Andy Reid pushed all his chips to the middle of the table when he decided to make his offensive line coach, Juan Castillo, his new defensive coordinator. It was a very unorthodox move and it increases the pressure on Reid and Castillo to have success immediately.
Like his decision a year ago, to bench Kevin Kolb and make Michael Vick his starting quarterback, Reid has doubled-down on his bet to prove that he knows what he’s doing and he can win it all for this hungry Philadelphia fan base.
Reid’s reputation as one of the better head coaches in the league is on the line. Nobody is going to want to talk to Castillo if he struggles. They are going to want to talk to Reid.
This move came out of leftfield and stunned Eagles fans and NFL fans throughout the nation. Like Vick Castillo must win over the fans the first time his defense goes onto the field and he might not have an off-season with which to work with them.
There’s no other way to say it. This is a huge gamble by Reid and it’s huge gamble by Castillo. I know the long-time Eagles offensive coordinator wanted to be a coordinator, but his decision to become a defensive coordinator puts his reputation on the line. If he had become an offensive coordinator, he would have bought himself some time to master the coordinator’s position because the success he had as an offensive line coach.
That’s not the case with him taking a defensive coordinator’s job. If he doesn’t have a great year in 2011, he could wind up in no man’s land. He’s got to know when to blitz and when not to do so. Castillo must be on top of the substitutions and when to go with nickel and dime. He said he hasn’t decided yet what they Birds need to do in the red zone, but he’s going to study it and figure out what to do.
He’ll have no room for error in getting the defensive calls in there. There can be no mistakes in making the defensive calls because Reid could have hired somebody with some experience.
I heard Michael Lombardi of NFL Network say he had never seen this type of move made in his 25 years working in and around the NFL.
Personally, I think Castillo’s background as an offensive line coach will serve him well as a defensive coordinator, but it could take time and Castillo doesn’t have time. He’s going to be under the spotlight immediately. He can’t stumble in the first year and not expect Eagles fans to attack.
This move makes the Eagles search for a defensive coordinator look like a joke. I have been asking a question for a while now of whether the Eagles knew what they were doing in the defensive coordinator search.
I think it’s very clear what the answer to that question is. No, they didn’t have a clear plan of replacing their defensive coordinator. Reid says he was looking for somebody to replace Castillo on the offensive line all this time. It just doesn’t fit.
If Castillo was the guy all along, why did he wait until the day before the decision was made to interview him. It seems that Reid and the Eagles were left without a good candidate so they’re asking Castillo to save them.
I do think he has a chance of being a good defensive coordinator. I’ve always thought that defensive players could improve it they were allowed to learn what offensive teams were trying to accomplish on each play.