Why Promotion of Juan Castillo Makes Sense for Eagles

Written By Bob Cunningham On Wednesday, February 02, 2011
I'm not going to pretend like I wasn't floored when the Eagles announced that offensive line coach Juan Castillo was going to be taking over the defense. In fact, my first reaction was "What in the hell is Andy doing?!"

But upon further review, this move could actually work.

First off, there isn't a harder-working coach on the Eagles' staff than Castillo. The guy lives and breathes football and after getting to watch him up-close at Training Camp and practice a couple times you really get the feel for how intense he truly is.

His work ethic makes me believe learning how to run a defense won't be an issue for him -- especially since he played on that side of the ball in the USFL and coached on that side for a while -- and his intense personality has me optimistic that he'll run a more attacking style of defense that Philly is used to seeing.

And apparently, Castillo has always wanted to coach the defense, saying in his introductory press conference that he "always told defensive guys (he) was stuck on the wrong side."

There will be some growing pains, but Castillo seems like a guy who will instantly have the respect and trust of the guys he's coaching, which is something Sean McDermott never seemed to have.

Another factor in making this move had to be the availability of Howard Mudd, who will be taking over Castillo's spot as the offensive line coach. Mudd is consistently brought up as one of the best offensive line coaches in the game and seems to be the offense's version of Jim Washburn, the well-respected defensive line coach recently hired by the Eagles as well.

Had the team not been able to land Mudd, I'm not sure Reid would have felt as comfortable moving Castillo from that spot. But because Reid could go out and get a guy who he felt was just as good if not better than Castillo, it made the decision a lot easier.

Then there's the CBA uncertainty, which seems to be figuring into every move that's been made by every team this offseason and last.

Castillo was a close friend of the late Jim Johnson and talked defense with him all the time. Castillo knows the terminology he used, which was used for the most part by McDermott as well.

So if the team were to lose a lot of the offseason due to the lack of a CBA, they would be able to catch up much quicker because Castillo is not going to be completely overhauling the system and the terminology like a coach from another team might want to do.

The only thing that really still confuses me is the wait. If this is what Reid knew he wanted to do and the job was Castillo's to lose (as he said it was in Castillo's introductory press conference), then why did this search take almost a month?

According to Reid, he was just covering his bases. But if he were really just covering his bases, why not wait the extra five days and interview some of the assistants from the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers once the Super Bowl was over?

With a few solid candidates like Mike Trgovac, Winston Moss, and Ray Horton, it probably would have been worth the extra wait to talk to those guys and see if any of them blew him away. If they didn't, then Reid really hadn't lost anything because he still could have promoted Castillo who wasn't going anywhere.

The only thing I can think is Mudd wanted a resolution sooner rather than later. Because obviously if Reid went ahead and hired a guy from the outside, it would have meant Castillo staying put with the offensive line and no place for Mudd.

Time will tell if this was the right move for Reid and the Eagles, but on the surface it's a move that I believe has a ton of promise and the potential to turn the Eagles back into a defensive powerhouse.

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