Wednesday, October 17, 2012
So, what about the Eagles offense?
By Dan Graziano
It has been more than 24 hours since Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo, and Reid has made no announcement concerning an offense that's scoring fewer points per game than any team but the Jacksonville Jaguars. Reid said Tuesday that he would continue to look at everything, and strongly suggested more changes were on the way during the team's bye week, so it's possible there's still news to come on the other side of the ball. But I'd like to take this time to answer some of the most common questions I've been getting about the Eagles' offense over the past 24 hours.
1. Why fire Castillo and not offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg? Well, technically, Reid still could. But I don't think he will, and there are a number of reasons why the Mornhinweg and Castillo cases are different. First, and most importantly, I think Reid likes Mornhinweg as an offensive coordinator. They've worked well together for the last seven years and have accomplished a lot together. I think Mornhinweg is the guy Reid would choose to be his offensive coordinator over other available candidates. I do not think the same was true of Castillo, the converted offensive line coach. Reid spoke with former Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo about a job on the staff last offseason and hired Todd Bowles, who was a ready replacement on staff when Reid decided to fire Castillo. There is no Bowles equivalent on the offensive side of the Eagles' coaching staff, and that's because Reid has more faith in Mornhinweg than he apparently had in Castillo. Also, Reid is an offensive coach himself, and it's possible that firing the offensive coordinator could be construed as a greater admission of a failure by Reid himself than would the firing of the defensive coordinator.
2. Will Reid make a change at quarterback? Michael Vick's turnover issues have been the most glaring and crippling problem for the Eagles' struggling offense this year, and when asked directly about his quarterback situation Reid said he had not yet decided. It is entirely possible that he will bench Vick -- entirely possible that he's been giving rookie Nick Foles more work in closed practices than any of us realize, and that he'll announce at some point in the next week that Foles is the new starting quarterback. My educated guess, though, is that Vick starts the Atlanta game in 11 days but that one or two turnovers could get him benched, even mid-game. And if it happens, it might not even be a permanent benching but rather the latest effort to snap Vick out of the problem. Because Reid's coaching for his job, and he's not turning a still-breathing season over to Foles unless he really believes Foles gives him the best chance to win games right now.
3. If not quarterback or coordinator, what other changes could be made? I expect some changes on the offensive line before the next game. Reports indicate that they are bringing in former Bears first-round pick Chris Williams, who was once a highly-regarded left tackle prospect but was cut this week. If they like what they see, they could give Williams a shot at left tackle. They could move Todd Herremans inside to replace the struggling Danny Watkins at right guard and play Williams or King Dunlap at right tackle. They could bring in someone else whose name hasn't been mentioned yet. I have a hunch the five guys who start on the offensive line against the Falcons might not be the same five that started against the Lions. The Eagles' line has been lousy, and they need to find a combination that works.
So those are a few thoughts, for those who have been asking. I will of course continue to keep you updated on all of this as best I can as the week unfolds.