Highlights From New Commanders Coach’s First Press Conference – NBC4 Washington

Three takeaways from Juan Castillo’s intro presser originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

This upcoming season will be Juan Castillo’s 27th in the NFL and first with the Washington Commanders, as head coach Ron Rivera recently named Castillo to replace Pete Hoener as the club’s tight ends coach.

On Wednesday, Castillo met local media for the first time via Zoom. Here are three highlights from the introductory press conference…

1) He knows and loves Logan Thomas

Castillo was most recently the offensive line coach at Chicago, but before that he worked for Buffalo in 2017 and 2018. While with the Bills, he conveniently overlapped Logan Thomas, the guy who will lead the commanders tight in 2022.

“We talked all the time when I was in Buffalo, so we have a good relationship,” Castillo said of Thomas.

Thomas saw his first professional action at tight end with the Bills and, though he was just beginning to get to grips with the position, Castillo explained that he and other offensive coaches on that staff imagined that Thomas might “one day “eventually emerge as the difference. -maker he became in Washington.

“We felt he had that kind of ability, but he was still young,” Castillo said. “He was learning how to block, how to protect passes, really how to run a route.

“I know he’s gifted, so we’re really excited to start working with him again.”

Thomas is much, much more of a finished product than he was when Castillo first met him and if he can recover from the torn ACL that ended his 2021 campaign, he will give Castillo a very reliable starter to dominate the depth chart.

2) He’s drawn to the potential of Thomas’ backups

Because Thomas concluded the season on injured reserve and made two trips to IR, John Bates received quite a few reps as a rookie. Reviewing how Bates handled that workload, Castillo came away impressed.

“John really arrived last year,” Castillo told reporters. “I think he can be one of the best run blockers, protecting tight passes in the NFL.”

Sammis Reyes, meanwhile, currently sits behind Thomas and Bates (Ricky Seals-Jones, who was also featured in Thomas’ absence, is a pending free agent) and represents a major project, as 2021 was his first. times actually practice the sport of football.

However, Castillo believes he has two things that will help Reyes in his growth as a tight end, starting with a common language.

“Sam speaks Spanish like me,” Castillo said. “I think that inherently, Sam is going to feel comfortable with me.”

Then there’s Castillo’s experience coaching the many undrafted players like Reyes he’s encountered during his league career.

“I had a lot of college free agents who developed for me and played for me, so you get an idea of ​​guys like that,” Castillo said, before stating that the most vital part of tutoring these overlooked assets is to get them “to know that you care about them and [getting] that they understand that they have to do better than everyone else.”

In Reyes, Castillo seems to have a player ready to do just that.

3) He has a clear goal in mind as he begins his tenure

Going forward, Castillo plans to be the only new face on Washington’s coaching staff, which he pointed out Wednesday. Therefore, he is keen to achieve a particular goal.

“I have to earn respect,” he said. “You know how you earn respect? You work better than everyone else. That’s how you earn respect. For me, that’s the most important thing.”

Hoener, the man Castillo replaces, was loved by his proteges and also renowned for his…creative language. Castillo seems to understand that he will have to grind if he wants to attract the same success as Hoener for the franchise.

Now, when asked to describe his own style on the pitch, Castillo gave an answer that indicated he would be a bit quieter than Hoener – until a situation arises where he has to match the volume and vulgarity of its predecessor.

“Everyone has to go their own way,” Castillo said. “I’m a teacher. I teach. Sometimes it’s hard to be able to teach and shout at the same time, but there are times when you have to raise your voice. There are times when you can hear a word I wouldn’t say around young children.”

“Some people react a certain way,” he continued. “As a coach, that’s the feeling you get once you’ve developed a relationship.”

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