It has been a little over two and half weeks since the Eagles fired Sean McDermott as their defensive coordinator. All the speculation was that the mystery man would be someone coaching in the big game.
Well, after a long, hard search they have found their man. But it’s not someone you would expect the Eagles to hire to take over this mediocre defense.
The team announced Wednesday afternoon after all the interviews and candidates, they have decided to go in house and promote offensive line coach Juan Castillo and convert him into the new Eagles’ defensive coordinator. And Coach Andy Reid feels he is the right man for the job.
“We are very excited to introduce Juan Castillo as the new defensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles. Obviously, this is a great opportunity, not only for the Eagles, but also for Juan. It’s a tribute to the hard work, the diligence and the kind of football coach he is. I think if you have the opportunity to talk to any player, if you have an opportunity to talk to any coach that has been a Philadelphia Eagle, and many coaches throughout the league, what might seem a little strange is just a very confident move, and one that will take our defense to another level. I look forward to that combination of [defensive line coach] Jim Washburn and Juan Castillo and the new additions that we’ll add here with time.”
The move is somewhat shocking to Eagles’ nation. After all, Castillo hasn’t coached defense in over 20 years and it was at a high school. But Castillo is excited to make the transition.
“I’m a defensive guy. I think all the front seven guys know that because I’m always talking to them like that,” Castillo said Wednesday. “Coach and I, through the years, we talk about things like that. I would say, ‘Coach, if I could ever go back on defense I would be tough because I understand what offenses are trying to do—the run game, the protections, the passing game. That would be an asset for me.”
Castillo joined the Eagles in 1995 as an assistant coach to Ray Rhodes but before that he played linebacker in college and in the USFL for the San Antonio Gunslingers. He then started his coaching career for high schools and colleges before interning with various NFL teams that eventually landed him a job in Philadelphia.
EAGLE JEFF’S TAKE:
It’s a strange and tough move on the Eagles part to bring someone in house that has been around this organization for some time now. They need a new identity. They need someone that isn’t used to Andy Reid’s philosophy and as they said during the entire press conference, “it’s a risky move.”
Risky doesn’t even explain it. You bring a guy that hasn’t coached defensively for over 20 years to all of a sudden throw him in there and expect success? It’s going to be a lot to ask for and this team and the coaching staff is already under a lot scrutiny and this decision to hire Castillo to coach the defense is just going to make it worse.
The only positive side of things is his knowledge on the offensive side of the ball with the offensive line. Like their techniques and movements to hopefully him and newly hired defensive line coach, Jim Washburn can coach and develop this young defensive line to read the offense better into making plays and getting to the quarterback which they lacked so much last season from their front four.
I don’t know how he is going to be able to fix and coach a secondary that was completely horrendous last season giving up a franchise record 31 touchdown passes.
Castillo will also be stuck with an inexperienced linebacking corps that lacks the fundamentals and discipline to make plays by recognizing what the opposing team’s offense is doing to them.
To really make this move work, they need to get playmakers this offseason and get experienced coaches to help Castillo along the way. Right now they are still without a secondary coach. Hopefully they can get the right man in here for the job and the right personnel.
Right now, the way things are going Andy is on a short leash and if this decision and off-season doesn’t pan out and they fall flat on their faces again next season, Eagles management might think it’s time for a change and slam the door in Reid’s face and on his way out of town.