Eagles' defensive players confident in abilities of new coordinator Bowles

Posted: October 23, 2012

WHEN HE got the job last week, new Eagles defensive coordinator Todd Bowles didn't say a lot to reporters about what he was going to change, and Bowles didn't get much more specific Monday when he addressed his unit, Eagles players said.

Apparently, Bowles talked about being less predictable, and tried to rally the troops.

"He told us we've got the second half of this season [actually, the remaining five-eighths] and we've got a great opportunity to do something great, and it's up to us," said rookie slot corner Brandon Boykin. "He's just going to put us in the best position to make plays." (Hmm, that phrase sounds oddly familiar.)

Boykin knew Bowles well as secondary coach before Bowles was elevated last week, following the firing of Juan Castillo.

"When preparing for a game, he makes you feel super confident in your abilities . . . we'll definitely have that confidence that we can get it done - not that we haven't before - but [Bowles will be] just making it easy for us to play our game and play loose," Boykin said.

Defensive tackle Mike Patterson practiced Monday for the first time in 2012, and afterward Patterson said he's looking forward to playing for Bowles.

"It'll be really exciting to see what he does for us and see what's going to happen. We see him everyday, we're all together in meetings and stuff like that, but this was the first time he talked to us as a group," Patterson said. "He's a coach that's played in the league. You don't get that too often."

Boykin said he was quite surprised last Tuesday to hear the 3-3 team had changed defensive coordinators. "I actually saw it on ESPN when I woke up," he recalled. "It's crazy, but I've talked to Juan and texted him."

Less surprised, and for some reason wary of saying anything about Castillo or Bowles to reporters Monday, was defensive end Jason Babin. He said describing his reaction to the change would be "above my pay grade."

Babin said characterizing Bowles' message to the defense would be "giving away the game plan," even though no game plan will begin to be installed until Wednesday.

"I've been doing this for 9 years now," Babin said, when asked about surprise. "You kind of have to be numb."

Slightly more helpful was corner Nnamdi Asomugha, who has made no secret of his high regard for Bowles since Bowles arrived from his three-game stint as the Dolphins' intermim head coach in January.

"There's an equanimity about him," said Asomugha, quite possibly becoming the only Eagle ever to use the word "equanimity" in the 80-year history of the franchise. "It doesn't matter what's going on, he's always going to be calm, just relaxed and stuff like that. So that's good. He always feels like there's a solution, no matter what we're going through."

Safety Nate Allen said Bowles is "definitely a player's coach. He relates to us well and we all like him as a coach, and off the field he is a great guy. He's smart, so it's going to be a good thing.

"He talks to us like men. He's not real up in your face. He's not a loud guy. He expects you to know what you have to do as a man and as a professional. We love to play the game. You don't need a lot of motivation. If you do try to get motivation from coaches, then I think you're in the wrong [frame of mind]."

Asked what he thinks will change, Allen said: "It's hard to say right now. We're not sure exactly what [will change] because we haven't really put in a game plan or anything. We'll see on Wednesday, but it'll be good, whatever it is, and we're excited."

Bowles, who turns 49 next month, has never been a coordinator, even though he was an interim head coach and has interviewed for head coaching jobs.

Reporters have been unsure what input Bowles had into strategy up to now; we still don't know whose idea it was to switch up coverages, disastrously, in the fourth quarter of the Oct. 14 overtime loss to Detroit after Allen left with a hamstring injury.

Safety Kurt Coleman said Bowles "was helping make play calls throughout this year. He's a smart coach, he really is. He's going to do his due diligence and understand the game as far as [how] the offense is going to attack us, and you have to be able to adjust during the game. I think he's going to do a great job with that."


Left tackle Jason Peters (Achilles'), eligible to practice this week and next week before he would have to go on injured reserve, did not practice Monday, the Eagles said . . . The highlight of LeSean McCoy's bye week was having his number retired at Bishop McDevitt High in Harrisburg. "There's only two guys ever to get their number retired there, me and [ex-Eagles running back Ricky Watters]," McCoy said. "It felt good to go home and do that."