Eagles defensive shuffle just starting?

January, 7, 2012
1/07/12
8:57
PM ET
The Philadelphia Eagles announced Saturday that they had "released" secondary coach Johnie Lynn, which on its face isn't a surprising move. The Eagles had a disappointing season, the defense's propensity for allowing big plays was a major reason why, and as Eagles head coach Andy Reid surveys his personnel -- coaches and players alike -- it's reasonable to expect some tinkering.

But the move with Lynn leads one to wonder what else might be coming. Former Eagles defensive assistant Steve Spagnuolo, who won a Super Bowl four years ago as the New York Giants' defensive coordinator, was just fired as head coach of the St. Louis Rams and is looking for work. The Eagles' defensive coordinator is Juan Castillo, who this time last year was their offensive line coach and did in fact look overmatched at times in his first season on the defensive side of the ball. But Castillo is a longtime member of Reid's staff, and even if they are looking to upgrade at coordinator with someone more accomplished, such as Spagnuolo, it's likely the Eagles would just want to fire Castillo and make him the scapegoat, considering the difficult position in which Reid put him.

It's also unlikely that they could give Castillo his old job back. He was replaced at offensive line coach by Howard Mudd, and even if Mudd decided to move back into retirement, things wouldn't be so simple. Mudd installed completely new blocking schemes and techniques that bear little resemblance to what Castillo was coaching before Mudd replaced him. The Eagles' linemen bought in completely to Mudd's teachings and performed well, and it's likely that, even if Mudd were to leave (and there's no reason to believe he would, other than his health), they'd likely want to continue to teach and practice Mudd's technique.

So if, hypothetically, the Eagles want to hire Spagnuolo (or anyone else) to replace Castillo as defensive coordinator, and if they don't want to fire Castillo, they'll need a place to put him. There is now an opening at secondary coach, so you know ... just sayin'. Worth paying attention to, especially if Reid is planning more changes down the line on his defensive staff.

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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