Reid: Eagles were better with Castillo than without him

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Reid: Eagles were better with Castillo than without him

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 rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com

Give and Go: No. 3 pick or an impact free agent more important for Sixers?

Give and Go: No. 3 pick or an impact free agent more important for Sixers?

Before the offseason craziness starts, our resident basketball analysts will discuss some of the hottest topics involving the Sixers.

Running the Give and Go are CSNPhilly.com Sixers Insider Jessica Camerato and producer/reporters Matt Haughton and Paul Hudrick.

In this edition, we analyze whether the No. 3 pick or adding an impact free agent is more important for the Sixers.

Camerato
The Sixers have the third pick in the 2017 draft. 
 
They also had the same pick in 2014. 
 
And 2015. 
 
And the number one pick in 2016.
 
The No. 3 is a nice addition of potential young talent, but how much further does *another* high lottery pick progress the Sixers?
 
The team is at a point where they need more experienced players to boost the development of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Dario Saric … and basically everyone on the roster except Jerryd Bayless, who is the only player under contract for next season with more than four years of NBA experience.
 
Veterans make younger players around them better. This isn’t only being a voice in the locker room either. This season the Sixers could greatly benefit from a vet who is in game with them, not just on the bench. Look at what 35-year-old Joe Johnson did for the Jazz this season. 
 
Do the Sixers need to go out and sign a big name free agent to a max contract? No. They have the money to spend but also a lot of questions to answer about Simmons’ role and Embiid’s health before locking in someone long-term. 
 
Can adding experience develop them further than potential would at this point? Yes.

Haughton
There's always a delicate balance between blending homegrown talent and free agents. With this Sixers team, I think adding another young piece to the core with the No. 3 pick is far more important than luring someone on the free-agent market.

If we're being honest about the team's roster, there are only two real difference makers in Embiid and, in all likelihood, Simmons. In that third draft slot, the Sixers have an opportunity to select yet another top-tier talent and address an area of need (guard or wing) without spending a boatload of cash.

The Sixers' youthful makeup resembles a college team and makes it easier for rookies to mix into the group. That also means the draft pick has a chance to grow on the same track as his teammates and build for the long-term betterment of "The Process" instead of a free agent that is likely trying to speed things up to win now.

Speaking of FAs, there will be a nice pool of guys available for the Sixers. However, it's not like any of them are going to put the team over the top and in the conversation for any postseason hardware.

Stick to the script and focus on the draft. Whichever player hears his name called at No. 3 will have a far bigger fingerprint on where this franchise goes next than anyone acquired via free agency.

Hudrick
The Sixers have identified Embiid and Simmons as their franchise players. Embiid is 23 and Simmons will turn 21 in July. Embiid has played in 31 games and Simmons has yet to take the floor.

I mention this because this Sixers team is still very much building. They're nowhere near a finished product. The veteran additions of Gerald Henderson and Bayless (who was limited to mostly a mentoring role last season) no doubt helped the team last season. But what does signing a marquee free agent do? 

Looking at the market, the two most obvious choices are point guard Kyle Lowry (31) and two guard J.J. Redick (32). Lowry and Redick both fills needs and will make the Sixers better immediately. 

But this team won 28 games last year while only having Embiid for 31 games and not having Simmons at all. Add the No. 3 overall pick to that equation -- whether it's Josh Jackson, Malik Monk, Jayson Tatum or De'Aaron Fox -- and the Sixers should improve on that mark.

There will be a time to sign a big-name free agent. I'm just not sure this is the offseason to do it. They need to get their first-round pick in here and see how that player gels with the team's core. After you see how the team starts to take shape, that's when you need to add a free agent to put you over the top.

Tonight's lineup: Howie Kendrick returns, Odubel Herrera rides the pine

Tonight's lineup: Howie Kendrick returns, Odubel Herrera rides the pine

Updated: 4:33 p.m.

Howie Kendrick is back after a month and a half on the disabled list while Odubel Herrera is heading to the bench for a few days.

The Phillies reinstated Kendrick from the DL and he's in the lineup, batting second and playing left field vs. the Marlins (7:10/CSN and CSNPhilly.com). Meanwhile, manager Pete Mackanin said pregame slumping center fielder Odubel Herrera will be on the bench both today and tomorrow. Maikel Franco was moved down further in the lineup.

Kendrick batted a sterling .333 in his 39 at-bats in April, looking the part of a top-of-the-order hitter. The former infielder played only left field during his 10 games before going down with an oblique injury (see game notes). He gives the Phillies a chance to rest their outfielders or allow them a new look in the corner infield. 

Herrera is in the midst of a 1-for-22 slide that has brought his batting average down to .217. Mackanin said postgame on Sunday that he would move Herrera down in the lineup and would give him a few days off at some point with Kendrick back as an extra outfielder. Mackanin hoped time off would help lessen the pressure on the scuffling Herrera.

Mackanin also mentioned the inconsistent at-bats of Franco, who is down to seventh in the lineup. Catcher Cameron Rupp was moved ahead of him to sixth in the order with Franco batting .213 and going 2 for 18 since his eight-game hitting streak ended on Monday.

Jeremy Hellickson makes his first start since allowing a seven-run third inning to the Rockies on Wednesday. The good news for the righty is that he dominated the Marlins last season and was similiarly strong in a victory vs. the Fish in April.

Here's the full lineup that will oppose Edinson Volquez:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Howie Kendrick, LF
3. Aaron Altherr, CF
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Michael Saunders, RF
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Maikel Franco, 3B
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Jeremy Hellickson, P