What do you do as an offense when you are facing a completely overhauled defense filled with inexperienced players and a defensive coordinator coaching his first regular season game? That’s likely the question new Rams’ offensive coordinator asked himself as he pieced together his attack against the Eagles. And the answer is rather obvious–run the hurry-up offense. And despite being limited to only 13 points, the Rams did have some offensive success when the approach was employed.
There were many questions during the offseason concerning Castillo’s preparedness for the job. Could he quickly adapt to various offensive looks? Could he identify an offense’s tendancies on the fly? Could he command the respect and attention of his defense despite no prior work on the defensive side of the ball during his professional coaching tenure?
Josh McDaniels was obviously aware of those questions, and wanted to test Castillo right from the jump. After the Rams scored on their first possession, McDaniels wisely turned up the tempo of his offense on the next drive. The attacking Eagles offense was on their heels. Prior to Sam Bradford’s fumble, the Rams gained four first downs, easily marching the ball 53 yards against an Eagles’ defense that appeared confused and out of position. While the end result of that drive was disasterous for St. Louis, you can bet other offensive coordinators around the league took notice of the success they were having prior to the turnover.
Criticizing the Eagles’ defense goes beyond Casey Matthews–it’s easy to single out a player and make him the whipping boy. Truthfully, Matthews wasn’t as bad as message boards and talk radio would have you believe. Opposing coaches, however, are going to look for ways to take advantage of the Eagles’ lack of inexeperience in order to counter what appears to be a formidale pass rush and lock down secondary. So don’t be surprised if Atlanta utilizes a quick tempo offense sometime in the first half on Sunday night.