The Philadelphia Eagles announced today that they've promoted longtime offensive line coach Juan Castillo to defensive coordinator. To replace Castillo on the offensive line, they've coaxed the legendary Howard Mudd out of retirement. In his time with the Colts, Mudd was generally regarded as one of the leagues' best offensive line coaches. That said, the Mudd hire isn't what's going to be making headlines. The Eagles promotion of a guy that has coached offense for the past 21 years to run their defense is a bit of a head scratched.
Castillo has been coaching the Eagles offensive line for the past 14 years. He did play LB in college and in the USFL and has a few years coaching on the defensive at the college and high school level. Yes... high school. As Les Bowen pointed out, what makes this move really odd is that it wasn't made out of desperation. They brought in qualified candidates for interviews this week, there's a number of assistants in the Superbowl that have expressed interest in the job who would be more than qualified. This is a move they wanted to make. At 6:30 Andy Reid and Juan Castillo will hold a press conference and presumably Andy will explain why this is something he chose to do.
While everyone was scratching their heads, a few of Castillo's former co-workers and current head coaches Leslie Frasier & Ron Rivera spoke out in support of his promotion.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier: "I can remember Jim Johnson & our defensive staff putting our game plans together. We’d always get together with Juan just to make sure they were sound in terms of pressures and blitzes. Sometimes, I felt like he was on our defensive staff.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera: "I’m really excited about this news and very proud of Juan being named defensive coordinator of the Eagles. First of all, Juan is one of the smartest and most dynamic coaches in the NFL," Rivera said. "If anyone could cross over to the dark side (of defense), he’s the guy. Seriously, if anyone can do it, Juan Castillo is able to do it. I don’t know if I have seen anyone any more committed as a coach in this league than him. I was able to call on him so many times to understand how certain offenses worked and attacked.