There is little question in my mind that Juan Castillo, much like the young linebackers he has thrust into the spotlight, simply isn’t ready for primetime. So far there has been nothing to suggest that Castillo can game plan effectively to utilize his great defensive line and shutdown corners or minimize his personnel weaknesses.
Thus, this Sunday’s game is a must-win for the defensive coordinator. If he can’t bottle up the anemic San Francisco offense, Castillo deserves to be fired posthaste.
Let me detail for you just how bad the 49ers offense is. According to Football Outsiders, they have the second-worst pass blocking offensive line, the worst starting running back in Frank Gore, and no wide receiver with more than seven receptions. Alex Smith is the 25th-best quarterback in the NFL, just behind Bengals rookie Andy Dalton.
The 49ers have exactly one serious offensive weapon: Vernon Davis, the athletic tight end who has twice the receptions as San Fran’s next best receiving threat.
Planning to defend and disrupt this offense should be the football equivalent of handing someone a nearly completed crossword puzzle, final word: three letters, “easy as ___”.
Given the Eagles huge advantages against the 49ers wide receivers and offensive line, they should be able to keep San Fran from scoring much more than 10 points. And Juan Castillo has no excuse for letting Vernon Davis or anyone else on that team beat him, even with the problems the Eagles linebackers and safeties have had.
If the Eagles can’t shut this offense down, there will be no more time to let him rearrange a few players here and there. Castillo either wins this week or he’s out the door.
Photo from Getty.