- Dan Graziano, ESPN New York Giants reporter
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The firing of Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo a month ago was clearly, even at the time, more about sending a message and doing something than it was about fixing this year's team. Coach Andy Reid felt a season slipping away as it hit the bye week, and he had, he believed, a capable replacement on staff in Todd Bowles. So he ditched Castillo, a converted offensive line coach who probably never should have had the defensive coordinator job in the first place, likely in the hope that it would fire up the team.
Well, the team hasn't won since, and it's allowed 96 points in the three games it's played since Bowles took over control of the defense. Not all 96 are specifically the defense's fault -- the Cowboys scored two defensive touchdowns and one special teams touchdown against the Eagles on Sunday -- but it's fair to say the defense has played worse since that move was made. Which kind of makes it look like a bad move.
The Philadelphia Inquirer looked at some stats and found, among other things, that:
Opposing teams are converting third downs at a nearly 50 percent rate over the past three games. They were under 30 percent for the first half-dozen games.
Bowles' defense (6.01) is allowing nearly a full yard more per play than Castillo's defense did (5.13).
The last three quarterbacks have completed 75 percent of their passes (62-82). That goes a long way to contributing to the 7.53 net-yard-per-plass-play number they have put up.
Bowles' defense has as many sacks (7) in three games as Castillo's did in six games ...
But Bowles Boys have yet to record an interception. Castillo's Cubbies had seven, although they bundled four of them in the Game 1 escape against the Browns.
The three-game sample size is obviously too small to do Bowles any favors, and too small to allow for a fair assessment of his abilities as a defensive coordinator. Should the Eagles play excellent defense over their final seven games, it likely will be reasonable to assume it took them three games to adjust to the change. And anyone who's watched the Eagles over the past two seasons knows they don't adjust quickly to change.
But when you fire a coordinator mid-season, you do so with the hope that you'll see something resembling instant results. To this point, the Eagles have seen quite the opposite.
The firing of Philadelphia Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo a month ago was clearly, even at the time, more about sending a message and doing something than it was about fixing this year's team.