Saturday, February 6, 2016

Castillo Stunner: Panic Setting In?

Last spring, Juan Castillo vowed that he would "take a bullet" for Eagles coach Andy Reid. Tuesday, he did.

Castillo Stunner: Panic Setting In?

Eagles coach Andy Reid fired Juan Castillo on Tuesday. (David Mailetti/Staff Photographer)
Eagles coach Andy Reid fired Juan Castillo on Tuesday. (David Mailetti/Staff Photographer)

Last spring, Juan Castillo vowed that he would "take a bullet" for Eagles coach Andy Reid. Tuesday, he did.

Castillo was fired as the Eagles' defensive coordinator, to be replaced by secondary coach Todd Bowles.

More on Bowles background here.

The move is stunning, with the Eagles 3-3 and allowing a respectable 20.83 points per game. But the defense failed to get off the field late each of the past two weeks, at Pittsburgh and in the horrendous collapse Sunday against the Lions. After the Detroit game, corner Nnamdi Asomugha openly questioned changes in strategy down the stretch.

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Monday, Reid announced he would review everything, including Castillo, during the bye week. He said Castillo would continue to call defensive plays "as I stand here right now."

Reid's painstaking review didn't last long. While many people close to the team thought the loyal offensive line coach was a bizarre choice to lead the defense two years ago, and many felt he should have been replaced after last season, axing him at 3-3 seems transparently panicky, the move of a coach who is desperate to hold onto his job and is willing to try just about anything.

If Reid thought Bowles would be a better defensive coordinator than Castillo, he could have hired the former Dolphins interim head coach for the job last offseason. If Reid made the wrong call then, it's hard to muster a lot of faith that he's making the right call now.

In a statement, Reid said: "I want to make it clear that I have nothing but the ultimate respect for Juan Castillo as a coach and a person. He's one of the finest football coaches that I've ever worked with. He has served this organization extremely well for 18 years, and letting him go was a difficult decision. I know he will continue to be a successful coach in this league and I wish he and his family nothing but the best.

"We're six games into the season and average isn't good enough. I know the potential of our team and insist on maximizing it."

Of course, cynics will note that Castillo's defense has been much better than Reid's offense this year, but Andy isn't firing himselft, or offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.

Staff Writer
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