Andy Reid is not getting the credit he deserves. People who criticize the coach for a lack of creativity are unfair. When it comes to finding new ways to insult the intelligence of the fans, he is a man without peer.
Unfortunately, he is also a man without a clue. What Andy Reid did last week in naming Juan Castillo the new defensive coordinator was the latest and most dramatic example of his complete separation from reality. He took a highly regarded offensive-line coach and managed to promote the man way beyond his area of expertise.
Reid has specialized in odd decisions over the past few years, but never has he made one so blatantly absurd. There is no reasonable argument for this decision other than an arrogance run amok. Let’s run through the many rationales the coach offered when he finally resurfaced after 23 days in hiding.
» Castillo is a terrific coach. By all accounts, he is — despite suffering through one of his worst seasons in 2010, when his porous offensive line managed to get both quarterbacks hurt. Castillo was a terrific coach two years ago, when he was not a candidate for the coordinator’s position after Jim Johnson died. Why didn’t Reid promote him then?
» Castillo would have been promoted sooner, but Reid couldn’t find a suitable replacement. Howard Mudd is a fine addition, but are we supposed to believe that, before this, not one good candidate became available in Castillo’s 12 seasons here with Reid?
» Castillo has a background in defense, having played and coached there early in his career. Very early. Castillo hasn’t coached defense in the 16 years he has worked for the Eagles. He did serve as a defensive coordinator — 22 years ago, at the high-school level.
» Castillo is the hardest worker on the Eagles coaching staff, and he will learn quickly. Two years ago, Reid was saying the same things about Sean McDermott, who worked his way right out of town.
» Castillo was so strong a candidate, there was no need to wait until after the Super Bowl. If he was that impressive, why did it take Reid three weeks even to include him on the interview list?
There is no rational explanation for this decision because it is insane. Suggesting that Juan Castillo is the best choice for defensive coordinator is like trying to argue that Andy Reid is still the best man to coach the Eagles.
Call me a hypocrite
When Pittsburgh had the ball with two minutes left in the Super Bowl, did you root against or for Ben Roethlisberger?
If you cheered for him, you are either a Steelers fan or a Pennsylvania enthusiast. If you rooted against, you are a Packers fan or a hypocrite. I’m a hypocrite.
This realization snuck up on me as Big Ben called the signals in the defining moment of a game he would ultimately lose. All I could see was the man accused of abusing women in two separate incidents over the past two years. All I could hear were the words of Commissioner Roger Goodell, who said not one player among two dozen offered words of support for the arrogant, selfish quarterback.
Then it hit me that, four weeks ago, I was in precisely the same position when the Eagles had the ball with the game on the line and Michael Vick at the controls. How could I root for Vick, but against Roethlisberger?
I am an Eagles fan above all else, including my own sense of right and wrong. I am a sensitive, caring human being — unless I am required to block out reality in the blind pursuit of winning.
If you passed the test and showed some consistency in your rooting interests, congratulations. Now that this morally challenging season is finally over, I’m looking for a good shrink.
How about them Phils!
Inside the Wells Fargo Center very early last Friday morning, a contestant at Wing Bowl 19 entered the arena in a float named “Mound Rushmore.” Carved into his fake mountainside were the faces of Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. The sellout crowd loved it.
Across the street, the Phillies were loading their truck with equipment for their trip to Clearwater, Fla. The first players are scheduled to check in on Feb. 14 to begin the most anticipated season in the team’s history.
The Phillies are the best team in baseball. The Vegas oddsmakers have listed them as favorites. The blogosphere has them securely at No. 1. The Big 4 will be on more magazine covers this year than supermodels Brooklyn Decker and Gisele Bundchen combined.
So, as fans, let’s set the proper tone before the first unhittable pitch is thrown by our legendary staff. This season, there are no excuses. The underachieving of 2010 — the failure of the offense in the clutch, the unreliability of the bullpen, the clueless strategy of Charlie Manuel — will not be tolerated with a gentle shrug this time around. All the goodwill from 2008 has been spent.
–Angelo Cataldi is host of 610 WIP’s Morning Show, which airs weekdays 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.
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