The Eagles may have made a huge mistake…
The Eagles had a busy offseason. Lost in all the headlines and free agent signing and “Dream Team” proclamations was the Eagles hiring of a new defensive coordinator. They decided to promote long time offensive line coach Juan Castillo to the role, despite his complete lack of experience coaching the defense. They figured that after coaching the offensive line for 13 years against Jim Johnson’s defense, he may have picked up a few of his tricks. In addition, his energy and intensity in coaching would endear him to the players and they would quickly gel under his leadership. Well, the players seem to like him, but the learning curve for the NFL is steep, and the talented Eagles defense has been underwhelming this season. They’ve struggled so much, the Eagles talked about bringing in some help for Castillo.
Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid has engaged in discussions with the team’s front-office hierarchy on whether to bring in a defensive consultant if the team continues its struggles this week in a key game against the NFC East-leading Washington Redskins, sources told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen.
The team has a bye week following that game, and Reid is seeking solutions that can help Juan Castillo, a longtime offensive line coach who is in his first year as defensive coordinator, the sources said.
The report has been refuted by the Eagles, denying that they are bringing in any outside help for the defense. Something will need to change for Castillo and the defense who rank 15th in overall defense, 30th against the run and 27th in points allowed. They have been able to rush the passer effectively, tied for second in the league with 16 sacks, but they have only created five turnovers, and the Eagles currently sit at -10 in turnover ratio. In short, the defense stinks when it should be elite.
There are bright spots for Castillo’s defense, such as the sacks and they only allowed 10 second half points to Buffalo in their Week 5 loss. However, their slow start, giving up 21 points in the first half, buried the team in a hole that the turnover prone offense couldn’t dig out of. How the Eagles expected their offensive line coach, no matter how charismatic, to switch sides of the ball and call an elite defensive unit is still a mystery. As a former offensive line coach myself, I can attest to how little that experience has done to make me qualified to call a defense. Castillo’s hold on the position will be tenuous at best until the defense starts to perform better or the offense pulls it together and plays well enough that nobody remembers the Eagles have a defense.
On a side note, since the Philadelphia Eagles have had one of the worst offensive lines in the league the last several years, what did Castillo do to merit a promotion? “Hey, you’ve been pretty terrible at your job duties, so here’s more responsibility!” doesn’t seem like a great philosophy to run a team.