AFC South: Juan Castillo

The last few weeks, in conjunction with our Power Rankings, I’ve done posts with AFC South players sharing their lists.

I wanted to do the same this week, but as we look at the NFL’s up-and-coming assistant coaches, there was no player with the frame of reference to offer a ballot.

So I turned to agent Bob Lattinville. His firm, Premier Stinson Sports, represents over 100 college and professional coaches in football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball. (We’ll unveil our list at about 1 p.m. ET.)

But as a preview, we share Lattinville’s thoughts.

I asked that he be reasonable and measured in including his own clients on his list of the top 10 up-and-coming assistants, and he was. Only his No. 10 selection is a client.

Here then, are his opening comments and his list. We thank him for supplying a great read from an interesting angle:

Following is my top 10 list of up-and-coming NFL assistant coaches. I split my list into two categories: (a) six younger, position coaches with eventual head-coach potential, and (b) four veteran, coordinator level coaches who are an opportunity away from ascending to a head-coach position.

My list not only takes into account statistical performance but, more importantly, player development and performance in the context of what these coaches deliver given the personnel resources provided and how they respond to the situations their players/positions/clubs are required to handle.
    [+] EnlargeDirk Koetter
    David Butler II/US PresswireDirk Koetter has been the offensive coordinator in Jacksonville since the 2007 season.

  1. Dirk Koetter (offensive coordinator, Jacksonville Jaguars). Koetter’s expertise with X's and O's and scheme are rare, even for the NFL, and he remains cool under pressure.
  2. Russ Grimm (assistant head coach/offensive line, Arizona Cardinals). Well respected by players, coaches and front offices, it’s just a matter of time before this Hall of Famer rightly ascends to a head-coach position.
  3. Juan Castillo (defensive coordinator, Philadelphia Eagles). An intelligent coach with a masterful ability to teach and relate to players. His recent switch to the defensive side of the ball will only enhance his already head coach-worthy credentials.
  4. Greg Manusky (defensive coordinator, San Diego Chargers). Manusky’s defenses are always among the NFL’s most productive and his players play hard for him.
  5. Edgar Bennett (wide receivers, Green Bay Packers). Bennett spent the last six years turning young, and frequently undrafted, running backs into NFL stars. His switch to coaching the Pack’s talented group of wideouts will further showcase his skills.
  6. Aaron Kromer (offensive line, New Orleans Saints). The cradle of coaches, Miami (Ohio), produced another winner in Kromer. Incredibly well respected by his players and mentored by one of the NFL’s brightest minds in Sean Peyton, Kromer’s troops make it all go for the Saints’ prolific offense. Without exception, every player I have represented who played for Kromer says the same thing: "He made me better."
  7. Todd Downing (quarterbacks, Detroit Lions). Downing prepared three quarterbacks for the Lions in 2010 and each one of them was productive. At only 31, Downing already has eight years of NFL experience under his belt.
  8. Mike Priefer (special-teams coordinator, Minnesota Vikings). Organized and talented, this U.S. Naval Academy graduate also benefits from strong NFL bloodlines (son of veteran NFL special-teams coach Chuck Priefer). Working with players from several positions on both sides of the ball has developed Priefer’s talent evaluation skills as well.
  9. Mike Devlin (tight ends/assistant offensive line, New York Jets). A tough-minded coach’s son, Devlin developed as a player under Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz, carved out an NFL career from sheer will and flawless technique and is being polished by the league’s hottest coaching staff.
  10. Matt Griffin (offensive coach, Jacksonville Jaguars). Griffin’s tireless approach, analytical skills and dedication to his players will flourish under Jack Del Rio, a head coach who develops and promotes his staff (an underappreciated aspect of good head coaches). (Lattinville represents Griffin.)

Mudd, Washburn talk as new Eagles

February, 9, 2011
Former Indianapolis Colts offensive line coach Howard Mudd and former Tennessee Titans defensive line coach Jim Washburn, who built a close friendship working against each other in the AFC South, met the Philadelphia media Wednesday for the first time.

Courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles public relations staff, here are some highlights.

Mudd on why he ended his one-year retirement:

“Andy [Reid]. I have known Andy for 22 years. He was a young assistant coach for Bob Stull at University of Missouri. He came over [when I was with the Chiefs] and wanted to know about what I did and why I did it and stuff like that. We spent a lot of time that one year there. I went over and spoke at their spring clinic and got to know him. Then he ends up leaving and Marty Mornhinweg was then the offensive line coach. He asked me if I would spend time. [Reid] was in Green Bay and we maintained contact. He’s a really friendly guy and he liked what I did and would always ask me questions as we went through the years. We just maintained contact. When this thing shook down, I was kind of in a state of shock. I went, ‘What?’ He called me and said, ‘Would you consider coming out of retirement?’ He told me this whole story about the interview process with the defensive coordinator. I know Juan [Castillo] very well. He said this isn’t going to work if we make this move if you don’t come.”

Mudd on aiding Washburn as he decided to jump to Philadelphia, which happened before he came into the picture himself:

“I was really involved with Wash when he was making the decision to come here. This other thing shook down a little bit later. I didn’t really consult Wash because I didn’t want to say anything [until it was in place]. It only really took about 12 hours or something like that.”

Mudd on their friendship:

“We worked against one another for 12 years in Indianapolis and Tennessee. Our boys really fought hard against one another. They beat each other up quite a bit. We found this common ground of motorcycle, so we talked about that before every game. We ran a draw play and I would call him up maybe Friday before we played them and asked if they had a good week of practice. He would say 'yes.' I said, ‘Well did you work on the draw? Because if you worked on the draw, we’re not running it.’ We have this professional respect. There is no one who coaches that position better than Jim. The proof is in the people who have failed in other places and have distinguished themselves with their play. [Titans DE Jason] Babin is the last one, but it was Kyle Vanden Bosh [before him]. Those people who are kind of no-name people, but you better tape your ankles if you’re going to play against Washburn.”

Washburn on leaving the Titans:

"It was sort of like home and that was hard. But it was really a no-brainer between the other teams and this place because it’s got a quarterback. It’s about that simple no matter what anybody tells you, it’s got a quarterback. We’ve got two … I like [head coach] Andy Reid. I met him at the Pro Bowl when we coached the Pro Bowl one year and I’ve always liked him. The first time I ever saw him -- in my first Division I game coaching, he was playing left offensive tackle for BYU and I was at New Mexico. I’ll let him tell you how that went in that game.”

Washburn on his opportunity in Philadelphia:

"I haven’t got too much time left, I’m 61 years old. I’ve got my best coaching ahead of me, I feel like I’m just where I want to be. When [offensive line coach] Howard Mudd retired -- he is one of my best friends -- what a terrible thing that was. All that knowledge he has, I wish I could just take a chip out of his brain and put it mine. And it’s just so cool that he’s here. I’m okay, he’s really good and that’s the truth.”

Washburn on his friendship with Mudd:

“We worked against the Colts one camp. He came down and we worked against him. We started talking, he’s such a good guy and we started talking about motorcycles. We both like motorcycles, so he said let’s ride in the offseason and we did. We became friends and he’s sort of a different dude and I’m like a way different dude. We just have a good time and he’s just a good person.”