What Does The Juan Castillo Firing Mean For Reid And The Eagles?BREAKING NEWS, Coaching Staff, Eagles, News Tuesday, October 16th, 2012
For the first time in his 14-year tenure as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, Reid fired a member of his coaching staff in the middle of the season by dismissing defensive coordinator Juan Castillo on Tuesday morning.
Reid’s decision to make a change at one of the most important positions of his coaching staff speaks volumes about just how important the final 10 games of the season are for the head coach’s future in Philadelphia.
This firing wasn’t something that Andy wanted to do. Reid was very close to Juan Castillo; the two coaches worked with each other for 14 years. It was a huge gamble to make the former offensive line coach a defensive coordinator, and Reid stuck his neck out and put his reputation on the line when he made the decision to give the hard-working Castillo an opportunity to run his defense. However, he wanted to give his friend an opportunity succeed on a whole new level, and stuck up for Juan even when things went poorly for the team during the 2011 season.
But now Reid simply couldn’t afford to do his friend anymore favors. The Eagles are now 3-3, and Castillo’s defense had blown two straight fourth quarter leads. Juan’s defensive playcalling had come under heavy criticism from the fans, the media, and even some of the players. Castillo just didn’t have a natural feel for the game like a strong defensive coordinator should; he never seemed sure of when the right times to be aggressive were, and was regularly outcoached by opposing offensive coordinators.
I think Andy took a look at his upcoming schedule and noticed that his next two games are against two of the most explosive offenses in the league, the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints. Based on what he had seen in the first six games, there just weren’t enough positives for Reid to have confidence that Castillo could turn the defense around. Reid knows his team is already in trouble at 3-3, and it would be very difficult to get back into the playoff picture if the Eagles were to fall to 3-5 in the coming weeks.
A sense of urgency has come over Reid, and he knows he needs to win now or he’ll be out of a job by the end of the year. As much as Reid respected Juan Castillo as a coach, a man, and a friend, Andy took a long look at the situation and realized that in order for the Eagles to have the best chance to win right now, Juan had to be removed.
It’s going to be interesting to see what other changes Reid will make to try and improve this football team. Firing Castillo is a major shakeup, and it has to put every other coach and player on notice. If Reid was willing to fire his close friend Castillo, no coach’s job and no player’s starting position is secure.
The defense isn’t the only area of this team that needs a dramatic improvement. The offense has been just as much of a problem in 2012, and as Reid begins to grow more desperate to spark a turnaround for his team, more dramatic changes will come.
How short of a leash will Michael Vick have? Reid wasn’t interested in giving his turnover machine quarterback an endorsement during his press conference. Reid knows that the ridiculous amount of turnovers his offense has generated has been killing this team in the first six games, and he’s got to find a way to eliminate it. If the quarterback doesn’t shape up quickly, he could very well be the next man up on Andy’s chopping block.
The Castillo firing signals that we’ve reached a major crossroad in the Andy Reid era. Either Reid’s newfound urgency will help bring dramatic changes that propel this team in the right direction, or we could just be seeing the first in a series of desperate moves that prove to be too little too late.
One thing’s for sure, Reid can’t hide or escape from his own failures and poor decisions that have put this team in the position they’re in today. This is the year he’s going to be held accountable, and unless his changes transform the Eagles into a strong team on the field, Reid will be forced to fall on his sword at the end of the year.
Denny Basens is the editor of GCobb.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow him on Twitter.
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