Al Thompson
“There were a lot of good coaches there, but we didn’t win the Super Bowl.” Juan Castillo talking about his days as an Eagles coach. Photo by Contrast Photography

NEW ORLEANS: Appointing Juan Castillo as his Defensive Coordinator was, at the time,
generally considered the worst mistake Andy Reid made during his 14-year tenure and contributed mightily to the demise of the long-time Eagles head coach.

Time has a way of straightening things out.


Castillo had been with the Eagles since 1995 as an assistant coach on offense, making his biggest impact as offensive line coach from 1998 until moving to coordinator on the other side of the ball before the 2011 season.


After an 8-8 record in 2011 and a three-game losing streak in 2012 after starting the season 3-1, Castillo was fired on October 16th.    


But after Eagles fans saw the Birds defense get worse under Todd Bowles, the defensive backs coach who replaced Castillo, and started to hear the stories emerge about
defensive line coach Jim Washburn as a polarizing figure with the other coaches that affected play on the field, Castillo’s image on talk radio, message boards and at corner saloons throughout the Delaware Valley started to change from that as an overmatched coach, a fish out of water, to a coordinator who was used as a scapegoat for a football franchise that was broken in every way a team can be broken.


Castillo was out of work for a while but landed a few weeks ago on his feet in Baltimore, where is listed as a “special consultant” with a formal title as a Ravens offensive assistant coach coming after the season, which ironically and poetically has ended with an appearance in the Super Bowl.


It was originally reported that Castillo was headed to Kansas City to join Reid’s staff. It was widely assumed this was Reid making amends to a friend who he felt he had to fire to save his job.


Castillo said the accounts of him going to the Chiefs were true…as well as the
assumptions for the offer from Reid.


“Coach (Reid) told everybody that he offered me a job,” Castillo said at Wednesday’s
Media Day at the Ravens hotel. “I think he told everybody he offered me Assistant Head coaching job, run coordinator…and it was true, he did offer me a job. But I think I love Coach and I respect Coach…but if I went there, there were going to be questions. So I think it’s better for me to (turn it down). It hurt, I want to go back some day (with Reid), you never know. But I thought it was a good time to get away.


“I had a lot of opportunities too,” Castillo continued. “So I thought it was a good idea to go after those opportunities and be apart. We had been together for a long


Castillo said he did not revel in the failures and firing of Bowles and Washburn, but he was glad to hear Eagles fans are finally getting a clearer picture of what was really going on behind the scenes.


“That is very important to me, because I love the Philly fans,” Castillo said. “I love the way they always embraced me as the offensive line coach. I really felt like I was part of Philadelphia…the work ethic. That’s the way Philadelphia people are. They work hard. That is what I was all about.”


It is obvious Castillo still feels a little frustrated about the perceptions of him
as both the offensive line coach and as a defensive coordinator. He talked about how his defense came together in the second half of the 2011 season and statistics his unit put up in 2011 and at the beginning of 2012.


“At the point I was released we were top five in Red Zone defense, top five in third
downs, we were allowing only 52 percent completion percentages…No. 1 in the NFL…all those little things we were good at,” Castillo recalled.


Castillo said he has heard from many players from his defensive unit, all positions
including defensive linemen, and Castillo said they all told him he got a raw deal.


Castillo said he may never get over the perception that once an offensive coach in the NFL, always and offensive coach in the NFL.


He also said the group of Eagles coaches who he had success with had run out of time to do something great together.


“There were a lot of good coaches there,” Castillo said. “We didn’t win the Super Bowl. I know it hurt the fans but it hurt the coaches just as bad if not more. That is was legacies are built on.”







30 Jan 13 - Football, NFL, Ravens - Al Thompson - No Comments