By Josh Katzowitz
All along, it’s been pretty obvious that, whether Eagles coach Andy Reid kept his job (and it was always pretty clear he was going to do so), Juan Castillo would be out as defensive coordinator. After all, Philadelphia struggled for much of the season with its wide-nine scheme*, and there were rumblings that in order to keep his job, Reid would have to fire Castillo.
Reid denied it at the time, and it looks like he was telling the truth, because according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Castillo will remain as defensive coordinator.
The team also announced that former Dolphins interim coach Todd Bowles -- who was a head coaching candidate for the Raiders after leading Miami to a 2-1 record after the Tony Sparano firing -- will take over as the Eagles secondary coach.
*This is what happens when you hire an offensive line coach to be your defensive coordinator.
Clearly, this wasn't all Castillo's fault. The wide-nine scheme was Reid’s idea -- in fact, there was speculation that Reid hired Castillo for the defensive coordinator job because he couldn’t find a suitable DC who actually felt comfortable running that scheme -- and it took a while for Philadelphia’s personnel to make it work.
Add that with a flurry of offseason acquisitions -- including Jason Babin, Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie -- and you can begin to see that not all the defensive inefficiencies could be blamed on Castillo.
"We've just got to continue to work with it," Reid said in October after the Eagles started 1-4. “Listen, anything new you've got to work with and work out the wrinkles and get it right."
"Players, they have to learn it, coaches have to learn it, particularly the new coaches. So it's a joint effort there."
And actually, the Eagles played better defense than you think. According to Football Outsiders, they were the 12th-most efficient defensive unit in the league, and in yards and points allowed, they were a top-10 squad. In the final four games of the year -- all Philadelphia wins -- the Eagles allowed an average of 11.5 points per game.
So, obviously the defense did improve. Based on that, maybe it’s not surprising Castillo was retained in the first place.
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