“I want to make it clear that I have nothing but the ultimate respect for Juan Castillo as a coach and as a person,” Andy Reid said in a statement. “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.”
The moves come on the heels of the defense blowing a fourth-quarter lead Sunday to the Lions. It was the sixth time in the last two seasons that the Eagles have entered the fourth quarter with a lead only to lose it. The defense has allowed 77 points in those defeats.
Reid shocked everyone before the 2011 season when he announced that Castillo would be moved from offensive line coach to defensive coordinator. Bowles was added as the team’s secondary coach this offseason.
Through six games, the Eagles’ defense ranks 12th in yards per game and 13th in scoring defense (20.8 PPG). Last year, they finished 10th in scoring defense (20.5 PPG) and eighth in yards.
While this unit has certainly improved since 2011, the Eagles allowed Larry Fitzgerald to light them up in a 27-6 loss to the Cardinals. And after limiting the Lions to two field goals through three quarters Sunday, the Eagles gave up 20 points in fourth quarter and overtime.
Eagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha questioned Castillo after the loss.
All along, there’s been a question about what Castillo’s role was. Jim Washburn handles the defensive line by himself. And this year, it seemed that Bowles was in charge of the secondary. Castillo appeared to be responsible for overall management of the defense and game-day calls.
Asked Monday if Castillo would continue to make the game-day calls, Reid said, “That’s the way I’m looking at it right now. That’s the way I’m looking at it as I stand right here.”
Castillo served as the team’s offensive line coach from 1998 to 2010. Before that, he spent a season with the tight ends and another season as an offensive assistant. In all, he was with the organization for 17-plus seasons.
Bowles, meanwhile, served as the interim head coach with the Dolphins last year. He was Miami’s assistant head coach/secondary coach from 2008 to 2011. Bowles’ previous stops included the Jets, Cowboys and Browns. He played eight seasons in the NFL and served as defensive coordinator in the college ranks at Morehead State and Grambling State.
Despite the breakdowns against the Lions and Cardinals, the secondary has improved this year. The Eagles lead the league in opponents’ completion percentage (52.7) and are tied for second in yards per attempt (6.2).
Bowles has his work cut out for him right away as the defense faces Matt Ryan and the undefeated Falcons off the bye. The Eagles then travel to New Orleans to take on Drew Brees and the Saints.
Reid will address the media at noon. We’ll have it covered right here.
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