Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Eagles Name Juan Castillo To Defensive Coordinator Position


In an amazing announcement the Philadelphia Eagles have named offensive line coach Juan Castillo as their new defensive coordinator and also named Howard Mudd their new offensive line coach.. It’s a stunning development because Eagles head coach Andy Reid had been interviewing candidates from around the league.

It doesn’t cast a good light on the Eagles and the plan they had put in place to find a new defensive coordinator. They had been interviewing coaches from around the league and were supposedly waiting until the Super Bowl was played to interview coaches who were coaching in the game.

This puts a lot of pressure in Castillo to do the job. If he gets off to a rocky start, the Eagles will get blasted and so will he. He’s got to hit the ground running the defense must play well from the outset. There’s no time for learning on the job. To say the least, this is a tough spot for Castillo.

I have no idea how Reid was able to sign Howard Mudd as the new offensive line coach, but it’s great news. Of course, Mudd was the long-time offensive line coach for that high-powered Indianapolis Colts offense.

He’s highly respected throughout the NFL and regarded as one of the best offensive line coaches in the league.

Castillo had been an Eagles assistant under Ray Rhodes. He continued under Andy Reid and had established himself as one of the best offensive line coaches in the NFL. He’s been an Eagles assistant for 13 years. Now Reid has decided to make him the defensive coordinator after interviewing and talking a number of defensive back coaches around the league.

The long-time offensive line coach has a defensive background because he played linebacker in college at Texas A&I Kingsville. He had played in the USFL for two years for the San Antionio Gunslingers.

His name had come up for the Cleveland offensive coordinator position, but nothing ever happened.
He is known as a tireless worker who never stops studying and coaching. I think he has a good chance of success at the position because he knows the offensive side of the ball so well. Castillo’s knowledge of the Eagles offensive blocking schemes and blitz pickups is second to none.

Remember Jim Johnson was a tight end during his career and was able to develop into being a tremendous defensive coach because of his knowledge of offenses. I’m not saying Castillo is going to be a good coach, but I think he has the chance to develop into one. The toughest part of this hiring is that Castillo has no time to learn on the job.

I think that knowledge of the offensive side of the ball will give him a big advantage when he’s putting together blitz packages. I’ve always felt that teams should let their defensive players sit in offensive meetings and let their offensive players sit in defensive meetings.

I know that Castillo wanted to be a coordinator and I supposed he went into Reid’s office and sold him on the idea that he was the best candidate for the job. He likely made the argument that he knows defenses as well as he knows offenses because he had to study the defenses to know how to pick up the blitzes and how to block different fronts in the passing and running games.

It’s going to be important that Reid hires a quality secondary coach because I’m not so sure about Castillo’s mastery of the passing game. They must have one of these secondary coaches in mind. That secondary coach they hire must have some experience and be able to properly advise Castillo on the passing game.

As for Mudd, he had coached for Colts for years, but he had been contemplating retiring for a while. He retired from the game after the Colts loss to the New Orleans Saints in the 2010 Super Bowl. From what I understand he spent some time with the Saints during the off season. Obviously, he must have realized that he hadn’t gotten all the football out of his system.

I see a huge advantage in hiring Mudd. He’s very knowledgeable in the blocking of blitzes and getting pre-snap reads on defenses. Mudd had a hand in developing the system they have in Indianapolis, so he could be a tremendous benefit to Michael Vick, Reid and Marty Mornhinweg in putting together a hot read and blitz pick system here in Philadelphia.

I think Castillo has a chance to be a very good defensive coordinator, if he’s given the proper support in the passing game, but the addition of Mudd might be an even better development.

The Eagles offense had been explosive and nearly unstoppable during the first half of the season, but once teams started blitzing Vick, the offense bogged down. There is nobody in the league that gets better pre-snap reads than Manning and the Colts. If Vick can master that art of getting pre-snap reads to a level any where near Manning, the Eagles offense would be scary to opposing defenses.

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