The shocking dismissal of Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo was made after careful consideration, Andy Reid said, one day after Reid hinted at big changes. Could more be on the way?
Castillo was let go because he consistently struggled to adjust to changes in games, and it resulted in a slew of fourth-quarter meltdowns a year ago, and some of those had trickled into the past two games this season, none more evident than when he abandoned a defensive game plan that had worked against the Lions. Detroit rallied in the fourth quarter and overtime for the victory, and the Eagles couldn’t get their feet back under them defensively at any point late in the game.
"It's been something I am sure he's been thinking about and decided it was best for the football team," Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie told PFW from the owners' meetings in Chicago on Tuesday. "He makes all those decisions."
The postscript to Castillo being relieved and Todd Bowles taking over is that Reid suggested that he might not be finished tearing up the plan during the Eagles’ bye week. When asked about the status of QB Michael Vick, who after Sunday’s loss has totaled 30 fumbles in his past 30 games and who has 13 turnovers this season, Reid said Vick was his quarterback “as I sit here right now.”
But that could change quickly. Reid’s move to can Castillo smacked of desperation, of a coach who truly believed the threats of his owner that Reid could be gone if the Eagles are 8-8 again. Reid was smart enough to know that he needed a contingency plan in case Castillo, who was allowed to return this season, flunked. That plan was secondary coach Todd Bowles, who wisely was brought in after being in demand with several other teams.
Bowles' stock has been on the rise for several years, and he earned major credibility for the job he did replacing fired Dolphins coach Tony Sparano on an interim basis, guiding Miami to a 2-1 finish with wins over the Bills and Jets and a near-upset of the Patriots.
"Very sharp, relates to the players," Lurie said when asked to give an assessment of his team's new coordinator. "Andy has a good feel for him, and the whole situation. He's on top of everything."
And Reid also made sure to draft Nick Foles in Round Three and sign Trent Edwards, with Vick and Mike Kafka on the roster at the time, to have a Plan B in case Vick melted down. Some would argue that’s happening now with his turnover frenzy this season. Another big shakeup could be right around the corner.
As for whether Lurie is comfortable with a big in-season shakeup, no matter the title, he said, "Absolutely. I am sure before the bye, it's something that Andy felt was the right timing. Todd Bowles has a chance to do an outstanding job, and I believe in Andy."