I decided before the season that I wasn’t going to bail on the Eagles. I decided that I was on this train until we were officially out of it and despite the issues facing this team, I’m sticking with that. But after watching the team choke away their seventh fourth quarter lead in two seasons, I said something had to change.
Two days into the bye week, Andy made a change: Andy Reid fired Juan Castillo, the chokiest of chokers that ever choked as an Eagles coordinator.
Juan Castillo had worked here since 1995, that’s 17 years. By all accounts, Andy and Juan were good friends who genuinely respected one another. Juan Castillo has been a piece of this Eagles organization since Fletcher Cox was in pre-school. Make no mistake, this is a big move that serves as a warning shot to every single person in the Eagles organization. If Andy Reid can part with Juan Castillo, he can part with anyone. Now some have called this move unprecedented simply because Andy has never fired a coordinator mid-season before but I’d argue that similar moves have been made by Andy in the past.
In 2006 the Eagles were in their first season after Brad Childress left to coach the Minnesota Vikings and Andy Reid had taken over play calling duties. After struggling to a 5-6 record and McNabb getting hurt, Andy turned the play calling over to Marty Mornhinweg and they won 5 straight games to end the regular season and make the playoffs where they won a game against the New York Giants.
In 2008, the Eagles were playing sloppy football that culminated in a tie with the lowly Cincinnati Bengals. The next week, the Eagles didn’t improve a bit against the Baltimore Ravens and Andy Reid pulled the plug on Donovan McNabb. Kevin Kolb comes in and plays like Kevin Kolb but the message had been sent, Andy wasn’t playing around. What happens afterwards? The Eagles go on to win 4 of the last 5 games and they make the playoffs where they end up making the NFC Championship game and nearly make the Superbowl.
We’ve pulled somewhat similar moves twice before and both years, it paid off for Andy Reid and the Eagles. Things are looking bad right now but lets not forget that we’re 3-3 and in second place in the division. We’re on a bye week and we all know Andy’s record coming off of bye weeks. Last time we played Atlanta at home coming off of a bye week, we dismantled them. We’re still very much in the thick of things. We match-up with the Atlanta Falcons very well. They’re barely gutting out wins lately and there is nothing that suggests the Eagles can’t beat them. If we beat the undefeated Falcons and become 4-3, that changes things a bit.
And here is something I take solace in, we’re really struggling on offense but it’s because of Michael Vick. We’re still winning on the outside with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. We’re just missing easy chances. That can be fixed. And if it can’t, we can easily put in Nick Foles. Say what you want about Nick Foles but when DeSean Jackson gets a step, I have faith in his ability to throw him an accurate ball which is something Vick isn’t doing now. Most struggling teams don’t have two QB options, if Vick continues to struggle we can plug in our knight in shining armor, Nick “Glory” Foles.
We’ve got issues but we’re not out of it… yet.