In a shocker, the Eagles ended up staying in-house for a defensive coordinator.
Juan Castillo, considered among the best offensive line coaches in the league, will take over the defense and replace the fired Sean McDermott.
The Eagles also will hire Howard Mudd to coach the offensive line. Mudd was a senior offensive line coach for the Indianapolis Colts before retiring after the 2009 season.
The Eagles, it seems, have interviewed more than the three publicly identified candidates -- Dennis Allen, Jon Hoke and Joe Woods for the position. Despite assertions to the contrary, they did not want to wait until after the Super Bowl to interview Steelers or Packers assistants.
Castillo, 51, has never coached defense on the professional level. He joined the Eagles in 1995 as an offensive assistant. He later coached tight ends and has been the offensive line coach for 13 seasons.
As a player, he was a linebacker at Texas A&I and for San Antonio in the USFL and also coached the position at the college level.
Reports had indicated that Castillo could be considered for offensive coordinator positions with Cleveland and Minnesota, but those interviews never materialized.
Left guard Todd Herremans tweeted, "Congrats to Juan Castillo! He's worked hard and earned it. I hope the defense is ready to work! LOL"
In statements distributed by the Eagles, three former Eagles defensive assistants who are now head coaches weighed in on Castillo.
Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera: “I’m really excited about this news and very proud of Juan being named defensive coordinator of the Eagles. First of all, Juan is one of the smartest and most dynamic coaches in the NFL. If anyone could cross over to the dark side [of defense], he’s the guy. Seriously, if anyone can do it, Juan Castillo is able to do it. I don’t know if I have seen anyone any more committed as a coach in this league than him. I was able to call on him so many times to understand how certain offenses worked and attacked. His knowledge of the game is very, very extensive and I consider him a mentor of mine in Philadelphia while I was working under Jim Johnson. He prides himself in his work ethic, which I know he got from his mother. More importantly, he’s a dedicated father, husband and friend and just a top notch person.”
Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier: “I have a strong affinity for Juan going back to our days spent together in Philadelphia. I can remember Jim Johnson and our defensive staff putting our game plans together and we’d always get together with Juan just to make sure they were sound in terms of pressures and blitzes. Sometimes, I felt like he was on our defensive staff. And to do this day, he and I talk every week during the season to talk about other offenses in the league. That’s how much respect I have for him as a coach and how well he is able to understand the defensive schemes. I’m so excited that’s he’s going to be able to put those ideas to work for himself as the defensive coordinator in Philly. Andy Reid made a great choice.”
St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo: "Great move by Coach Reid. Juan is a football junkie who has always studied the entire game. He’s a detailed, aggressive, and passionate football coach - all attributes vital to coaching defense. I wish him all the best.”
In Mudd, the Eagles get 36 years of experience as an offensive line coach, including his most recent stint with the Indianapolis Colts from 1998-2009.
Mudd began his coaching career as an offensive line coach at the University of California (1972-73). Prior to joining the Colts in 1998, his NFL offensive line coaching stints came with San Diego (1974-76), San Francisco (1977), Seattle (1978-82), Cleveland (1983-88), Kansas City (1989-92) and Seattle (1993-97).
Download our NEW iPhone/Android app for even more Birds coverage, including app-exclusive videos and analysis. Get it here.