October 17, 2012

Juan and done.

Twenty months ago, I spoke out in favor of Juan Castillo.

"Embrace the insanity of it all," I said. My hope was that promoting your offensive line coach to defensive coordinator would, at the very least, lead to some kind of entertaining disaster. Like an outrageous Nic Cage movie.

It was, of course, anything but. The Philadelphia Eagles are a boring 11-11 in their last 22 games, and Castillo was fired on Tuesday.

Juan wasn't a mess. His defense was 12th in yards per game allowed in 2012, eighth in 2011. Seven interceptions this year, four forced fumbles. Not showing off, not falling behind.

But when Andy Reid needed a fall guy, it was Juan. He was the only one who could go; as Dan Graziano of ESPN.com noted, there's no immediate replacement on staff for embattled offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.

Todd Bowles, on the other hand, is a suspiciously reasonable choice to take over the defense. Whether Andy knew this offseason that a change would have to come or not, he certainly gave himself a contingency plan.

And it probably won't matter. The Eagles' offense is averaging 17.2 points per game, 31st in the NFL; no defense in history is going to make up for that. If the depleted offensive line doesn't magically get better at football fast, the guy in charge of the other side of the ball will be an afterthought.

It's a desperation move, and everyone knows it. And Reid should be desperate; with five NFC East games, the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints (in New Orleans, of course) still on the schedule, there's no guarantee his team will get the 10 wins (probably) necessary to clinch a playoff berth.

Anything less and it's goodbye Andy, goodbye Michael Vick, goodbye Jim Washburn and Howard Mudd and anyone else who can be jettisoned quickly and painlessly. Reid won't bench Vick, not yet, so he played the only card he had left. Kudos to him for at least recognizing the situation; as an Eagles fan, I hope it works out.

After seeing Sunday's meltdown and the circus that followed, however, I have my doubts.

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