The Philadelphia Eagles sit at 3-3 heading into the bye week, but the organization wasn’t happy about the performance of the team so far and fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, according to the team’s official Twitter page.
#Eagles have dismissed Juan Castillo from his duties & named secondary coach Todd Bowles as the team’s new defensive coordinator.— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) October 16, 2012
UPDATE: Tuesday, October 16, 11:10 a.m. ET by Donald Wood
While it was defensive coordinator Juan Castillo that lost his job Tuesday, there are some across the NFL that share the feeling that this was the wrong move by the Philadelphia Eagles organization.
Former Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel shared his opinion on the matter via Twitter:
Sometimes you have to blame yourself. You can't try and always point the figure at someone else— Asante Samuel (@pick_six22) October 16, 2012
Samuel either is still mad that the Eagles chose to go down a cheaper road at cornerback, or he knows that the issues on the defensive side of the ball should fall on the shoulders of head coach Andy Reid.
While Samuel’s opinions could be viable, the way in which they are presented forces fans to take his opinion with a grain of salt.
---End of Update---
Eagles head coach Andy Reid released the following official statement to the team’s website:
I want to make it clear that I have nothing but the ultimate respect for Juan Castillo as a coach and as a person. He's one of the finest football coaches that I have ever worked with. He has served this organization extremely well for 18 years and letting him go was a difficult decision. I know he will continue to be a successful coach in this league and wish he and his family nothing but the best…We’re six games into the season and average isn’t good enough. I know the potential of our team and insist on maximizing it.
While last year’s terrible performance by the defensive unit was blamed on the inexperience of Castillo on the defensive side of the ball, it became clear from the mismanagement of the team’s biggest stars that the former offensive line coach wasn't the right man for the job.
The hope now is that the team has found its next hidden gem with the promotion of Bowles.
After being ranked 15th against the run and the pass in 2012, the expensive defensive unit has underachieved all season. The Eagles are on a bye this week and will need every second to make the coaching transformation.
What It Means
Owner Jeffrey Lurie told the Eagles that the 8-8 finish to last season wasn’t going to be good enough and that jobs would be on the line. Six weeks into the season, Reid saw the writing on the wall.
It was time to make a change.
Reid took a huge risk giving the defensive coordinator job to an offensive line coach, but it is those risks that have made the Eagles head coach as great as he is. This time, though, the experiment didn’t work.
This is the biggest opportunity of young defensive backs coach Todd Bowles’ life; he is now the defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles.
With plenty of experience as a defensive player in the NFL and as a coach in the league over the last 27 years, Bowles is the kind of coach that could become the team’s saving grace. Add in his familiarity with the system, and this is a smart move.
The real change will come with blitzing schemes. As much as Castillo knew about defense, he lacked that elite knowledge of blitz concepts, but that is where Bowles will shine.
The Eagles defense will be revamped over the next two weeks, to say the least.
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