big-name additions, Castillo is coming under intense scrutiny from all sides.Sunday, after yet another horrible fourth-quarter collapse, Castillo promised his embattled unit will recover.His message for fans who dont think he can do the job?Youll see, he said. Well get this turned around, just like we have before, and then they can be happy that I did do the job. We want to get this job done for the fans in Philadelphia, for our owner, for our guys. And were going to get it done.The Eagles allowed 442 yards Sunday to the NFLs 32nd-ranked offense, the 49ers most yards in seven years. The Eagles have given up 1,429 yardstheir most after four games since 1989.Frank Gore, who came into the game hobbled with an ankle injury and averaging 2.5 yards per carry, needed only 15 carries to rush for 127 yards. Rag-armed Alex Smith threw for 291 yards and two touchdowns and wasnt intercepted.In the second half, the Eagles hapless defense allowed a staggering 289 yards, including three touchdown drives of 77 yards or more.To the NFLs worst offense.To Alex Smith, for crying out loud.Head coach Andy Reid wont blame Castillo, but these are the kinds of losses that make for very short careers.Obviously hes trying to put out his best, said cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who had another disappointing game Sunday. This is his first year with a defense that he didnt get an offseason with. Everybodys sticking by Juan and the calls that hes making and everything like that. No ones pointing fingers like that, no ones getting on Juan at all. Not in here. Were sticking behind Juan, and we know we can play better as a defenseespecially in the fourth quarter.
The 49ers came into the Linc with the 30th-ranked rushing offense in the NFL but pounded the Eagles for 164 yards. This is only the second time since 1986 the Eagles have allowed 100 or more rushing yards in each of their first four games and the first time since 1960 an opposing running back has rushed for 85 or more yards in each of the first four games.Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said Castillo doesnt deserve the blame for the defenses terrible performances.On a lot of these plays were getting beat with, people are there, Jenkins said. People have an assignment and its not getting done. You cant sit up here and point out the defensive coordinator, because players have to step up and make plays. You can put anybody in the right place, but if they dont make plays, youre not going to win.We have the ability, we have the talent, Castillo said. Ive got to put people in better position to make plays. Weve got to get it done.Asked if his confidence in himself has taken a hit, Castillo said no.The thing is, we have a plan, he said. We believe in the things that were doing. So you go back and keep working on some of the things, you see what the problems are, what the big plays are that we gave up. ... We have to create some turnovers, we have to create some of those plays.They hurt. Right now, talking to them, they hurt. This is something that hurts all of us. Weve all been tested in our lives before. This is a test, and were going to come out and get it done.E-mail Reuben Frank at email@example.com
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