Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Juan Castillo Hit The Lottery With The Ravens


By Brenden Peddigree
Castillo was praised by DeMeco Ryans
after his firing for his energetic coaching style.

Juan Castillo was fired from his Defensive Coordinator job with the Eagles on October 16th, 2012 and less than four months later he helped a team hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

Castillo was the first scapegoat of the 2012 season that was a nightmare for Eagles fans and the last season Andy Reid had with the team that hired the unknown quarterback coach from Green Bay 14 years earlier. During the open week that the Ravens and 49ers had between their championship wins and their Super Bowl match John Harbaugh, another former Eagles assistant, hired Juan Castillo under the title of “run game consultant” for the Baltimore Ravens.

“I won the lottery,” Castillo said to reporters during a media session before the Super Bowl. When Castillo was fired, the Eagles were 3-3 with two consecutive losses but had held opponents to a 20.8 points per game average. The problem was not the defense but someone had to take the fall for the poor start the Eagles got off to. Castillo, whose coaching had been questioned since 2011, was first on the chopping block.

The decision was not purely Reid’s although he took the main responsibility for it. Castillo holds no grudges against his coach and made the fact clear that he loves Reid. “What was hard,” Castillo said “was that I wasn’t there to help somebody I respect and love fight for his job.”

The Super Bowl Champion told media members that Reid reached out to him to join his staff in Kansas City at some capacity in 2013 that Castillo did not define. Castillo declined and instead decided to pursue his “lottery” opportunity with the Ravens on a Super Bowl run.

Castillo likened his duties with the Ravens to what he did with the Eagles before he was a defensive coordinator. As an offensive line coach a lot of the techniques and designs came from running plays so Castillo had to be familiar with what Ted Williams, the Eagles running backs coach at the time (now tight ends coach), had in the game plan. Speculation during media week talked about Castillo joining the Ravens in a more formal position for 2013, possibly the running game coordinator.

Entering 2011 with a defensive line coach who left the linebackers and secondary out to dry in order to record a few sacks and a group of selfish, non-physical defenders added to an almost entirely new staff on the defensive side of the ball, Castillo was set up for failure. Even still, Castillo led a defense that was more than manageable for the Eagles to make a run. With a turnover machine at quarterback and a questionable playcalling method, the Eagles had no right being in the playoffs despite winning the final four games. He was used as the scapegoat in October 2012 for a team with high hopes that looked to be falling in a downward spiral.

Harbaugh knew that Castillo was a good coach though and didn’t let his situation in Philadelphia in 2011 and 2012 define his career. The Ravens head coach gave Castillo the chance to join a team on a Super Bowl quest and Castillo took the job without question. From fired at 3-3 to wearing some shiny new bling, Castillo had one of the most interesting seasons in 2012 that an NFL coach has ever had.

Follow Brenden on Twitter @BrendenP2011 and check out more of his work on GCobb.com.

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