Andy Reid wanted to let Juan Castillo flex his defensive muscles. But in order to do that, he needed to find someone to handle the offensive line as well as Castillo has for the past 13 seasons. Well, it's tough to find a better replacement than a 36-year offensive line guru whose unit allowed a staggeringly low 227 sacks during his recent 12-year tenure with the Indianapolis Colts - 110 fewer sacks than the second place team during that span.
In Howard Mudd, the Eagles have acquired perhaps the best offensive line coach in the history of the league.
"I'm losing a great offensive line coach but I'm also gaining a great one, and that's important in this whole deal," said head coach Andy Reid Wednesday. "I wasn't going to weaken the offensive line and the coaching there so I had to do a little bit of evaluating and it took a little bit of time to get the pieces together. So I'm very excited about this move.
"Howard Mudd's a hall of fame caliber offensive line coach. If they put offensive line coaches in the hall of fame, you're going to look at Howard Mudd. That guy has left a legacy in this league in this league as an offensive line coach and was semi-retired there. To get him to come back was an important thing in this puzzle."
Mudd, who retired after the 2009 season, surely needed to be coaxed back into the game. But in Philadelphia, he'll be joining some of his best and longest friends in the business. Reid first forged a relationship with Mudd all the way back when Reid was coaching the offensive line at Missouri and Mudd was heading the offensive line with the nearby Kansas City Chiefs. After Reid moved on to his next job, Marty Mornhinweg, the Eagles offensive coordinator, replaced Reid and formed his own relationship with Mudd. Castillo, meanwhile, has known Mudd for years as brothers in offensive line arms.
But the key, perhaps, is new defensive line coach Jim Washburn, who is Mudd's best friend in the business - as evidence by this NFL Films feature. After years of going up against each other as defensive line vs. offensive line at least twice a season in the AFC South, Mudd and Washburn will finally be on the same staff, and they will bring a passion and commitment that Reid is looking forward to harnessing.
"I feel very, very fortunate to have Howard Mudd here," Reid said. "This guy, he's left a legacy in this league as an offensive line coach. He is so fired up to be here. I'll tell you the same thing about Jim Washburn. He is fired up to be a Philadelphia Eagle. And so when I'm looking for guys, I'm looking for guys that are bringing energy and want to be here and want to make the Philadelphia Eagles the best possible team they can be. I've got young players that have brought energy. There's a tremendous amount of energy on this football team. I'm loving this combination right now, I can't wait to get them all together. Jim's on his way up here and Howard will be up here in a few days. I can't wait to get everybody here and get this thing rolling."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 9:06 p.m., February 2