Thursday, February 11, 2016

Castillo move looks desperate but isn't

Some day-after thoughts on Juan Castillo becoming the Eagles' defensive coordinator:

Castillo move looks desperate but isn't

Castillo may not seem like the obvious choice, but it does not mean he is the wrong choice. (Eric Mencher/Staff file photo)
Castillo may not seem like the obvious choice, but it does not mean he is the wrong choice. (Eric Mencher/Staff file photo)

Some day-after thoughts on Juan Castillo becoming the Eagles' defensive coordinator:

*When I think of Juan, I think of hard work, at the most basic level -- put your hands here, step that way, bend your knees. I see a technician, not a strategist. A mechanic, not a design engineer. Maybe I don't have the whole picture. The Eagles limit media access to assistants who aren't coordinators; I've talked more with Juan about his son Greg's play at Iowa than about anything involving the Eagles. But I can't help but wonder if Andy Reid, who isn't all that interested in defense, underestimates the complexities of defensive scheming.

*This looks like a desperate move, but it wasn't. Plenty of well-qualified, exciting people were available. This didn't happen because somebody somewhere turned the Eagles down. They wanted to do this. It's interesting that they didn't want to do it enough to announce it, say, the day after they fired Sean McDermott; I think they had some respect for how crazy, insular and arrogant the move would seem. They wanted to do some interviews, get a feel for outside thinking about their defense. But in the end, they did what they wanted to do. Still not sure why they let it be known unofficially that they would interview somebody from the Super Bowl staffs, then didn't bother. They had to announce Juan this week? Why?

*In the end, Juan is a guy who isn't going to demand a lot of changes in the way the Eagles do things, like some guy from the Steelers or Packers might. This is very much about Andy Reid's comfort level, and his control. If things go bad, nobody is going to clamor for Juan Castillo to take over the head coaching job, the way they might if a higher-profile candidate had been hired to run the defense.

More coverage
Birds' Eye View: Steelers coach says Reid's job is on the line
Idle Rich: First impressions of Castillo
MTC: DeSean, teammates surprise boy who was bullied
Birds' Eye View: Vick won't attend his own Super Bowl party
Bob Ford: Choice of Castillo not wrong - yet
Les Bowen: The last Jim Johnson connection
Video: McLane, Bowen react

*And make no mistake, this was an Andy Reid move. We can speculate until the cows come home over whether Andy wanted to fire Sean McDermott, but there is no way Howie Roseman or Joe Banner pushed an idea like this on Andy.

*Saw where somebody noted that Jim Johnson had never coached defense before Notre Dame hired him as d-coordinator in 1977. Several points -- this ain't Notre Dame. This ain't 1977. And a mere 22 years of defensive coaching AFTER he came to Notre Dame, Johnson was hired to run the Eagles' defense. Sorry, that "precedent" doesn't do much for me.

*The other meme being trotted out is that the Michael Vick starting quarterback decision was even more shocking, and it turned out OK, so this move must be a good one, as well. But the shocking thing there wasn't the idea that Vick could be a starting NFL quarterback; he had already done that in Atlanta. The shocking thing was that the Eagles had been so adamant about Kevin Kolb as Donovan McNabb's successor. In turning quickly to Vick, they were doing something they'd told us they had no intention of doing. And one of the big reasons they did it, by the way, was that their offensive line wasn't very good, and Vick was more mobile than Kolb. Who was running that o-line deal, again? Oh, yeah ...



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