After the Eagles’ 26-23 loss to the Lions on Sunday, head coach Andy Reid said everyone had to look in the mirror and do a better job.
Juan Castillo won’t get the opportunity to do a better job because when he looks in the mirror, he no longer sees the Eagles’ defensive coordinator.
Reid announced Tuesday that Castillo had been fired. Todd Bowles, brought in as the secondary coach – and insurance policy – during the offseason, replaces Castillo as defensive coordinator.
The Eagles’ defense has been better than the offense this season, but the Birds lost the last two games due, in part, to their inability to stop long drives by the Steelers and Lions at the end of regulation. This repeated a disturbing pattern established last season, when the Eagles lost five games in which they led entering the fourth quarter.
Castillo, who was in his 18th season with the Eagles, lasted just 22 games as defensive coordinator. Reid’s decision to hire Castillo after firing Sean McDermott, was widely questioned. Castillo had spent the previous 13 seasons as the offensive line coach, so there were concerns about how well he would adjust to being promoted to coordinator on the other side of the ball.
The Eagles’ defensive problems last season were often attributed to the lockout, which prevented Castillo from installing his defensive scheme and working with new players during offseason workouts. But this season’s problems can’t be blamed on a truncated offseason.
One of the problems this season is that the defense has gone three straight games without a sack, the first time that has happened to the Eagles in 29 years. The Eagles’ defense is predicated on pressuring the quarterback. Castillo has been criticized for not getting creative with blitzes and other strategies to generate sacks.
The Eagles also haven’t produced many turnovers. One reason they seem to lose the turnover battle most weeks is that Michael Vick gives the ball away as if it’s Halloween candy. Another reason is the defense isn’t producing many turnovers.
Bowles, who played for Temple, has been a defensive coach for more than a decade. He has coached with the Jets, Cowboys and Dolphins, including a stint at the end of last season as the Dolphins’ interim head coach.
Reid, who said that every area would be evaluated during this bye week, said the decision to fire Castillo was entirely his own. He said he didn’t consult with anyone before making the decision, although he informed owner Jeffrey Lurie of his decision.
Firing Castillo, however, doesn’t fix the Eagles’ offensive woes. They are 31st in the NFL in points and 31st in turnover ratio.
In other words, Castillo might not be the only person looking in the mirror in these next two weeks who finds out that his job or status has changed.