The Eagles announced Tuesday that they have dismissed defensive coordinator Juan Castillo from his duties and named secondary coach Todd Bowles as his replacement. It feel like the act of a desperate head coach.
"I want to make it clear that I have nothing but the ultimate respect for Juan Castillo as a coach and as a person," Reid said in a statement released by the Eagles. "He's one of the finest football coaches that I have ever worked with. He has served this organization extremely well for 18 years, and letting him go was a difficult decision. I know he will continue to be a successful coach in this league and wish he and his family nothing but the best.
"We're six games into the season, and average isn't good enough. I know the potential of our team and insist on maximizing it."
It's a remarkable move because Castillo's defense has been better than Reid's offense. The Eagles have given up 20.8 points per game this season, good for 13th in the NFL. Reid's offense is 31st in points and 31st in turnovers. Philadelphia's loss Sunday to the Detroit Lions was followed by some mildly critical comments from cornerback Nnamdi Asmoguha, in which he accused Castillo of abandoning the team's coverage scheme and relying on blitz packages during the Lions' fourth-quarter comeback.
Reid defended Castillo's schemes at his Monday news conference, then fired his longtime friend the next day. The Eagles' defense has a ton of talent and perhaps slightly has underachieved, but we don't think Reid would make this change unless he had such a promising option in Bowles.
The interim head coach in Miami last year, Bowles has long been seen as one of the rising defensive minds in the NFL. Reid knows he has to make the playoffs this year or he'll lose his job, so there's no time for loyalty heading into a bye week.
It's every man for himself in Philadelphia. Playoffs or bust. The pressure already has claimed its first victim.Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.