Since Andy Reid hadn't addressed the media since the day after the Eagles' season ended at the hands of the Green Bay Packers, the head coach had a few things to address Wednesday aside from the introduction of Juan Castillo as defensive coordinator. In his season-closing remarks back in early January, Reid told reporters that he believed Sean McDermott would return as the defensive coordinator. So Wednesday, Reid addressed the decision-making process behind the choice to part ways with McDermott, who is now the defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers.
"I think you know that immediately after the season, you're very focused on the game you just lost," Reid said. "It's an emotional time. It's not a time to make a decision like that. I was able to step back, buy some time, and think. It was that simple. I came to the conclusion that for a kid who worked his tail off, which Sean did, and did a heck of a job, (I thought that) it was best for the Eagles and best for Sean McDermott for us to go a different direction. You saw the respect that Sean had generated by the opportunity that he had as a defensive coordinator with other teams."
Since McDermott moved on, the Eagles were reported to have met with several candidates for the open defensive coordinator position other than Castillo, including Minnesota Vikings secondary coach Joe Woods, Chicago Bears secondary coach Jon Hoke and former New Orleans Saints defensive backs coach and now Denver Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. Howard Eskin of sport radio 610 WIP reported Wednesday that the Eagles interviewed over a dozen candidates.
However, Reid said Wednesday that the position was Castillo's to lose the whole time; the head coach was simply doing his due diligence.
"Obviously at the same time, I'm (also) talking to (other candidates)," Reid said. "I'm going to make sure that all of the bases are covered. Obviously time is on my side there, so I can sit back and evaluate and make sure that we put those pieces of the puzzle together the right way."
As for the ultimate decision to go with Castillo, who has never coached defense on the professional level, it is another surprising move made by Reid, who has also caught fans off-guard recently with the promotion of Michael Vick to starting quarterback after Week 2 of the 2010 season and the decision to sign Vick in the first place. What is behind Reid's willingness to think outside the box so much?
"Somewhere (former Packers and Seahawks head coach and current Browns president) Mike Holmgren took a risk," Reid said of his former boss. "He took an (offensive) line coach and made him a quarterback coach and I'm sure that wasn't perceived as the prettiest picture. I know when I came here some of you guys were there when I sat at the hotel as I addressed you and you were looking at me going, 'Who is this guy?' I went from not having been a coordinator to being a head football coach. (Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie) and (Eagles President Joe Banner), they took a risk and they did their homework to make that risk within themselves, and amongst themselves, a secure risk. There was a confidence there. I understand that. It's important, I think, for any of us when doors open in life and sometimes you have that opportunity that now you take advantage of that opportunity.
"I have full confidence, absolutely full confidence, that Juan will do that. You guys are fortunate enough to have seen him operate the way he has operated as a football coach. You know the toughness, you know the desire, you know the work ethic and the thing I would add to that is I know the concepts that Juan knows and that's important when you make transitions. There are certain guys that give you the confidence that they can coach anything; they can do it. That's how I feel about Juan Castillo."
-- Posted by Bo Wulf, 9:26 p.m., February 2