Eagles say ‘Wide 9’ not the problem

Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Wide nine.

Wide nine who?

Wide you still using that defensive scheme?

Ok, bad joke, but you get the idea.

Everyone has been knocking the Eagles’ new wide nine. From the national media to opposing teams, the defensive scheme just isn’t working right now for Juan Castillo’s unit.

After the Bills’ Fred Jackson racked up 196 total yards last week, he credited the wide nine for his success. Especially on the screen passes.

“Again, wide nines,” Jackson said. “They like to get upfield and we knew as long as we could get that nine [the widest defensive end] upfield, we could get under him and be able to spring off it.”

ESPN’s Ron Jaworski praised the Lions’ version of the wide nine, but was quick to point out that it was successful due to the solid play of Detroit’s linebackers. The Eagles don’t have that luxury with their current personnel, which means the middle of the field is often wide open.

Even so, Castillo is toeing the company line. As long as the sacks keep coming — the Eagles are tied for second in the league with 16 sacks — the team has no plans to abandon the defensive scheme.

“It’s a good opportunity to pressure the quarterback. We have to make some adjustments,” Castillo said. “There’s some things that you’ll see this week. I can’t get into the particulars, but you’ll see some adjustments that will help us.”

That message has trickled down to his players.

“We still believe in it,” said linebacker Jamar Chaney. “The Detroit Lions run the same type of defense and front four that we run and they’re 5-0. The wide nine is not the problem.”

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