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Juan Castillo 'Finest Teacher Of Football In NFL'

Posted Aug 15, 2013

The veteran offensive line coach has brought energy to Baltimore and been well-received by his players.

The Ravens concluded practice Monday afternoon, and most of the team trotted back into the locker room.

But a few offensive linemen stayed on the field to get in some extra work, and in the middle of the group was the Ravens’ new Run Game Coordinator Juan Castillo. He led the linemen through extra drills, spending additional time with some of the young players fighting for a roster spot.

“I would say Juan is maybe the finest teacher of football in the National Football League,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “He teaches the game as well as anybody you’re ever going to see, and those guys – they like to work for him.”

Castillo joined the Ravens in January, and since then he’s received glowing reviews from Harbaugh and the players.

“They want to stay out to get extra reps because they understand that the things that he’s teaching them are going to help them be a better player,” Harbaugh said.

Castillo is known as a fiery coach.

He’s active during drills, constantly running up to plays between drills to critique them on every rep. The offensive linemen like the energy that Castillo brings to practice each day, and they have taken notice of his enthusiasm.

“I think it’s contagious,” center Gino Gradkowski said. “Guys are buying into his passion, his energy.”

Castillo came to Baltimore in January after spending the last 14 years with the Philadelphia Eagles. Castillo was a long-time offensive line coach for the Eagles, before becoming the defensive coordinator in 2011. The Eagles fired Castillo in October 2012, and a few months later he joined Harbaugh’s staff.

The two coached together during Harbaugh’s time in Philadelphia, and that prior relationship helped make Castillo a natural fit with the Ravens.

“We’ve been working together for 10 years,” Castillo said. “The thing that’s nice on my part is Coach Harbaugh knows the way I coach, and that’s nice to know that I can just be myself. It really fits into the way the organization is and the way he is.”

Since joining the staff, he’s worked with Offensive Line Coach Andy Moeller to implement some new run blocking and pass protection schemes.

There are high expectations for the line this season, especially with veterans Marshal Yanda, Bryant McKinnie and Michael Oher, and up-and-comers Gradkowski and Kelechi Osemele. Castillo is working to impress a mindset upon his players, which he sees as the defining characteristic of Baltimore’s team. 

“I just fit in with what they do,” Castillo said.  “I make sure that the offensive line is the most physical part of the team [and that] we’re the most physical offensive line in the NFL.”

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