Eagles fire defensive coordinator Castillo, promote Bowles

The SportsXchange

The Philadelphia Eagles are making a change at defensive coordinator, parting six games into the season with Juan Castillo, who has been under fire for most of the past two seasons.

Todd Bowles was named defensive coordinator by coach Andy Reid on Tuesday.

"I want to make it clear that I have nothing but the ultimate respect for Juan Castillo as a coach and as a person. He's one of the finest football coaches that I have ever worked with. He has served this organization extremely well for 18 years and letting him go was a difficult decision. I know he will continue to be a successful coach in this league and wish he and his family nothing but the best.

"We're six games into the season and average isn't good enough. I know the potential of our team and insist on maximizing it."

Reid, at 3-3, did not yet address the play at quarterback of Michael Vick, who has been a turnover machine. However, he said he would continue to evaluate everything during the bye week.

Team president and owner Jeffrey Lurie said in August that 8-8 would not be enough for Reid to keep his job. He's the longest-tenured coach in the NFL.

The Eagles were gouged against the run in 2011, using a "wide-nine" alignment that positions defensive ends a full step wide of the outside shoulder of each offensive tackle. That exposed Philadelphia against the run, and the lack of a linebacker presence and safety issues up the middle were problematic.

This season, the Eagles are holding up against the run and are getting pressure, but not sacks, and recently went a span of more than 11 quarters without a sack. Philadelphia is 30th in the NFL in sacks with seven.

Castillo was named defensive coordinator before the 2011 season but was highly criticized as the Eagles' defense lagged despite a slew of offseason acquisitions, including Pro Bowl-caliber players in defensive end Jason Babin, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha and defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins.

Castillo worked for most of the first 16 years he spent with the organization working with the offensive linemen. Reid fired defensive coordinator Sean McDermott in January 2011 and named Castillo to replace him. The Eagles interviewed other experienced coordinators, including Dick Jauron, at the time and passed on the chance to hire Steve Spagnuolo at the end of the 2011 season. Spagnuolo, who was fired as head coach of the Rams, wound up in New Orleans. He previously worked under Reid and late coordinator Jim Johnson as linebackers coach and left to become defensive coordinator of the New York Giants.

Sunday's loss to the Eagles in overtime in which Philadelphia blew a 10-point lead in the middle of the fourth quarter, was the breaking point.

The Eagles usually rely on just a four-man rush to get pressure on the quarterback, but late in Sunday's loss to the Lions, Castillo decided to start blitzing.

It wasn't very effective, and cornerback Asomugha said publicly he felt it was a mistake.

"They were able to find the matchups that they wanted (when we blitzed)," Asomugha said. "We were playing one-on-one coverage, and they started going after the best matchup for them. They were able to do that effectively. So, you can say we should blitz more, but we did that, and it didn't help us in the end."
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