What They’re Saying About the Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy ReidHere’s a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Eagles this week.

Dan Graziano of ESPN.com says Andy Reid’s decision to fire Juan Castillo shows the head coach’s desperation:

This is about Reid saying to his team and his owner and to Eagles fans that he’s not sitting on his hands — that making this season a success remains as desperately important to him as it is to them. Bowles is a ready and capable replacement, something they likely don’t have on the offensive side, so firing Castillo is easier midseason than it would be to fire Mornhinweg. Castillo’s an easy scapegoat, too, since no one but Reid and (maybe) Castillo believed he was right for the job in the first place. Maybe this wakes up the offensive line, many of whom were taught how to play by Castillo. Maybe it snaps turnover-prone quarterback Michael Vick to attention, knowing he could be gone after this season very easily if he doesn’t get his game together. The Eagles had a ready-made fall guy, and the wake of a 10-point collapse in the final five minutes at home was an opportunity to use him to let everybody know that no one is safe.

The Eagles dropped to 13th in ESPN.com’s power rankings. Writes Graziano:

The loss that got Juan Castillo fired drops the Eagles only two spots in the rankings. Me, I dropped them from No. 9 to No. 10, mainly because I didn’t have a team other than the Broncos I felt deserved to jump them. But I have them ranked higher than everyone else does, and I’m not as high on teams like the Seahawks (only good at home) and Vikings as other voters are. Might be nearing time for a midseason re-evaluation, and I admit my Eagles ranking may still be relying more on what I think they’re capable of than what they have accomplished so far this season, but that’s where I am with it.

Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com writes that Michael Vick played a role in Castillo being fired:

Vick is the biggest reason why Castillo was fired. The Eagles defense has been good this year, albeit not great. It’s certainly carried the offense overall. Andy Reid’s offense is 31st in the league in points and turnovers. Philadelphia’s last two possessions Sunday were three-and-outs. In overtime, the offense went 21 yards backwards. They had three turnovers overall. Vick and Reid have been the problems.

Paul Domowitch of the Daily News caught up with Jeffrey Lurie and asked him if he had reservations when Reid first hired Castillo.

“Yes I did,” Lurie said. “But I let Andy make that call. I respected his decision. He felt it was the best thing to do at the time, and I don’t interfere in that area.”

Elliot Harrison of NFL.com has the Eagles 14th in his power rankings:

So defensive coordinator Juan Castillo loses his job, which is essentially a “The defense is why we’ve been .500 for the better of two years” move. Or it’s a knee-jerk, “Your defense blew back-to-back late-game leads and we’re 3-3” move. Cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was clandestinely critical of a change in tactics late in the Detroit loss. And everyone knows that the Castillo hiring was never a popular move — due to his former role on the other side of the ball as an offensive line coach. OK, that’s all real cool stuff, but this just in: That defense ranks 13th in the NFL in points allowed, while the offense is 31st ( 31st!) in points scored. Not quite the discrepancy you were anticipating, huh? Does Michael Vick (13 turnovers) lose his job, too? Oh, and who hired Castillo in the first place?

Mike Freeman of CBSSports.com heard from one executive who ripped Reid:

The end in Philadelphia might not be very pretty. At all. Andy Reid has basically been told win this year, or else. As a response, Reid is getting desperate. He fired his defensive coordinator, Juan Castillo. Now, Castillo hasn’t been very good at times and some Eagles players have publicly questioned his play calling, but this move nonetheless appears desperate. Not to mention Castillo is a convenient scapegoat for Mike Vick’s fumbles. That’s the impression floating around football, and not from a few people, either.

“So begins Andy Reid throwing people overboard to save his own ass,” one team executive said.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has the Eagles 14th:

Just when you think they take a step forward, they take two back. Losing to the Lions should not happen.

Alex Marvez of FoxSports.com places Reid atop his list of coaches on the hot seat:

Reid’s firing of defensive coordinator Juan Castillo reeks of desperation. It also reflects poorly on Reid. He was the one who so adamantly insisted that Castillo could make a successful transition from handling Philadelphia’s offensive line — and being quite good at it — after having not coached on the defensive side of the football since the mid-1980s or possessing coordinator experience outside of his days at Kingsville (Texas) High School.

Brian Billick of FoxSports.com has the Eagles 15th:

The Eagles failed to record a sack in their third straight game and their offensive possession in overtime was embarrassing. If anyone can get this fixed during the bye week, it’s Andy Reid. But it needs to be a drastically different on-field product come Week 8.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has the Eagles 14th:

Firing Juan Castillo for being a bad defensive coordinator is like firing a race car driver for being a bad airplane pilot.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.