On The Juan Castillo-Todd Bowles Dynamic

Juan Castillo and Todd Bowles sat just a few feet from one another under the field-side tent Tuesday, one entertaining questions about the other during a media session with reporters.

It is easy to paint a picture where Bowles’ shadow creeps into Castillo’s personal space. He is the rising star, after all, the man coming off several head coaching interviews after taking over the Dolphins down the stretch of the 2011 season. The Temple alum was a defensive back  in the NFL for eight seasons, and has been coaching that side of the ball in the bigs since 2000. You get the sense that it is about his time.

We all know Castillo’s story and the tale of the lost season, where the defense had to put together  a late push just to finish 29th in red zone success. There was a whole lot of learning on the job, and it cost them. Things improved down the stretch and the defense vaulted to eighth overall statistically. But if this team stumbles out of the gate, won’t this fan base be calling immediately for a changing of the guard?

“It’s not just Philadelphia,” said Bowles with a laugh. “I think that’s sports in general – two bad games and they’ll get on anybody.”

Bowles has a relaxed way about him. He took on all the questions with a disarming grin, and didn’t seem the least bit concerned about the dynamic between he and his embattled defensive coordinator.

“I don’t think that’s a problem at all,” said Bowles. “Him asking me for advice is no different than asking [Mike] Caldwell, [Mike] Zordich or [Jim] Washburn. You can make it all work together. If we have things to talk about as a coaching staff we do it together in the meeting room, and at the end of the day he makes the calls.”

You have to wonder, with the loose footing that comes with a turbulent campaign, just how comfortable Castillo is with the current structure. The Eagles had eyes for Steve Spagnuolo, who chose the Saints instead. If he hadn’t, where would that have left the former offensive line coach? And now, he’s sharing a meeting room with one of the bright young defensive names in the game.

With established vets  like Bowles and Washburn inside the cage with him, does it take some pride-swallowing to make it work?

“Remember now, it’s about coaching,” Castillo replied. “This is my 18th season coaching in the NFL. Coaching is coaching, remember that. If you look at all the good staffs, if you look at the 49ers staff, if you look at the Packers staff, they have experienced guys…You want it to be as strong as possible.

“The key here is we all want to win. It’s our job, we’re all excited, and that’s the bottom line.”