Eagles head coach Andy Reid is expected back from a week-long vacation in the Caribbean Sunday. When he returns, there's a good chance his defense will have a new lieutenant.
According to sources close to the Eagles, Reid is interested in bringing in Steve Spagnuolo, who was fired as the St. Louis Rams' head coach last week, to run his defense. Spagnuolo spent eight years as an assistant on Reid's staff before leaving to become the New York Giants' defensive coordinator in 2007. The Rams hired him as head coach in 2009.
Juan Castillo, who was promoted by Reid from offensive line coach to defensive coordinator last January after he fired Sean McDermott, still is on Reid's staff. If Spagnuolo joins the Eagles, he would be given the title assistant head coach/defense, and would have authority over Castillo, who he worked with during his first stint with the Eagles.
Reid's decision to put Castillo in charge of the defense last season raised eyebrows all over the league. While he had been a linebacker in college and for a couple of years in the USFL in the mid-80s, he had never coached on the defensive side of the ball beyond high school.
He was hired by then Eagles head coach Ray Rhodes in 1995 as an offensive assistant, coached the team's tight ends for Rhodes in '97 and was moved to the offensive line in '98, Rhodes' last year in Philadelphia.
Reid retained Castillo as his offensive line coach when he was hired in '99. Castillo established himself as one of the league's better offensive line coaches. His '08 line allowed just 23 sacks. After firing McDermott last year, Reid interviewed more than 20 candidates for the defensive coordinator job before giving it to Castillo. He coaxed longtime Indianapolis Colts assistant Howard Mudd out of retirement to replace Castillo as the offensive line coach.
Castillo's defense struggled much of the season, blowing an NFL-record five fourth-quarter leads. He played musical chairs with his young linebacking corps much of the season and misused his two new cornerbacks, Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Last week, Reid fired cornerbacks coach Johnny Lynn, which was hardly a surprise considering that the Eagles had just 15 interceptions and gave up 27 touchdown passes despite a pass-rush that notched a league-best 50 sacks.
Lynn has not been replaced yet, leaving open the possibility that the cornerbacks will be part of Castillo's new job responsibilities, even if he retains the defensive coordinator title.
Meanwhile, Raheem Morris, head coach of the Bucs last season, was hired as secondary coach of the Washington Redskins after interviewing with the Vikings.
Spagnuolo likely headed to Eagles
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