2011 NFL Offseason: The Philadelphia Eagles' Unprecedented Decision

Haran KnightCorrespondent IFebruary 3, 2011

PHILADELPHIA - 2008:  Juan Castillo of the Philadelphia Eagles poses for his 2008 NFL headshot at photo day in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Getty Images)
Getty Images/Getty Images

We’ve been down this road before. 

In 2009, during the Philadelphia Eagles' first preseason game, there was breaking news that Michael Vick, recently released from prison, would sign with the Eagles.

In 2010, Easter dinners were interrupted by the announcement that Donovan McNabb had been traded to the Washington Redskins.  Head coach Andy Reid loved McNabb so much that if he had to trade him, he wanted to be sure that he’d able to see him twice a year.

Here we are, now, in 2011.  In the middle of Super Bowl Week, something the Eagles have experienced once during Reid’s 12 years as head coach and twice in their 45-year existence, the Eagles announced that offensive line coach Juan Castillo will be their new defensive coordinator.

The Philadelphia Eagles' fans are a very emotional group, and I’m proud to be one of them.  When I received the text with this news, I just shook my head and said, “Here they go again."

Fan skepticism is bound to be great when an unprecedented move like this is made.  While the national media continued to focus on what looks to be a very exciting Super Bowl, the Delaware Valley focused on last night's press conference, Reid’s first since the day after his Wild Card Weekend loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Of course, the social network/blog world was filled with Eagle fans using three-letter acronyms such as LOL, SMH and others I’d rather not endorse. 

My initial reaction was this: How do you entrust an entire defense to an offensive line coach whose unit was close to the league-lead in sacks allowed?

Then, I looked at Castillo's history.  Before his tenure as an offensive assistant, Castillo played linebacker and was Texas A&M’s defensive line/linebackers coach in the early 1980s. 

While he took the job as offensive line coach seriously, he claims to be a defensive guy at heart.

While I’m still not a huge fan of this move, I’m not as negative about it as I originally was.  The other candidates the Eagles interviewed were all defensive-back coaches who, like Castillo, never coordinated an entire defense.  I believe Reid wanted someone whose strength is up front, on the line. 

The one other guy Reid probably wanted, Mike Trgovac, reiterated that he’s not ready to leave Green Bay.  That likely left Castillo as the one guy left that Reid trusted. 

Remember: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Reid stated that this is a game of risks, and mentioned the risk Mike Holmgren took, switching him from coaching the O-line to coaching quarterbacks.  He talked about Jeff Lurie hiring a QB coach as his new head coach, something that wasn’t done before.

The difference, though, is this: Holmgren was fresh off a Super Bowl win and Lurie is his own boss.  Neither of their jobs were in jeopardy with the moves they made.

The Philadelphia Eagles have earned a reputation of making bold, unpopular decisions. Drafting McNabb over Ricky Williams; letting Brian Dawkins leave via free agency; signing Vick.  These moves turned out to be the correct ones. 

Let’s hope this last one continues that trend and possibly is a step towards an addition to that “air-filled” trophy case at the NovaCare complex.  That way, the entire nation will be talking about the Eagles during Super Bowl week.