Andy Reid’s job is on the line with Castillo hire

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid talks to an assistant during the fourth quarter at Soldier Field in Chicago on November 28, 2010. The Bears won 31-26. UPI/Brian Kersey

Andy Reid is smarter than you.

Everyone thought he would finally go with an outside hire when he had to find a new defensive coordinator. And why wouldn’t he? Replacing Jim Johnson with in-house option Sean McDermott backfired, so surely he would go with someone established like Dick Jauron or Jim Mora.

Only Reid hired his offensive line coach instead. Don’t adjust your monitors, you read that right. In an unprecedented move, Reid hired his offensive line coach to coordinate his defense.

And you want to be my latex salesman.

Juan Castillo deserves an opportunity to have success before everyone says he can’t. He did coach linebackers and defensive line to start his career at Texas A&M Kingsville, so it’s not like he’s always been stuck on the offensive side of the ball. From what I’ve read, he’s also gotten this far on hard work and his ability to coach up and motivate players. That sounds like a winning combination for a coach.

But does he know how to put together a defensive game plan? Does he know how to implement a scheme? Does he even know how to be a playcaller? Considering he has zero experience on the defensive side of the ball in the NFL, it’s hard to fault anyone who thinks this is a horrendous hire. Just because he’s a hard worker doesn’t mean he has what it takes to become a great coordinator. Just because he can relate to his players doesn’t mean he’ll be able to make the personnel adjustments on Sundays in the heat of the moment.

Reid claims that Castillo did help out on defense last year. Great, you mean the unit that had the worst red zone defense in the league and saw all of its coaches fired?

Reid now has a bulls-eye on his back. If this move fails, he and Castillo will be looking for jobs together in a year or two. If Reid believes that Castillo is the best man for the job then so be it – I hope it works out. But you don’t hire your offensive line coach to become your defensive coordinator without putting all your eggs in one basket.

Again, the problem with this move isn’t that Reid didn’t make a conventional hire. Mike Martz and all of his offensive genius didn’t pan out in Detroit and San Francisco. Everyone praises the work Gregg Williams has done in New Orleans, but don’t forget he was a bust as a defensive coordinator for the Jaguars in 2008. A lot of conventional moves don’t work out either.

But Reid had zero room for error when it came to hiring his next defensive coordinator. Zero. Here’s hoping he is smarter than all of us.

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