This is as close as Andy Reid has come to admitting it was a huge mistake to fire Juan Castillo.
When all was said and done, we were playing better defense with Juan than without Juan, Reid conceded Monday. Hes a tremendous football coach.
Reid was fired a week ago Monday after the Eagles went 4-12 in his 14th season as head coach. He was hired by the Chiefs by the end of the week, and this past Monday spoke with Philly media about his tenure with the Eagles.
Most of the brief chat was fairly mundane, but his comments about Castillo were interesting because they go right to the heart of what went wrong here this past season and why Reid is no longer coach of the Eagles.
And the reality is that the Eagles were right in the middle of the playoff hunt when Reid fired Castillo, only to become one of the worst teams in the NFL with one of the worst pass defenses in NFL history once he was replaced.
When Reid fired Castillo on Oct. 15, the Eagles were 3-3, ranked 12th in the NFL in yards allowed and allowing 19.7 points per game. Opposing quarterbacks were completing 53 percent of their passes lowest in the NFL.
In 10 games after Todd Bowles was promoted from secondary coach to defensive coordinator, the Eagles went 1-7, gave up 27.8 points per game and allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 67 percent of their passes second-highest in the NFL.
QBs had a 68.4 passer rating vs. the Eagles under Castillo and a 123.6 rating under Bowles.
I think thats a tribute to Juan, but I did what I did and thats my responsibility in both cases, Reid said in a conference call with Philly media set up by the Chiefs. The quarterback rating when I released him was pretty good.
Who knows what would have happened had Reid kept Castillo and fired defensive coordinator Jim Washburn instead of dismissing Castillo and then firing Washburn on Nov. 12.
But Reids feelings about Castillo are clear, and the same guy he fired in October hes now trying to hire as offensive line coach with the Chiefs.
Reids other interesting comments Monday were in regard to the Eagles internal power struggle that resulted in Joe Banners ouster and re-emergence with the Browns, and owner Jeff Luries remarks that Banner interfered in the Eagles 2010 and 2011 drafts.
Reid, like Lurie, didnt mention Banner by name but said the Eagles recent decline from NFC Championship Game appearance in 2008 to wild-card playoff loser in 2009 and 2010 to 8-8 in 2011 and 4-12 last year can be traced to the dysfunctional front office.
I would tell you the most important thing is that everybodys got to be pulling in the same direction, he said. Were all in it together, all pulling the same way.
When that gets out of whack, bad things happen. Thats how this league works. If you get a little bit out of whack, youre not going to be successful.
For years, Lurie, Banner, Reid and Roseman all worked together. Now Reid is in Kansas City, Banners in Cleveland and Roseman has more power than ever working under Lurie in Philly.
Lurie, Roseman and President Don Smolenski are currently running the Eagles search to replace Reid.
Howies a young guy whos going to do a phenomenal job, Reid said.
E-mail Reuben Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org