Juan Gone

Posted: October 16th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 75 Comments »

I think we’d all agree that Vertical Limit is the Citizen Kane of brother-sister climbing K2 movies ever made.  I pretty much think Vertical Limit is a movie that answers most of life’s questions.  My favorite part, aside from the gorgeous Robin Tunney, is the extreme over-acting of Bill Paxton and Scott Glenn.

Glenn gives one good speech.  A group of climbers has to go to an extreme height to save another group of climbers.  Glenn is reluctant to go on the rescue mission.  One guy says to him that he needs Glenn’s help in order to save his sister, who is dying.

Glenn responds:  “Get your facts straight, Mr. Garrett.  Up there, you’re not dying.  You’re already dead.”

In other words…coming down from a situation like that isn’t to be expected.  It will take a lot of teamwork, skill, luck, and some incredible effort.  Even then, that may not be enough.

With a 3-3 record comprised of some ugly wins and 2 blown leads in a must-win season, Andy Reid may not be coaching to save his job.  He may have already lost it.  He’s got the final 10 games to win it back, but it will take a lot of teamwork, skill, luck, and some incredible effort.  Even then, that may not be enough.

Andy was told that mediocrity would not be acceptable.  3-3 is just that.  I’m not trying to paint the Eagles into some hole they can’t climb out of.  They’re a game out of the division lead.  3-3 is far from the end of the world.  

The point is that there is little to no margin for error.  Reid normally is a very patient guy.  He has never made a move like firing Juan Castillo in the middle of October.  We were all blown away when he made Michael Vick the QB back in 2010.  That wasn’t to punish Kevin Kolb.  It was done to reward Vick for 2 great games.

Over the years Reid has given players and coaches time to figure things out.  That generally worked well, but not always.  Reid can’t do that right now.  He needs quick results.  This doesn’t mean Andy will bench all young players.  He will stick with the players he believes in.  Same with the coaches.  Andy is almost using this simple question when looking at a situation, “What answer will help us win games and get to the playoffs?”

I think we know which way “Should I keep Juan Castillo?” went.  This isn’t to say Juan was a terrible coach.  The defense showed progress this year and posted solid numbers.  I’m sure the players get most of the credit.  Some certainly goes to Todd Bowles for the changes he made.  I do think Juan deserves credit as well.  I think Juan showed that he can coach on defense.  I think he showed that he’s not ready to be a good DC in the NFL right now, but he could be a position coach or run a defense at the college level.

The problem Juan had was in the 4th quarter.  Veteran offensive coaches were able to make adjustments and react to our defense.  Juan wasn’t able to adjust to the adjustments.  To use the old line, he was playing checkers and they were playing chess.

In the first 3 quarters of the 6 games, the Eagles defense allowed a total of 73 points this year.

In the 4th quarter/OT of the 6 games, the Eagles defense allowed 45 points this year.

Juan wasn’t some epic failure.  He wasn’t incompetent.  He simply wasn’t good enough for what the Eagles needed in 2012.

I’m glad he got a chance to coach defense.  I wish it wasn’t for the Eagles, but Juan’s dream was to get back on defense, which is what he knew from his early days.  He can lie down in his bed at age 87 and know that he gave it a shot.  There’s nothing worse than not knowing.

Don’t feel bad for Juan.  He begged Andy for years to give him a job working with the defense.  It would have made a lot more sense to make him the LBs coach and let him work his way up, but things unfolded in an odd way and he went straight to DC.  Juan knew when he accepted the job that he was making an unprecedented move.  He knew the risks involved.

It will be interesting to see if Juan pursues a defensive job next year or if he goes back to the OL.

* * * * *

A few of you have pointed out that Andy is to blame for making the hire in the first place.  Agreed.  There is no question about that.  Reid took a chance on a friend and did something unheard of.  It didn’t work.

I’ll never forget the day that I found out Juan got the job.  I was in disbelief.  The move made no sense at the time.  Still defies logic to this day.

* * * * *

Are there other changes coming?  If you listened to Reid’s PC or talk with Dave Spadaro afterward, he made it clear that things were fluid.  All options are on the table.

I still doubt that Reid will make a bunch of moves.  I think he is using this move to get everyone’s attention (hint, hint – Mike Vick).  Reid can’t wait for coaches or players to get out of a slump.  He needs them to play/coach to their potential right away.

More than a few people have wondered why you fire the guy running the best group on the team?  Right now it would go:

1. defense

2a.  special teams

2b.  offense

As I wrote earlier today, this is about having confidence in coaches to fix problems.  Reid knows that he, Marty, and Vick have produced dynamic results together.  Reid feels like the offense can be fixed by the people already in place.

STs was a major mess a few weeks back.  The return of Colt Anderson and Akeem Jordan has helped a lot.  Riley Cooper, too.  We are seeing progress on that front.

Defense had the least amount of problems to solve, but also needed to be the group carrying this team.  Not having Colt Anderson really hurt the STs.  Bobby April was also breaking in rookie returners.  We knew there would be issues.  The offense was minus Jason Peters and then Jason Kelce.  We knew there would be some issues.  The defense was healthy and stacked.  That group needed to play lights out.  Didn’t happen.

Don’t expect other coaching changes.  I know many are ready for Bobby April to be fired.  I know many are ready for Marty Mornhinweg to be sent to the backwoods of Delaware for eternity.  You’ll have to wait for the offseason to see anything with April.  Marty getting fired would go beyond shocking me.  I literally cannot imagine that happening.  He and Reid have known each other for decades.  Reid loves Marty’s kind of offense, even if we don’t.

I’ll write up a separate post on offensive changes and adjustments to make.

* * * * *

* Could Lurie have forced Andy to fire Castillo?  Possible.  I’m hesitant to buy that since Lurie already has Andy on an edict to win.  I sure can’t say it didn’t happen.

* What’s up with Howard Mudd and the OL?  This is worthy of a longer answer, but there has to be a symmetry between blocker, playcaller, QB, and skill players.  Vick holds the ball longer than any QB in the NFL.  That’s a fact.  It sure feels like Marty calls as many deep balls as any coach in the league.  Not sure if that can be proved.  This puts tremendous pressure on the OL to block longer.  Mudd and the OL need help from Marty and Mike.

* Great point from reader named Mcud.  Coordinators can be weapons.  Jim Johnson was feared.  When Marty is on his A-game, he can be a great OC.  Was Juan ever going to be in this category?  No.

* From Domo/another commenter…Field position hurt the offense.  They might not be 31st in scoring if more drives started at midfield or in plus territory due to a long return or turnover. There is truth in this.  The lack of takeaways hurt Castillo just like the sack total.

* This move wasn’t done to say the defense was the big problem.  It was done because the defense can be fixed and there is a coach in position to do it.  No Todd Bowles, probably no firing today.

* Will there be a change?  Do expect more blitzing.  Bowles coached under guys that like to attack.

* Were there any player issues?  Nnamdi was making some odd comments after the game, but I never heard of a serious disagreement or anything like that.  Possible.  If anything involving the players, I think it would be more about confusion than any anger over scheme.  We have had guys look lost in each game, although nothing like last year.

* * * * *

Take a break from reading about the Eagles and go check out MAQB.  Gimpy wrote a good column.  There’s several nuggets of interest.

Jimmy Bama and I will do  show on the Castillo firing, probably tonight.

We’ve got a ton of stuff to cover this week.  And there could be more moves on the way.

Stay tuned.

_


  • Jay

    Some random thoughts:
    I was thinking about our backup QB’s. AJ Feeley, Vick, Kolb,
    & Garcia.

    When Garcia took the reigns from the injured McNabb in 06,
    he played very well and led us to a 5-1 record if I’m not mistaken.

    When Vick took over in 2010, he also played very well except
    for the CHI and MIN game.

    When Kolb started in 09 for 2 games, he put up very good
    numbers and played relatively well.

    When AJ Feeley took over for the injured McNabb, he played
    well.

    People say this is a QB friendly system. I agree, but could
    it be more than that? Could it be that Andy Reid is an EXCELLENT at making
    adjustments/changing the offensive style/playcalling and accommodating to the
    QB’s strength? Maybe he’s just really good at finding ways to hide the QB’s
    deficiencies, and maximizing their strengths. Vick hasn’t played well last season
    and so far this season. The CHI 2010 game is when he started to play
    not-so-good. Maybe Vick is just not as good as we all thought and those 6 games
    or whatever it was in 2010 was simply a mirage. If Vick’s play really was a
    mirage and Reid is just a mad scientist who can hide flaws, then it would make
    sense…After several games of film for defenses to study it shouldn’t take that
    long for teams to start seeing and exposing what you’re trying to hide. Vick
    hasn’t able to consistently play good since that Chicago game. I hope you guys
    can see what I’m trying to say.

    When we picked up Bobby April, everyone said he was a top ST’s
    coach. Riiiiight…

    When we promoted Juan Castillo to DC, he compared his future
    defense to the Chicago Bears D (Tampa 2/Cover 2. Riiiiight…

    • D3Keith

      I’m not sure I see … but it does beg the question that if he’s so good at playing to a QBs strengths, rather than going with Foles, why can’t they just go back to what Vick was successful with, or cook up something new to play to Vick’s strengths.

      I think with Bowles leading the defense, the Eagles should try to get the ball out more quickly on offense, and commit to the run, even if it’s not sexy. If your QB can’t see a blitz coming out of the secondary, stop running routes that give safeties enough time to crush dude from behind.

      Give the OL and QB a fighting chance out there by putting them in position to succeed.

      • Jay

        Maybe teams have simply figured Vick out. You can only disguise your weaknesses for so long before teams can exploit it. I think Vick can be successful…But just with a running game and 3-5 step drops.

        It just amazes me how Garcia played really well and so did Vick in 2010. I think Reid’s just a genius at being able to accommodate to QBs but it can only work for so long.

  • Jay

    Offensive and Defensive thoughts:

    OFFENSIVELY SPEAKING:

    ·
    Don’t bench Vick YET. If he still isn’t playing
    well 2 games after the bye, then I’m all for benching him at that point.

    ·
    Install some I-Form plays into the base offense/base
    play-calling.

    ·
    Smarter play-calling. Reid and MM need to understand
    that Vick is just NOT the QB they thought they could mold him into being. Vick
    isn’t a QB that is successful when he has to throw the ball 30+ times a game.
    Vick NEEDS a running game! Give him more 3-5 step drops, play action, and WR
    screens. It’s common sense, running the ball/quick throws help negate pass
    rush.

    ·
    Do SOMETHING with the OL. If it’s not broke, don’t
    fix it. IF IT IS BROKE, PLEASE FIX IT! Whether you shake up the OL, or make a
    trade, they have to do something. Trade a high draft pick or one of the “star
    DE’s” on our team. It’s not like they’re getting any pressure anyways. If Andy
    basically controls the whole team and this really is a make-or-break season for
    him, why not use a 1st round pick in a trade for an OLMen?

    Herremans – Mathis – Vallos – Watkins – Kelly/Dunlap

    Herremans – Mathis – Reynolds – Kelly – Watkins

    First of all, I know what you’re going to say. Having a less than ideal
    RT to protect Vick’s blind side is NOT a good idea. I agree. But remember, we
    had WINSTON JUSTICE protect Vick for all of 2010. How much worst could it get?
    Also, if you want to start your precious Nick Foles, you probably want to move
    Herremans to the LT spot. He’s struggled at RT this year and maybe LT is more
    natural to him. This would also solidify one side of the offensive line. As it
    stands now, C, LT, and RG are terrible. If you move Herremans to the LT spot,
    only the right side would be the main problem. Couldn’t/wouldn’t it be easier
    to gameplan for protections when you mainly need to concern about one side of
    the line, not both? I think Dave Spadaro said in preseason that Kelly was
    getting reps at G and looked better there than at T.

    Watkins has been a huge disappointment in every aspect, so why not put
    him at RT? I know he was coming out of college as a T and being projected as a
    G but man, something’s gotta give.

    ·
    Run the ball more in the I-Form. Off tackle and
    between the tackle runs in the I.

    ·
    Incorporate Bryce Brown or even Chris Polk in
    the running game. Bryce hasn’t done much
    this year BUT most RBs need carries to get going…

    ·
    I don’t care who calls the Offensive plays but
    if MM is going to continue to call them, then he just HAS to change his
    offensive approach. Andy and MM need to accommodate to the offenses’ strength.

    DEFENSIVELY SPEAKING:

    ·
    First of all, had we won against the Lions, I
    don’t think Juan would be gone right now. Reid didn’t fire Juan because he was
    bad, but because Bowles is obviously the better man for the job and it would be
    stupid for him NOT to “play” the better man.

    ·
    You have to realize something though…Juan has
    had to deal with the offense turning the ball over repeatedly, leaving the
    defense in a terrible position. Juan has also had to deal with ZERO pass rush.
    Even when we would blitz, the blitz never gets home. It wasn’t all Juan but
    either way I’m happy he’s gone.

    ·
    Can we start using Mychal Kendricks as a
    defensive weapon? Maybe start blitzing him?

    ·
    The secondary and linebackers are fine in my opinion.

    ·
    The DL is simply not playing good. It could be
    the age. Cullen, Trent, and Jason are all 31 or older (with the exception of Trent,
    who is turning 30 soon). Trent Cole seems to be in late-season form. He usually
    wears down pretty bad late in the season and he looks like he’s already worn
    down. Cullen Jenkins has been a huge disappointment compared to last year’s
    play. I think it’s time for a change here. Activate Curry on gameday and bench
    Hunt. Phillip Hunt is 6’0 250. He’s a “fastball” and very undersized. His role
    on the team is to be a pass rusher…If he can’t do that, sit him. Whoever is
    playing the worst out of Babin and Cole, demote them and play Brandon Graham. Give
    Graham more rotational snaps than that player. I think Fletcher Cox is actually
    getting more snaps than Jenkins, but start Fletcher as well.

    ·
    The DL just needs to do the “cliché” thing and “beat”
    the guy in front of them. Play mad, play with more intensity. Play like the
    person across from you just slapped your mother. Do something PLEASE.

    • TheRogerPodacter

      regarding the defense and turnovers…
      i’d LOVE to see some numbers on this to get an idea of how badly the turnovers are affecting the defense (probably something more for a stats guy like Derek, though.)

      what is the average starting field position of opposing team’s drives? i saw somewhere that our avg starting field position is the 24 yard line. how badly are we losing the field position battle right from the start?

      how many points have been given up on the drive following our offense turning the ball over? the D held up pretty well against the lions from what i remember. i think they forced a quick punt after each one.

      just how many drives / defensive plays has our defense faced? is that an average number or is the large number of turnovers keeping our D on the field too much?

      how many plays is our average offensive drive? how many 3 and outs have we had?

    • P_P_K

      This is a terrific post. Regarding the O Line, I think it is broken due to injuries and the awful pick of Watkins. In 2011, we saw Dan picked in the 1st round and Juan made the DC. Two poor decisions that have caused resulted in huge problems over two seasons now.

      • RC5000

        Watkins is hardly the only problem. Not sure he’s even the biggest problem. No lineman is playing great but generally our offense has been good toward the end of the half and in the 3rd Q. We’ve scored in every game in the 3rd but 1 and we’ve only scored 1 TD (7 pts) in the 1st Q and that was a 15 yard drive after a turnover vs Ravens.
        We’ve outscored opponents 35-10 in the 3rd Q.
        The team’s biggest problem is the 1st quarter and Vick turning the ball over early in games. OL is part of it and so is the preparation
        Why do we play pretty well in the 2nd half and the middle of games? Because Vick wakes up because he knows his job is in jeopardy and he stops turning the ball over.
        Bell, Mathis and Reynolds are as bad as Watkins. They run much better to the right side. Then you have Vick turning the ball over after we’ve moved the ball early in games

        • P_P_K

          I agree with you about the other linemen. Completely. But only Dan was a 1st round draft pick. The guy was 27 years old with relatively limited football experience. Just as Dan is not the typical 1st round pick, so was Juan not the typical DC. Both of these decisions stink of Reid seemingly thinking he is so smart he can make radical choices that fly in the face of what most of consider intelligent football decisons.

  • eagles2zc

    “Juan gone, two to go”?

  • shah8

    Really? All I want to hear about is the offensive line. People are too spoiled by Vick. It was true when he was with the Falcons and it was true when he played for the Eagles. I’m just very sick of one-track mind whiners that makes every single thread about Vick. Especially when I’m reminded by the likes of Rivers and Schaub what it looks like when the team around them isn’t playing well. At the end of the day, Vick honestly had one bad game, and he played well in the last game. Is he turning it over an unconscionable amount? Yes. Ultimately, though, he has been playing to win games, and he is a quarterback who flat out can win a game for us. In a rational world, he’s not firable, and he functionally isn’t deserving of firing anyways. When one gives the elementary consideration of what happens when the OL actually gives him time, when he and the OC needs it, he looks better than fine.

    MM is also getting just far too much hate. Bottom line, an explosive offense isn’t explosive anymore because the OL isn’t up to anything like snuff. No ifs, ands, or buts, about it–perhaps we’d all be less stressed if we worried about that instead of Vick, Vick, Fire Andy!, Vick…

    • Zachary Kaplan

      You and I have a far different view of Vick. One bad game? ONE? You don’t produce 13 Turnovers in 6 games with one bad game.

      Maybe we define bad differently. Maybe you mean he’s had 5 awful games and 1 bad one. I’m not sure.

      But he was awful in Cleveland. He was awful in Arizona. He was bad in Pitt and he was bad in Detriot.

      I don’t see one bad game, I see 4 at a minimum.

      • shah8

        I am refering to Cleveland game as the bad game. Arizona was just so completely a cockup.

        Here’s the thing though, you keep wanting to talk about the turnovers. Nobody thinks that turnovers are unimportant. However, there are broader questions that need to be dealt with, and we shouldn’t use ALL OF THE OXYGEN for the turnovers.

        Moreover, both interceptions were predetermined deep passing play that didn’t have enough time for Vick to throw it with good mechanics. The botched snap is on…I’m better Reynolds. So many of the turnovers after Cleveland are plain luck and bad circumstances issues. It’s not remotely like when Eli Manning was having a terrible year in 2010 with the constant overthrows. Clean up the plays, clean up the turnovers. Even if you want to give it to Shady, you still have to clean up the play!

    • TheRogerPodacter

      i do agree that MM is getting a lot of hate, but i think at least some of it is warranted.
      its clear to just about everyone that the OL isnt up to snuff. so, i see two things we can do about this.
      1) fix the OL / get it up to snuff. bring in some new guys, do what you have to. sacrifice the future (draft picks) if that is what you want to do.
      2) adjust the offense as a whole to work with the OL as is. the goal is to hide what they can’t do and show off what they can do (well, what they can do *better*, anyway).

      personally, i think its its pretty unlikely that we bring in any new faces on the OL. but at this point *SOMETHING* has got to give. either vick’s performance shapes up, the playcalling changes, whatever. but this offense as it stands now, is not going to get the job done this year.

      • TheRogerPodacter

        ugh. i feel like i am turning into one of those fans that is screaming for everyone’s head after a loss. sigh…

      • D3Keith

        Yeah I agree that more of this is on Marty and AR than Vick. We’ve seen enough now to know better than to try to make players what they are not. We have become a team, to use a baseball analogy, that tries to hit home runs in every at-bat when you can win hitting singles and pitching well/playing good defense.

        Right now, the Eagles are killing Vick as much as he’s
        killing them by not tailoring their offense to what their players are
        actually good at. They are still trying to beat people by going deep and
        running 15-20-yard combo routes when their line can’t protect and their
        QB doesn’t recognize delayed backside safety blitzes.

        If they
        commit to running the ball and getting the passes out more quickly in a
        true West Coast style, which is possible they’ll do after examining
        their first six games during the bye, then they can become ball control,
        limit turnovers and let the defense win games. They have enough talent
        on that offense to play just about any style but they insist on trying
        to be the Saints when they don’t have Drew Brees back there.

        Todd
        Bowles will get all the credit for “fixing the D” if they rebound, but
        they could help him a lot by having a less-turnover-prone offense.

        • RC5000

          Re: getting the passes out more quickly in a
          true West Coast style
          That would be great. Foles is suited for it but our expectation levels are too high right now and the line isn’t where it needs to be.
          Sigh. I don’t think they’ve found the answer to how to use Vick. We’re always trying to pound a square peg. Our biggest problem is Vick doesn’t fit the offense, he’s short and our receivers are ultimately deeper receivers. We keep trying to run different basic formations.
          We want to run the ball conventionally (how long can we just go to delayed runs) but Vick probably needs to be in the shotgun to run a short , quick passing offense
          I’m all for it but you need the QB who can do that and use the entire field. Once they run short outs and go through the tree on the short outside routes, they’ll get exposed.
          The problem is this team isn’t well equipped for it over the long haul. Vick is not a smart QB and he’s too short for the quick drops and the shotgun isn’t a long term answer either. we have smallish WRs (people already forget Desean getting smashed on underneath routes).

    • iskar36

      I can not disagree more with you. He has had one truly good game (Giants) and one OK game (Ravens). The OLine is not responsible for 8 INTs and 5 lost fumbles. Sure, pressure makes things worse, but plenty of QBs deal with pressure on a regular basis and play a lot better than Vick has played this season.

    • A_T_G

      I’m confused: is anyone else making this thread about Vick?

  • Zachary Kaplan

    Move still shocks me – Unexpected. I know you all know that I think it was necessary, and also that I wish it was more far reaching.

    It’s a start. I’ve seen Reid tell me too many times that it’s his fault not to believe him, and I’m (not so patiently) waiting for the day he gets the axe, which will put us into the necessary rebuild.

    Reid has managed to hold off a rebuild for 7 years and I guess that should be commended, but medicore isn’t acceptable when you were very good and nearly great, his early success has made his recent mediocrity all the more painful.

    Jimmy at BloggingtheBeast had a great picture of the game winning FG – showing the stadium. I know I’m not the only way that feels this way about the team – that picture proves it. The fan base is over the Reid era, over the Vick era. This isn’t a likable group, and when you aren’t winning and aren’t likable – you lose in the world of Sports.

    Good-bye Juan, your poor performance will no longer be a cruch for Andy to lean on and with his broken leg, it won’t be long before he falls.

  • Jay

    I think that Andy needs to get into the playoffs and win at least one postseason game to come back for at least another season…

    If he doesn’t meet expectations and misses the playoffs altogether, do you think Lurie would fire him regardless? Or only fire him if he can’t find someone that seems better?

    Todd Bowles seems pretty intelligent in this PC, I’m ready to see what he can do with this opportunity!

    I also wonder this.
    If Todd Bowles does great with this Defense and at the end of the year, he’ll probably get a lot of attention and someone would most likely offer him a HC gig.
    Let’s say we win we get to the playoffs and win 1 playoff game and lose…Would Lurie fire Reid so he could keep Bowles? Bowles in this situation would not want to stay here as a DC if he gets a HC opportunity

  • phillyfan1978

    “This move wasn’t done to say the defense was the big problem. It was done because the defense can be fixed and there is a coach in position to do it. No Todd Bowles, probably no firing today.”

    A lot of people seem to be missing this point. Even if April and MM are worse than Castillo right now, there is no equivalent to Bowles on staff to replace them. Going out of house is difficult to do midseason.

    I also wonder how much of Andy’s time was spent dealing with the defense lately? If he’s been working with Castillo a lot (rather than focusing on his baby, the offense) and he has confidence in Bowles, he may feel that the move frees him up to fix the offense himself, regardless of who the OC is.

    • TheRogerPodacter

      i dunno about that. i’d say that AR could take over for MM pretty easily. he used to be the HC/OC in the past right? then MM was brought in to take the OC duties from him?

      • TommyLawlor

        No. Childress was the OC. Reid called plays, but Childress did a lot of prep work. Need someone for that role.

        • TheRogerPodacter

          did MM get here the season after chilly left? i thought there was a gap in there.
          well i’ve been wrong before and i’ll be wrong again. thanks for correcting me!!

          • T_S_O_P

            Nope, MM was here with Chilly for at least one year

        • bentheimmigrant

          Could we see a return to that setup? Andy seems to be able to learn lessons long term. Time management for example is fifty times better than it was a few years ago. Maybe there is more hope for the offense under Andy…

        • http://www.facebook.com/jeffrey.stover.3 Jeffrey Stover

          Speaking of chilly, isn’t he still available after the failed head coaching attempt?

      • http://twitter.com/theguyotc the guy

        Wasn’t Andy Reid the one calling a huge number of passes with an inaccurate QB and no-name WRs?

        • Anders

          Wasnt AR also the coach who gave us the 3 headed monster?

          • A_T_G

            Wasn’t AR also the one that gave us “WhachutalkinboutWillis?”

            Oh, wait, never mind. I get him confused with Gary Coleman a lot.

    • D3Keith

      That’s a really good point.

      Couple that with losing the players’ respect, the fact that the bye only comes around once, and with the idea that if they dial back the offense to try to control the ball and limit turnovers, they need to be confident in the defense, and it all makes sense.

    • http://twitter.com/corry_k Corry Henry

      I thought I was bright thinking of this when I finished reading 3/4s of the original post…

      I totally agree with this. It’s the same argument as firing Andy Reid: who do you replace him with? Right now, Mornhinweg and April just don’t have viable options to replace them.

  • teltschikfakeout88

    As an owner, no way in hell am I letting Howie and Andy package a high first round pick for a trade in mid season. That value better net me Peters replacement….allowing me to cut him….if not then we roll with what we have. Get Dunlap back out there and do not flip Herremans at this point…the guy has never played LT for any length of time in the NFL. Those are desperate moves which are too risky right now…for Reid. As for Vick, two more bad games would most likely mean two more losses……Reid era done. Ahh was it only yesterday when Rhodes was fired and I said they hired Andy who?????

  • Septhinox

    I may have missed it, but are you Gimpy?

    • TheRogerPodacter

      haha i have wondered this myself on numerous occasions!

      • TommyLawlor

        Gimpy is a Pitt fan.
        I’m a PSU guy.
        We’re both degenerate Eagles fans.

    • TommyLawlor

      No. Gimpy is an old friend from the Eagles Message Board. He writes a weekly column for Scouts Notebook.

      • Jay

        Oh okay. I was confused bc the Author says Tommy Lawlor.

  • TheRogerPodacter

    interesting thought just occurred to me…
    we’ve been hearing things all offseason like “poor offensive line play has become an epidemic in this league” implying that lots of teams are having trouble putting together a really good OL or that defenses as a whole are just far better at getting to the QB than the OL is at stopping them.

    so with that in mind, i look at this eagles team. sure, it has the looks of a crappy-play-plague filled OL, but what about every other team? maybe my recent memory is skewing my recollections here, but i am inclined to believe that our OL is very, very much below average. maybe our epidemic is worse than the rest of the league? haha.
    (yes, i know… injuries… we lost two key pieces, but every team deals with injuries and such)

    again, looking at this eagles team… if offensive line play is so dreadful this year, what the name of zombie jesus are we doing wrong on defense? we have a squad of players with a proven track record of being great pash rushers, with a record *in this system* of putting up great numbers. with an improved secondary and linebacking corps, i would expect the coverage to give the DL even more time to get to the QB.
    instead, no sacks in 3 games. not nearly enough pressure on the QB.
    if OL play around the league is that bad, we must be doing something horribly, horribly wrong.
    and maybe that is why Juan is gone…

  • bentheimmigrant

    All this talk about making adjustments. MM has known about his o-line issues, and known about Vick’s problems, and he’s still calling bad games. He’s not adjusting between games or within games. His game plan seems to be the same old same old and it has worked enough to get us places. But then you have a game that it doesn’t work. And he doesn’t adjust. That’s how you don’t go deep into the playoffs. That’s how you drive minus 21 yards to open overtime.

    • http://twitter.com/daniel_suraci Daniel

      Exactly. It feels like MM makes his game plans entirely on paper without considering what the Xs and Os mean.

      • bentheimmigrant

        And I’d be happy to have him in that role – he draws up successful play designs. He also thought kicking in overtime was a good call.

  • http://twitter.com/corry_k Corry Henry

    Nevermind, my reading comprehension sucks.

  • bentheimmigrant

    Tommy, there’s a question which I think would be very interesting to answer, and may help discern what’s on Vick and what’s on Marty. We seem to have been missing on the vast majority of our deep ball attempts. I’ve seen this put down to pressure causing over or under throws. Is this true? If it is, we blame MM for play calling, along with Vick for not checking down. But if Vick has had time and has missed, as I seem to remember being the case on that DJax underthrow that became an int, Vick is having bigger problems than a leaky o-line.

  • ACViking

    T-Law wrote:

    “I’ll never forget the day that I found out Juan got the job. I was in
    disbelief. The move made no sense at the time. Still defies logic to
    this day. The move made no sense at the time. Still defies logic to this day.”
    _____________

    In a vacuum, AR’s decision to elevate Juan “defies logic.”

    But factor in that Washburn had been hired already and AR told anyone who interviewed for the DC job that the W-9 had to be the foundation on which the defense would be built.

    While the “logic” might be screwy, I think it makes perfect sense that Juan because the DC . . . accepting the assumption that outsiders told AR thanks but no thanks if we’re stuck with the W-9.

    AR made the proverbial bed and Juan agreed to sleep in it.

    JUST A THEORY.

    • TommyLawlor

      I think Dennis Allen had issues with the Wide-9. Not sure about anyone else. The problem that year was that there weren’t great candidates. Ray Horton has turned out to be very good, but is helped by ARZ being a 3-4 team. I remember being very confused by who to want as DC. There was no candidate I was in love with. That’s part of the reason I wasn’t going nuts over Juan. If we passed on Mike Zimmer for him, I’d have been screaming from the mountain tops.

      The Wide-9 might have been an issue to some extent, but I don’t think it scared off a bunch of good candidates.

      • MichaelFloyd84

        That lack of options doesn’t explain how Juan kept the job this offseason.

        • TommyLawlor

          Andy thought Juan would make good progress this year. Tried to bring in Spags to help.

  • Ark87

    Juan always said he’d take a bullet for Reid, wonder if he’d jump under a bus for him too? I get that he wasn’t great, and might not have ever been great, but he was the most successful of our coordinators. Juan had a mission, get his guys playing fast and polish up the fundamentals. He succeeded. The man isn’t going to Jim Johnson in year 2, and it’s not wise to pretend to be (lookin at you Mcdermott). But listen, he is easilly improved upon, I get that. Do that in April. Do that last April. There was no one more fiercely loyal to Reid. Mid season firing? That’s a black mark Juan will never get out from under. As a man, stay the course, if you don’t get it done, resign before you get fired. Keep your dignity, this thing is in a tail-spin and you’re going to get fired anyway.

    I dunno, just doesn’t sit well with me, If Andy went crazy and fired the people that deserved it more as well, I’d feel better.

  • ACViking

    Re: More Blitzing

    Bowles calling more blitzes is a great idea . . . if the blitzes are as surprising to the opponents as they seemed to be to Vick and the O-line the first 3-4 weeks.

    Otherwise, if we just get the Buddy-Ryan special — 7 guys saying here we come — then I’m skeptical that blitzing will make a difference.
    ________________

    T-Law:

    *The Godfather* is life’s bible, I think.

    To borrow the words of Johnny Fontaine, Juan had “no chance, no chance” to succeed as the D.C.
    _________________

    By the way, speaking of blitzing and Juan’s vanilla approach . . . what about all those late-night conversations Reid said, when he hired him, that Juan had with Jim Johnson about how an O-line would react to JJ’s elaborate blitz schemes?

    All very disappointing.

    • Anders

      Juan said when he was hired that he would make his defense like the Bears, who runs maybe the most vanilla type defense but keep been one of the best

      • MichaelFloyd84

        Yeah, because they had ridiculous talent consistently. You can only win with that vanilla crap with 5-7 pro bowlers on D.

        • Anders

          Their D is pretty good this year

          • MichaelFloyd84

            I bet they have 4-5 pro bowlers this year too. But regardless Castillo idolizes the bears D but couldn’t get ours to play 1/10 as disciplined as they do

  • Mark823

    Maybe I’m mis reading this, but it seems like Tommy’s view has changed a lot in the past few days. In this post it says Juan wasn’t good enough for the 2012 season, but just a couple of days ago Tommy had this reply to a fan who talked about firing Castillo: “No chance. The D didn’t have a good day, but you don’t fire a guy for allowing 26 points and 400 yds. You fire a guy when his unit averages those kind of numbers. Eagles D has been good this year. Bad day.”
    It just seems like a big change in a couple of days.

    • Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran

      Tommy was still believing that AR has a “job for life,” just like AR’s agent foolishly believed. No, this is do or die for AR and the boat’s taking on a lot of water at this point. However, no way is Vick benched – he’s AR’s last hope to take him as far as he needs to go to keep his job (NFC title game).

    • A_T_G

      I imagine that is why the post started with “Wow,” to express his surprise. Then he went on to research and explain how this came to pass. I, for one, appreciate Tommy’s willingness to be objective as new information presents itself.

  • Eric Weaver

    I’ve felt all year that Juan hasn’t done enough blitzing, especially when everyone has seen the front 4 just can’t get enough pressure. Attacking the A gap has worked pretty well when he’s dialed it up, but that’s been few and far between.

  • phillychuck

    Firing Castillo is a substantive change, and was the right move, not a scapegoating. In Castillo’s 22 game tenure, the team has blown 7 4th quarter leads. They had an in-house replacement who might very well be better in Bowles. The same cannot be said for either the offense or the STs. Unlike Castillo, Marty and Bobby April have a track record of success, and could be expected to overcome their problems. There is no reason to think that Castillo might get better, there is a reason to expect Marty and Bobby to get better.

  • Matt

    I was just thinking is firing Andy the right thing to do? We’re now on our third DC since Jim Johnson passed away. Our third DC in a little over 3 years. If Andy gets fired, how long will it take to find a coach as good/better. Clearly, finding suitable replacements is not an easy thing to do. I guess there’s 2 ways to look at it: 1) Is Andy Reid a good enough coach to win the Superbowl. So far the answer is no. 2) Is there a better replacement option. I guess this remains to be seen.

    • iskar36

      The difference is that AR has picked the DC. Lurie will be picking the HC. He was successful with the last one. Doesn’t necessarily mean he will get a good head coach the second time around, but at least it shows that he can find one. Also, I think the fact that AR hasn’t been able to find a good coach is a huuuuge negative about AR and is something that should be part of the reason you think about firing him at the end of the season.

  • http://twitter.com/corry_k Corry Henry

    Hey Tommy, since we’re in a bye week, can you give us some information on Bowles? Maybe give us an idea of what type of defenses he’s played and coached in?

  • phillychuck

    For you and Jimmy K–Jim Washburn was a 4-year starter at Gardner Webb College.

  • mhrinda

    Castillo gone – good: As I mentioned before his lack of experience in the realm of gameday and making gametime adjustments would hurt the Eagles (Reid should have known that) Bobby April – should be gone: I had no greater excitement when the Eagles hired this guy:: blocked field goals and punts (never happens on the Eagles) guys running back punts and kickoffs for touchdowns (at least at a higher rate) good field position, finally punters who can drop the ball off inside the 10 (which we hardly do) WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT .. and correct me if I am wrong but we have actually gotten worse since hes came here … Michael Vick – OVERRATED and was never a good prototypical QB in the NFL. For once I want a good thinking QB who makes good reads who orchestrates drives with authority and is in the mold of the great past QBs of our game and is in the league with the current bunch of true not fancy QB stars. With the offensive weapons we have on this team we shouldnt STRUGGLE to make points. Lets not accept second best and lets move forward. The offensive line and Mudd – Sadly I kinda wish Castillo was still on OL coach. Mudd’s line in Phily had 1 GOOD YEAR and now with one ok two (Peters) injury (with no brains to actually have a veteran as Kelce’s backup or now bring in a old guy with less skills that at least has the mind to make adjustments to bring this chaos line back into order) God forbid there are so many teams in this league with OL problems but ours we cant overcome. Maybe with Kelce and Peters out, we should raise the white flag and give up on the season. Vick should continually be given a free pass since we dont want to trust the reigns to a rookie or Trent Edwards (why is he on this team?) And maybe I am wrong but if Vick is cut how long is it going to be before like Vince Young is he out of football. We can salvage this season but lets not be mired in making excuses for the players and coaches that are “good in some fashion but just not good enough” Time to move forward.

  • Anirudh Jangalapalli

    Has anyone done more to hurt the WCO than Marty Mornhinweg?

  • Skeptic_Eagle

    Respectfully, baloney. He was an “epic failure” if “epic” means that he’s more likely to get a job coaching the offensive line again than a defense. Nice guy, but look at the record. How many blown double digit leads out of how many games coached? Buoyed by the best defensive line coach in the business, autonomously running a loaded unit, and a secondary that could only hold its own when simply asked to play press man. Any time Castillo had to walk and chew gum, he ended up on the pavement with Bubble Yum in his hair. Good luck to Juan, but I doubt he’ll ever coordinate an NFL defense again.

    I don’t think Nnamdi’s comments were “odd”, I think he was speaking candidly about decisions and strategies he believed were poor. I think that the way Calvin Johnson was mishandled, after Fitzgerald had been mishandled for the second time on Juan’s watch, brought fourth his candor. He’s a very intelligent guy, he’s not going to stand at his stall and spout vague sport platitudes. At the same time, he’s not going to make blanket statements designed to be divisive, like Asante. I think in light of the move, his comments were timed exceptionally well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Peter-Kozicky/671597545 Peter Kozicky

    Vick is TOO SHORT to get the ball out quick. At his height, he can’t see over the line and can’t throw over it in a traditional WCO 3 or 5 step drop.

    With this line, we need a guy who can get the ball out quick, something Vick simply cannot do. This is obvious and probably the reason behind our frustrating play-calling. However, if something doesn’t work, STOP. We need to just stop trying to do the impossible.

    Despite his lack of experience reading NFL defenses, the 6’5″ Foles can see and throw over the line of scrimmage, taking a 3 of 5 step drop. Even Edwards is more capable of running the traditional, short-drop WCO than Vick, simply due to his size.

    This glaring truth must be evident to Marty and Andy every time they watch game tape. At some point, they’re going to have to adjust to reality.

    • ohitsdom

      6’5″ Foles saw more of the 3rd and 4th string defenses. He looked promising, but don’t be so quick to push him out to face the 1st stringers.

  • Zachary Kaplan

    Tommy,

    During the bye week at some point – can you compare this team to the 2011 team. Tell us what you think the differences are for better/for worse?

    You know my stance – but I’m curious with your breakdowns to see what you think, I felt they didn’t change enough – didn’t add enough – didn’t hold people/players accountable.

    Also – what are your thoughts on Howie Roseman. My venom doesn’t end at Ried and Vick, I think he’s got to be questioned.

    Brandon Graham over JPP, Earl Thomas, Pouncey. Also traded up to make the move. In that draft the likes of Gronk, Jimmy Graham, Antonio Brown, the extra picks might have paid dividends. Even if Graham isn’t a “Bust” he’s not a success either.

    In 2011 – drafted a nearly 30 year old Guard, who wasn’t (and still may not be) NFL Ready.

    I mean in Howie’s defense – Reid has never been great in the first round (and he’s the one consistent with this team) – McNabb, Simon, Mitchell, Sheppard, McDougal, Shawn Andrews, Mike Patterson, Broderick Bunkley, Maclin, Graham, Watkins, but those two (Graham/Watkins) are looking like awful moves, and poor scounting. And it’s kind of bad looking at the rest of the picks too – who am I kidding. McNabb, Patterson and Maclin had staying power. Reid picked 1 Super Star in his 12 NFL drafts – with the Cox pick still be a unknown.

    In Free Agency – Howie’s isn’t exactly performing either. Asomugha – a move I loved, hasn’t panned out as expected. Cullen Jenkins has faded quickly. Moves I didn’t question at the time are looking like mistakes. Trying to be the Dan Snyder Redskins might not have been the best method.

    • austinfan

      You have to look at value

      Howie didn’t maximize the 2010 draft, but JPP is a hindsight call, word was the Giants might have taken Graham over him. Missed on Teo and Lindley and Clayton and Kafka, but those were late 3rd, 4th rd picks, and hit on Harbor, Cooper, Coleman. McNabb was a great trade.

      Howie admits to reaching in 2011, Watkins wasn’t an out of the blue pick, he’s talented, right now a head case, Jarrett was just a bad mistake. But Kelce was a steal. Kolb was a great trade.

      Howie seemed to have figured out the draft this year, only misses were Washington and McNutt in the 6th rd. Solid talent up and down his board, Brown may be this year’s steal. Ryans was a great trade.

      FA: Babin, Jenkins were good value, they overpaid for Aso, but less than he was expect to receive, and all these deals have NO DEAD MONEY – which retains flexibility, Aso’s deal will be renegotiated, and it won’t surprise me to see him at FS next year.

      He’s also done a good job scouring the waiver wire and UDFAs:
      Edwards
      Polk
      D Johnson, Gilyard
      (Brackett, injured, but on another team’s roster)
      Menkin (Shipley is starting elsewhere)
      Landri (got a good year out of him, but the knee may end his career)
      Hunt (struggling but still a solid ST player, which is why he dresses)
      Thornton
      Hughes
      Anderson, Sims
      This is how you fill out STs, and the back of the roster.

      • mcud

        I wouldn’t call Harbor or Cooper “hits”. Unless, by “hit” you mean, still on the team. If so, then yes. He hit them out of the park. I don’t blame Coleman. He’s a 3rd safety forced to start because of the talent we have at the position. But he’s one of the guys that we’ll always be looking to replace.

        • ohitsdom

          Why not? Harbor’s hands have been glue this year, even if he’s not thrown to much. Cooper’s impact was immediate once he came back, on STs and even on offense a bit.

      • RC5000

        Re: Howie didn’t maximize the 2010 draft
        That wasn’t a Roseman draft. 2011 was the first draft he was responsible for along with Reid, I’ll give him somewhat of a pass since I liked his 2012 draft, the 2011 draft was pretty bad , and he did a good job with that compact offseason.

  • Mac

    RE: Domo’s comment…. Isn’t also true that the offense was hurting the offense when they turn the ball over, the defense holds, opposition punts and the offense suddenly has bad field position?

    It seems to me that some teams *win* field position with steady play and good special teams, rather than holding on to hope of a turnover.

    It is really odd how our defense held teams to so few points, but did not manage sacks and turnovers…

  • http://www.facebook.com/dmcgill3 Dan McGill

    Firing Juan Castillo is total BS. Average wasn’t good enough? What do you expect when the offense repeatedly gives the other team the ball in good field position? Who gives a shit if they didn’t have any sacks in the last 3 games – they had alot of QB pressures and kept the team in games, when it seemed like Vick and the offense were determined to give them away.

    Andy Reid should have told Castillo to get more sacks, blitz more, whatever. Firing him was a coward’s approach and the act of a desperate man.