Ten games, 60 minutes of game clock a pop. In that time he has to prove to owner Jeffrey Lurie that “substantial improvement” has been made, and that he at the very least has his first Lombardi surrounded. At the current rate, the 2012 club will end just like last year’s bunch did — at .500. Lurie has already deemed that outcome unacceptable. A playoff appearance — and maybe a playoff run — seem necessary to re-establish job security. The Eagles will have to go 7-3 the rest of the way to put themselves in proper position for a playoff berth.
That is the reality Reid is operating in. It is a driving force behind his intensive bye week evaluation, one that has already resulted in the firing of longtime friend Juan Castillo in favor of Todd Bowles.
When asked what the Eagles’ defense needs to focus on going forward, new coordinator Todd Bowles did not hesitate.
“We’ve got to finish at the end of the games,” he said. “We’ve got to finish and win games. The bottom line is, when you’re out there on defense, it doesn’t matter what happens when you’re out there at the end of the game, you’ve got to finish.”
Before today, Todd Bowles was in charge of the Eagles’ secondary. Now, his job is to come up with a game-plan for the entire defense.
That includes finding a way to improve a pass-rush that has gone without a sack the last three games.
Juan Castillo was overcome with emotion Monday when asked to talk about his time in Philadelphia.
The former defensive coordinator, relieved of his duties this week in favor of Todd Bowles, talked to Vai Sikahema of NBC 10 on Tuesday. Sikahema asked Castillo what he will think about when he reflects on his career with the Eagles.
“The opportunity,” said a shaken Castillo, as heard on 97.5 The Fanatic. “And not taking advantage of the opportunity and making it happen for my family, for Coach Reid, for the city and for our guys. That’s what a warrior does. We talk about that all the time. There are no excuses, man. You get it done.”
During his press conference to officially announce the firing of Juan Castillo and promotion of Todd Bowles to defensive coordinator, Andy Reid said, “This is one of the moves and we’ll see where it goes from here.”
Jamar Chaney said the news trickled in through the media. Since it’s the bye week, there was no phone call placed or text sent from the team brass. Just a headline on SportsCenter announcing that Juan Castillo had been fired as defensive coordinator and had been replaced by Todd Bowles.
“I was shocked,” said Chaney. “Our defense was playing better than it was last year.
“We had some really good games – against the Browns, the Ravens and Giants. The Ravens and Giant are considered some of the best teams in the league.”
Owner Jeffrey Lurie put a number on it during his preseason address, confirming that another 8-8 year would not be enough for the head coach to stay.
That means the Eagles need to go at least 6-4 (possibly 7-3) for Reid to stay put.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think Reid is overly concerned with his job security. If Lurie does let him go, he’ll find a job elsewhere. But yesterday’s comments made Reid sound very much like a guy who is willing to do something drastic during the bye week to get his team on track.
The ever-even Reid rarely takes his criticisms to that level. This loss is clearly causing the head coach some extra irritation. Now starts a bye week where he will go back and evaluate and “tear things apart.” What changes will come of it? Reid left his options open.
While many of the Eagles defenders said after the game that they’d have to look at the film to figure out what exactly went wrong, Nnamdi Asomugha was more forthcoming. He told Tim and some other reporters that a couple things changed.
One, the defense switched up how it covered Calvin Johnson. For much of the game, Asomugha was on Johnson with safety help. And he did an excellent job. But in the fourth, the Eagles used Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on Johnson and also played some zone.
The other point Asomugha made was that the Eagles blitzed more late in the game, and it cost them. But was that really the case?
When Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie came up with the interception in the end zone early in the fourth quarter, he (against better judgment) declined to take a knee and instead looped to his left and up the sidelines before being forced out at the nine-yard line. The Pro-Bowl corner then made his way through the sea of leaping green and settled in near midfield.
All the while, Juan Castillo was tracking him.
Do the Eagles have to worry about the former QB stealing signs? Plus, a look at the team’s primary concern heading into Arizona.