If the Philadelphia Eagles lose in Week 6 against the Washington Redskins, would Andy Reid and the Eagles actually consider firing defensive coordinator Juan Castillo?
A Week 6 loss would put the Eagles at 1-5 and virtually no shot at the playoffs. In the current playoff format (since 1990), no team has ever made the playoffs after starting with a 1-5 record.
I’ve written quite a bit this past week about how player mistakes have been largely responsible for the Eagles’ losses this season. Mostly, the turnovers by the offense.
While I still believe that is true, the offense has still been playing well besides the fumbles and interceptions. The defense, on the other hand, has been a train wreck this year.
First, let’s just go over the stats for Juan Castillo’s unit and see where they rank:
Overall ranking (yards): 15th
Against the pass (yards): 7th
Against the rush (yards): 30th
Total points allowed: 27th
TD Passes allowed: 31st
Total take-aways: 29th (tied)
Red zone rank: 32nd
Those are some pretty bad stats right there.
Furthermore, dating back to last season, Paul Domowitch at Philly.com pointed out that opponents have scored on 51 consecutive trips into the Eagles’ red zone.
Again, that’s 51 times in a row that once a team breaches the Eagles’ 20 yard line, they walk away with a score. This season, opponents have scored 11 TDs in 14 trips into the red zone.
That’s a horrendous 78.57% success rate! So far, it’s even worse than last year’s 78.26% success rate.
Those numbers are completely unacceptable. We can mitigate the issue by attributing some of the failures to transitions in defensive coordinators, schemes and players.
However, at the end of the day, coaches pay the ultimate price when a team or a specific part of the team is not playing well. When the losses mount, the pressure builds and patience runs thin from those in charge.
The Eagles head into the bye week after Sunday’s game. If any change is going to occur, it will be during that time. If the Eagles lose against the Redskins and enter the bye at 1-5, there is a 50-50 chance that Castillo gets the axe.
There has already been a rumor, though it was shot down, that the Eagles contacted Eric Mangini about being a defensive consultant.
Last season, the Eagles brought in Dick Jauron to be a consultant to help then defensive coordinator Sean McDermott. That didn’t work out so well and didn’t produce any results.
One reason it didn’t work out could have been that, once the players saw Jauron come in, they lost faith in McDermott and stopped “buying in.” The same thing could happen this year if the Eagles do try to bring in a consultant to help Castillo.
There is already at least one player who might not be buying into the Eagles’ defensive scheme. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that one player, on the condition of anonymity, stated that “the wide nine needed to be scrapped and replaced by a more traditional front.”
If true, that represents a player that doesn’t believe in the current scheme of the defense. If there’s one person who doesn’t believe, there could certainly be others.
Bringing in a consultant is not the answer. The Eagles would need to either fire Castillo and hire someone else, or, just stick with Castillo and not undermine him by bringing a veteran coach.
The question is, would Andy Reid and the Eagles fire a coordinator during the season? And during his first season after only six games? Doesn’t seem like they’d be giving him much of a chance, right?
Plus, Andy Reid is the man who put Castillo in this position. It would reflect worse on Reid than on Castillo at this point.
However, Castillo is the guy who kept pressing Reid to give him a chance and now both of them look bad. It would be unfortunate for Castillo if he were to be fired after only six games. It would be a blemish on an otherwise impeccable coaching resume.
Some say that the letters NFL stand for “Not For Long”, so that could be the case for Castillo.
I’m not sure who would be a viable replacement for him at this juncture though. Certainly nobody in-house has the credentials for it and bringing in an outsider now would ultimately be futile (too little too late).
Their best bet is to just stick with Castillo and ride it out. Assess him at the end of the season and see if he did enough to earn a second year coaching the defense.
However, there will be tremendous pressure on Eagles management if they lose to the Redskins and the defense plays horribly again. The pressure could be great enough to cloud rational judgment and force them to make a move.
Of course, this could all be avoided if the Eagles can play well and beat the Redskins this week.