Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFC East [Print without images]

Thursday, February 3, 2011
Trying to understand the Eagles

By Matt Mosley

IRVING, Texas -- I was out with a bunch of folks in town for the Super Bowl last night and all they wanted to talk about was the Eagles deciding to name longtime offensive line coach Juan Castillo their defensive coordinator. Even by Andy Reid's recent standards, this was a bizarre move.

Did this idea pop into his head as he was relaxing in Antigua after sacking Sean McDermott? He seemed to suggest last night that Castillo had been in line for this position for years. And I'm sure McDermott's thrilled to hear that. For the record, I'm a fan of Castillo's work on the offensive line. I've had several conversations with him at the combine in the past and the man has tremendous passion for his job. Other offensive line coaches around the league swear by Castillo.

This is about as unconventional a move as you'll see in this league. But longtime Beast reader and Inquirer columnist Bob Ford, not normally the voice of reason, doesn't think it was the "wrong" move. He even dusted off a story from Jim Johnson's playing days to illustrate his point. And Ford thinks the Eagles will have to supply Castillo with some better players.

"The season is a long way away, if they decide to play it, and the makeup of the defensive roster is unknown," writes Ford. "The group that was on the field to finish last season wasn't very talented, regardless of what Reid might say. Castillo might be very good, but he can't teach tabbies to leap through a ring of fire."

The Eagles hired a legendary offensive line coach in Howard Mudd to replace Castillo. On the surface, it looks like Reid has continued to put his offense (and his guys) first. I thought this situation begged for an outsider to take a new approach with this defense. But Reid went with one of the most familiar faces in the organization.

I think the players will cheer this decision because they have great respect for Castillo. But if this thing backfires, Reid's not going to be given the benefit of the doubt.