Andy Reid’s “Castillo and Mudd” Mistake Continues To Hurt HIm

Eagles offensive line coach Howard Mudd had been a great coach for the Indianapolis Colts for years.  He had put together the offensive line, which protected future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.  Their system was a work of art.

They ran the stretch running play, which required Manning to take the snap and almost run laterally to get the ball to the running back.  Mudd’s offensive linemen would get the opposing team’s big defensive linemen moving laterally and it would make it easier for Mudd’s guys to push them all over the field as the running back cut upfield through mammoth holes.

Mudd espoused smaller, more athletic linemen, who would keep Peyton clean for 2.5 to 3 seconds and the ball would be out of Manning’s hands to an open receiver before the defensive line could get there.  Smaller and more athletic offensive linemen, who were released by other teams would find their way to Indy and have success playing for Mudd.

The rest of the league looked on and marveled.  Their system frustrated and disarmed defenses throughout the league and they made it look easy.  Mudd and Manning were a beautiful long-term successful marriage.

The coach retired a couple of years ago after putting in more than a decade of orchestrating the offensive line in front of Manning.  He walked away from the game and was enjoying himself while spending time in the great outdoors with his motorcycle and hunting equipment.  All was well, he had finished a great playing and coaching career, and was now retired.

Unfortunately, he was talked into walking away from his retirement by Reid and his buddy Jim Washburn.  Reid was looking for a way to reward one of his most loyal and worthy assistants, Juan Castillo.  Long-time offensive line coach, Castillo, had been dreaming of becoming a head coach and he thought the quickest way to do it was by returning to the defensive side of the ball.  Years ago, he had played and coached defense on the college level,

Juan had been very loyal to Andy throughout the years and Reid appreciated Castillo’s tremendous commitment of time and effort through the years in developing good offensive lines, which allowed Reid to successfully run his west coast offense.

The head coach was blinded by his desire to give Castillo the same opportunity to be a NFL head coach, which he had given to John Harbaugh, Brad Childress, Steve Spagnuolo, Ron Riviera and Leslie Frazier.

Ignoring more than a decade of work as one of the league’s top offensive line coaches to return to the defensive side of the ball was a foolish move and it was obviously foolish.

Reid didn’t protect Castillo from himself, when Juan applied for the defensive coordinator position.  The head coach could have used his influence to get Castillo a raise and then talked him out of the move.  Instead, he let Juan talk him into making one of the worst decisions of his tenure as the Eagles head coach.

It hurt the Eagles in two ways.  First of all on the offensive line, despite Mudd’s credentials, he didn’t have the attitude and energy, nor drive to work with and develop the offensive line the way Castillo had for years.

On the defensive side of the ball, Castillo was not prepared to be a defensive coordinator in the NFL.   I remember listening to him after the news conference to announce his hiring.  He talked about working hard and fundamentals, but never said anything about the number one part of his job as defensive coordinator. competing on the strategy level with the offensive coordinators in the National Football League.

Back to Mudd, he’s an old man who doesn’t have the patience needed to teach and develop the backup offensive linemen on this football team. He uses a different blocking techniques than other offensive line coaches around the league wasn’t here for the off season workouts.  Reid let him stay home even though they knew Jason Peters was going to miss the season and new left tackle Demetress Bell had never played in Mudd’s system.

Here you’ve got a football team, which blamed their disappointing 2011 season on the lack of off season work because of the strike, yet their offensive line coach doesn’t attend the off season workouts, despite having a new left tackle who has been recently acquired by the football team and has never played in his system.

I stood by the offensive and defensive line drills during training camp and listened to Mudd completely give up on Bell.  He had worked with him a total of three days, yet he was ready to give up.  Mudd and the offensive tackle never seemed to develop a decent level of communication, and I don’t know if the offensive tackle understands the offensive line coach’s system.  This should have been taken care of in May rather than in August, September and October.

I guarantee you that Juan Castillo would have gotten more out of Bell than Mudd has.  Mudd didn’t seem to have any patience with the young offensive linemen during training camp.  Unfortunately, these guys are the players who have been hurting the Eagles all season.

Earlier in Reid’s tenure, I remember the amount of time Castillo would spend with the backup offensive linemen.  People around the team would joke that Castillo would be coaching those backups on the plane or follow them into the bathroom working on their techniques and assignments.

Each day after practice, Castillo would spend hours with the backup offensive linemen.  He was the only reason a lot of those journeymen players were in the NFL.  He put money in their pockets because of the way he worked and developed them.  Castillo would wear that little smile and be constantly coaching those backups.  Castillo’s constant coaching was a fixture on the football team.

He would never miss a moment to start coaching.  The guy loved to see his younger players develop and he would get excited talking about them.  Castillo loved to coach so much that he would start coaching me, when I was interviewing him.

Sometimes he would have the young backup offensive linemen working against the team’s backup defensive linemen after practice.  They would come in sweating about 45 minutes to an hour after the rest of the team had finished practice.  He would never miss the chance to work with those backups.

Juan was the guy who everybody talked about when restrictions were made during the strike about how long players would have to practice.  I remember having  good laughs with Jon Runyan and Tra Thomas about Juan coaching those backups.

Castillo left no stone unturned when it came to developing the backups and he was excited about it.  His heart was in it and that’s one of the reasons the players loved Juan.

Mudd on the other hand, doesn’t spend any extra time with the backup offensive linemen and you’re seeing the results of that neglect on the field right now.  He didn’t have any patience with the younger players during training camp.  He and defensive line coach Jim Washburn would jump on one of the golf carts and zoom off the practice field immediately when the practices finished.

Unfortunately for Mudd and the Eagles, injuries to the offensive line has exposed Mudd’s shortcomings.  I have never seen a quarterback get pounded as much as Michael Vick,  He finally was knocked out of a game this season with a concussion, but the guy took more of a pounding than any quarterback I’ve ever seen and he can thank Mudd for this.  The offensive line coach never focused on improving and developing backups like Dallas Reynolds, King Dunlap and Dennis Kelly.

I’ve also noticed that Reid is slow to chastise his veteran coaches Mudd and Washburn.  The head coach respects the careers of these two veteran coaches and has let it affect the way he treats them.  Reid never had a problem chewing out an assistant coach during his time with the Birds, but for some reason he slower to verbally go after Mudd and Washburn.

I’m sure Reid now realizes he made a huge mistake in moving Castillo and talking Mudd out of retirement, but it’s much too late.

31 thoughts on “Andy Reid’s “Castillo and Mudd” Mistake Continues To Hurt HIm

  1. the best and most insightful article on this site in months! big red is a complex man and his loyalty has cost him with his job.
    so can we assume reid to san diego followed by juan on the o.line, ron rivera d.c? childress O.C?

  2. I think its also wierd that AR thought this offensive system would work. Indy had the least athletic but most cerebral QB, tall. Philly had a short, less cerebral, great athlete behind that line. it seems like a square peg in a round hole. Manning got rid of the ball in 2.5 or 3 seconds NEVER ran or scrambled….

  3. Great article G-Man with info/details that some of us unfortunately saw coming.. Mudd was not a good fit for this Eagles Scheme or type of OL that it had Drafted and groomed under the CAstillo years.. They were fortunate with Mathis
    who knew his system and real fortunate to get Center Kelce with a late round pick.. but long gone were the bigger, but still nimble OL of the Castillo era whose best attributes collectively were Pass-Protecting since the Eagles System passed 65% of the Time..
    I stated at the time that letting Winston Justice was a mistake since Herremans has had his share for foot/ankle problems over the last few Seasons and that Justice knew the System and was a very capable back-up and spot Starter, keeping in mind that Herremans could always slide inside at Guard in case an injury to Mathis/Watkins..
    When Hiring Mudd, the Eagles basically rid themselves of Players along the OL that had been with the Teeam for a few years (Jackson,Gibson,Cole,MJG,Justice,Howard) and I am not saying any of these were long-term Starters or All-Pro type of Players, but they did know Coach Ar & MM System well and at least battled with their blocking during games where I see Bell,Dunlap,Kelley get blown up and they give up after the 1st initial move/contact..

  4. Good insight, except the beating Vick took is inherent in his game, failure to read blitz, too long in holding ball, and unable to transition in a collapsing pocket, see big Ben and nick foles

    Juan Castillo did a better job than Todd Bowles is currently doing, and way better than the offensive coordinator, if Reid was so loyal to Juan why did he scapegoat him, knife him in the back

  5. The online is young, inexperienced and as per G. Cobb, improperly coached, there are a lot of bad offensive lines out there, Vick’ s style of play compounds the problem, see how nick foles played under same offensive line, the future has arrived, get on board the big nick train

  6. @Gotta – you can’t talk to ignorant folks logically. No matter what, it all falls back to being Vick’s fault as per the clowns! Only time will tell if Foles is the real deal but we all know the O Line is ass regardless of the situation…Its pretty sickening how much peoples personal feelings to a man, translates to making excuses for obvious broken parts.

  7. Alright. So Juan put in alot of time. The Eagles offensive line still gave up alot of sacks when he was the coach. A lot of that has to do with Andy Reid’s predictable play calling.

    When the opposing defensive coordinator says that the only man who can keep McCoy under 100 yards is Andy Reid, then you know he does not have to game plan for the Eagles to run.

    It all goes back to Andy Reid. Not Mudd, Not Washburn, Not Castillio. I wrote and article on this site a few years ago, why Andy Reid would never win a SuperBowl in Philadelphia. He’s only gotten worst.

    He has run the Eagles like a college program. Getting rid of players after their senior year (age 30), and passing on teams like he was at BYU. There is too much money in the NFL to let one guy get away with something for too long. Reid never adapted. Pass. Pass. and Pass some more.

    It may be a passing league, but you still have to do a better job in mixing up your play calling and using one of the best backs in the league. Every QB has defecencies. If Vick has problems with the blitz then run more screens and draws. What happen to all the screens the Eagles use to run?

    Andy should have toughed it out with McDermott. Andy has not shown patience. Not in his personel moves or his play calling. Play action still works when you have run the ball enough to get players to bite. With Vick’s arm and Desean Jackson’s speed, as good as McCoy is, properly set up play action would work every single game.

    But it takes patience and intellegence.

    Reid has lost or never had either.

  8. Good stuff G, I was always telling people that I never heard Castillo talk X’s and O’s about defense ever, whether it was in interviews or after game press conferences. It was always something like “were going to work hard” mumbo jumbo. Reid sent this franchise back years with his coaching personnel moves. His coaching rep needs to be put on blast for what it truly is.

    So the bIrds have about 21 in cap room as of right now. The way the current roster stands now they will be about 18 million over the cap next year. The unused number from this year will carry over and pretty much make us about even, taking away the 18 million all by itself. Now we get to expected roster cuts…Cap savings if cut in offseason:
    Vick: 13.7 million
    Bell: 9.6
    Patterson: 4.064
    Jenkins: 4

    Now I suck at math (the reason why I go to law school) but I think thats about a possible 45 million in available cap. So there is some hope out there for Eagles fans. There will likely be some intriguing free agents out there that I would like us to go after. We also have to make a decision on DRC. Maclin has another year left on his deal. I don’t think he has much of an argument right now for a new deal based on the way his season has gone and his inability to stay on the field. I would look to trade him (i think you could get some real quality in draft picks for him since his is young and has solid potential still) if that meant Bowe or Mike Wallace was coming here.

    Possible free agents next year…
    Jake Long
    Andre Smith
    Clady (he is a beast, maybe the best OT based on his play this year, however i think he is the most likely to be resigned out of the group)

    Mike Wallace- dont think Steelears can afford to bring him back due to their cap issues
    Bowe- probably doesn’t want anything to do with KC and that offense anymore

    I think they look to the draft for safety and cornerback fixing…

  9. Coach AR compounded this original error by Firing Castillo back on the Bye Week..
    In the 3 Games SInce, the Eagles Defense has gotten worse, now Sunday versus the Cowboys, they did play better and were put behind the 8-Ball by the Special Teams and the Turnovers, but the Cowboys Offense has been struggling this Season to with OL Issues, lack of running the ball and Felix JOnes was breaking a lot of tackles that I saw and the D/Line while it brought more pressure, still can’t seal the deal.. They are are a step late it seems more times from not in making a play…

  10. The reason why the oline looks so bad this year is because they lost 4 of their 5 starters , Reid’s play calling and Vick holding on to the ball too long. Last year Mudd was a hero and a great coach and this year he’s a bum. It does add up and it’s just Gary’s opinion. Castillo may have worked hard but he was no more than average as a OLine coach and should have never been given the DC job. How many players did Castillo develop and why was Peters just average under his direction?

    1. I mostly agree with you except for 1…. this team with all its free agent acquisitions was built to win now… They were built to win in 2011 and win in 2012. Changing entire offenses line philosophy takes time. Mud was changing the kind of players we needed, we don’t have enough of his type of players, we need at least 1 more maybe 2 more drafts to get there.

    2. Peters was just average? Peters was All Pro back to back seasons in 2007 and 2008 under Castillo’s direction and was pro bowl 2007, 2008 and 2009 under Castillo as well……Average?..I love how people come on here and state false shit…it really upsets me because there are a lot of fans on this site that don’t know shit and are gullible as hell..

  11. The only problem is if the Eagles defense isn’t ranked at least #8 in the NFL 3 games from now (where they were with Castillo through the first six games) your theory of Castillo being an incompetent DC goes up in smoke. Taking into consideration that the first 6 games were the most difficult part of the schedule should definitely figure into that as well.

  12. Jason Peters is one of the Top #3 LT in the entire NFL (Which I have stated for
    over 2 years now), I would also argue that he is probably the best Run-Blocking LT in the NFL.. Yea He will jusmp off-sides once a game and get burned for a sack once in a while, but he’s a beast

  13. Butch 007,
    Peters was much better last year then 2009 -2010 under Castillio. Average was over stated. Peters was in Buffallo in 2007 and 2008. You really want to compare the record of Howard Mudd to Jaun Castillio ? Maybe you are one the fans that don’t know shit.

    1. @Dtime – Yea I know plenty son, mistakes happen Peters was pro bowl in 2009 and 2010 under Castillo regardless, so really how much of a jump did Mudd really make…how can you really determine that? Record? Doesn’t defense still have to play? doesn’t offense still have to make plays? how about special teams? you sound crazy talking about comparing records. you still dont know shit

  14. to Dtime,
    I think a lot of it has to do with Peters being more visible and used much better in 2011 since theye implemented the “Stretch Run” play that Mudd brought with him from the his Colts day.. It was very obvious that when Peters is moving out in Space, Defenders want no part of him as he attacks Defenders all the way down the field in which McCoy got huge runs all last season running behind him around that left side..
    Castillo/MM did not call this “Stretch Run” before Mudd Came so that’s not a knock on Peters, he just wasn’t used as effectively in 2009 & 2010 as he was last Season (2011)

  15. Extremely impressive article Gary. I am already researching information on a new coach. My choices are as follows:

    1. Head Coach/Offensive Line Quality – Dante Scarneccia (New England Asst Head Coach)

    2. Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator – Keith Butler (Pittsburgh Linebackers Coach)

    3.Assistant Defensive Coordinator/Mike Phair (Chicago Defensive Line Coach)

    4.Offensive Coordinator Aaron Kromer(New Orleans Offensive Quality Coach)

    5. Assistant Off. Coordinator/ QB Coach – Joe Lombardi (New Orleans QB Coach)

    Make Howie Roseman clean Toilets……..and the New General Manager is :

    General Manager – Bill Polian (Indianapolis)
    Assistant GM/Head of Pro/College Scouting – Ron Hughes(Pittsburgh)
    Vice President of Football Operations – Nick Casario (New England)

    It’s time for a New Philosophy, and better eye for talent. Out of respect for Andy Reid, I would offer him a consultant position with the organization, or just wish him the best. These are the best coaches out there to put us on the road to a future Super Bowl.

  16. Imo opinion the offensive line under Mudd wasnt good last season.took them a long time to learn his system at the begining of last season. They were good at run blocking,but not the pass,except Peters. In other words they have never been good.

    1. i have said this myself as well but really… who says he is one of the best? Prolly the same guy who said Bobby April is one of the best. We havent had a good Oline in a while.

  17. Only chance I see Clemenza is if Reid comes back for his final Conract Year (2013).. Mudd will retire after this Season regardless I believe or forced too..
    Castillo returning as OL is a very strong possibility and Castillo should not have been fired to begin with.. (Another Andy Reid poor Decision)

  18. To Frank22

    I am confused by your question.. Do you mean new signee OG Jake Scott..(played with the Colts a few years ago)
    When did I say Mathis knew Mudd’s System..

  19. Is Reid really a goner? Thats what common sense is telling anyone in the general population of Eagle followers on what should happen but will it happen? I mean the general population of Eagles fans knew we should of drafted Earl Thomas when we were on the clock but Lurie has showed then and on many other occasions he likes to do the opposite of what is right.

    Just saying, That douchebag said he would consider keeping Reid in a bad season if certain circumstances occurred like injuries. Well our line is fucked up and Reid also has had to deal with serious personal circumstances.

    IMO, I’ve wanted Reid gone for years so what happened this season doesn’t change my opinion one bit. Just saying, Im having horrible thoughts that Reid will be back in some way next year. I don’t know what I would fucking do with myself if that happened. Seriously, they would need to put nets underneath all the major Philly bridges if that were to be the case.

    Schiller and Navy would be the only fans at the games.

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