Juan and done?

With Steve Spagnuolo Fired and Howard Mudd Back, What Happens to Juan Castillo?

We all know the Rams have parted ways with head coach Steve Spagnuolo after three mostly forgettable years in St. Louis. Spagnuolo led the Rams within one game of the playoffs last season, but 2011 was a total disaster from the jump for the former Eagles’ linebackers coach.

It’s been widely reported the Eagles are interested in bringing Spagnuolo back to Philadelphia as their defensive coordinator, but with current defensive coordinator Juan Castillo’s unit showing marked improvement over the final four weeks of the season, it should be interesting to see how the organization handles this. If they bring in Spagnuolo, what happens to Castillo?

Castillo’s defensive allowed only 46 points over the final four games of the season–good for just a bit over 11 points per game. (Forget the fact that, you know, the Eagles played inferior offenses over that stretch.)

What’s more, it sounds like Castillo’s players have become believers in their beleaguered coach.

“I think that as the season progressed we all started to get more comfortable and better,” said Nnamdi Asomugha. “[Castillo] started to figure what works in the NFL and what doesn’t.”

Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins echoed Asomugha’s support.

“He’s put us in position to win a whole season,” defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said. “It’s not just these last four games. It’s a matter of players being able to step up and make the plays when asked, and we weren’t doing that early on in the season.”

But while Asomugha generally endorsed Castillo, he said something that could ultimately be damning to the first-year defensive coordinator’s future.

“Some guys lose sight of the fact that he had never done this before at any level,” Asomugha said. “He was an offensive line coach, so it wasn’t going to be as easy a transition we would have hoped.”

Fine. It wasn’t an easy transition. But an argument can be made that the Eagles would be better served with a proven defensive mind like Spagnuolo running the offense. It shouldn’t take long for Eagles players to buy into his system given that he was probably the second most important person in the Giants’ 2007 Super Bowl run.

Current offensive line coach Howard Mudd told reporters he plans to be back next season, so Castillo wouldn’t be headed back to his former position. That much we do know.

I respect Castillo for his unit’s late season turnaround, but the fact remains his defense blew numerous unforgivable late leads that prevented this team from reaching the postseason.

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