At Senior Bowl, Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo says it's status quo

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The Eagles have not made any indication that Juan Castillo's job was or is in jeopardy. (Ron Cortes/Staff file photo)

FAIRHOPE, Ala. - Juan Castillo is still a member of the Eagles coaching staff.

Whether he's still the team's defensive coordinator even he couldn't say.

"You got to go through Andy," Castillo said, deferring to head coach Andy Reid. "I'm just working," he added, explaining his presence at Senior Bowl practice on Monday.

Castillo, making his first public comments since before the end of the season, was simply following protocol when he declined to comment on his current status with the Eagles. Reid is slated to meet with the media once he has finished making any changes to his coaching staff.

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But it's been 23 days and counting since he last spoke with reporters immediately following the season finale on Jan. 1. Reid, as expected, was not here for Senior Bowl practices. He hasn't been at the workouts that many NFL coaches and scouts attend for several years.

Castillo and most of the Eagles coaching and personnel staff were. Castillo, though, was uncomfortable answering questions about his seemingly undetermined role. The Eagles, to be clear, have not made any indication that Castillo's job was or is in jeopardy.

The general feeling coming from a few of the coaching staff was that Castillo will stay in his current position.

But Reid's silence makes it seem as if Castillo is still dangling in the wind. And now there are reports that he was interested in bringing former assistant Steve Spagnuolo back to lead his defense. Indications from two NFL sources were that they had hoped to hire the former Rams coach.

Spagnuolo, though, agreed to take the defensive coordinator job with the Saints last week, according to various reports. New Orleans has yet to make the hire official.

The Eagles could be looking elsewhere if they indeed want to replace Castillo and move him into another spot. The Dolphins aren't expected to retain defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, although he did interview for the Raiders head coaching vacancy. He could be someone to watch, or perhaps one of the assistants with the New York Giants or Patriots who can't be interviewed until after the Super Bowl.

There was speculation last season that the Eagles were waiting for the Super Bowl to end before they could fill the defensive coordinator vacancy after Sean McDermott was fired. Reid, of course, made the stunning decision to promote Castillo even though he had only coached the offensive line in the NFL.

Castillo's defense struggled from nearly the start of the season and there were almost immediate cries that he was in over his head. McDermott, now the defensive coordinator of the Panthers and here to scout, said that Castillo called a few times during the season for counsel.

There were a few strong outings by the Eagles defense in between some woeful ones, and the unit appeared to come together during the season-ending four-game winning streak. But many continue to howl for his ousting. Castillo said he has received lots of support from fans, however, and did not harp on his current situation.

"Anytime we can get up in the morning and we're healthy enough to fight, we're all right," Castillo said.

Castillo, sporting an Eagles shirt and carrying an Eagles scouting report, spent the bulk of the South team practice mingling with other coaches from around the league. Many unemployed coaches come here to network, like former Eagles secondary coach Johnnie Lynn, who was fired earlier this month.

Some coaches come to interview for jobs. Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg met with the Raiders last week about their head coach opening. Mornhinweg, who was also here, has emerged as a serious contender in Oakland, according to league sources.

If Mornhinweg leaves, Reid will have another job to fill, and he could have more if his offensive coordinator takes from his staff.

 


Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745, jmclane@phillynews.com or @Jeff_McLane on Twitter.