In a stunning move today, Philadelphia Eagles Coach Andy Reid decided to stay within the organization with his search for a defensive coordinator. Eagles fans were finally looking forward to some fresh blood to revitalize a defense that has struggled the past couple years. Instead Reid promoted longtime O-Line coach Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator.
In an obvious effort to prevent riots in Philadelphia, the Eagles PR staff has been busy collecting quotes from head coaches around the league praising the move:
"Great move by Coach Reid. Juan is a football junkie who has always studied the entire game. He’s a detailed, aggressive, and passionate football coach - all attributes vital to coaching defense. I wish him all the best.” - Rams Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo
“I’m really excited about this news and very proud of Juan being named defensive coordinator of the Eagles. First of all, Juan is one of the smartest and most dynamic coaches in the NFL. If anyone could cross over to the dark side [of defense], he’s the guy. Seriously, if anyone can do it, Juan Castillo is able to do it. I don’t know if I have seen anyone any more committed as a coach in this league than him." - Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera
“I have a strong affinity for Juan going back to our days spent together in Philadelphia. I can remember Jim Johnson and our defensive staff putting our game plans together and we’d always get together with Juan just to make sure they were sound in terms of pressures and blitzes. Sometimes, I felt like he was on our defensive staff. And to do this day, he and I talk every week during the season to talk about other offenses in the league. That’s how much respect I have for him as a coach and how well he is able to understand the defensive schemes. I’m so excited that’s he’s going to be able to put those ideas to work for himself as the defensive coordinator in Philly. Andy Reid made a great choice.” - Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier
These are glowing remarks and there is no doubt that Castillo is a very smart and highly respected person in the NFL. With that said, I still cannot fathom how the Eagles decided to go in this direction. The Eagles are in "win now" mode, there's even word on the street that Andy Reid's job security may been on the line next season. They needed a big name defensive coordinator, however it looks like no one was willing to risk their job security for what might be one year to prove themselves as Eagles' defensive coordinator. What they got was a man who has never coached any defensive unit at the professional level. Castillo played linebacker in college but that is hardly enough to qualify him for the defensive coordinator position.
Andy Reid has always been someone who likes to promote from within, but this is a move that I believe will ultimately be his downfall. He is an excellent coach in the league, but Philadelphia fans want a Super Bowl, which is understandable considering how many times the Eagles have made the playoffs over the last decade. There will be no coach under more pressure to win next season than Andy Reid.