Andy Reid axes defensive coordinator Juan Castillo

A year ago, Andy Reid made the unusual and controversial decision to make his offensive line coach Juan Castillo the team’s defensive coordinator.

Reid stood behind Castillo after a difficult season that was marred by a 4-8 start. This morning, Reid fired Castillo two days after the Eagles fell to the Detroit Lions 26-23 in overtime at Lincoln Financial Field after the team blew a 10-point lead in the final 5 minutes, 18 seconds.

Defensive backs coach Todd Bowles, a candidate for head-coaching vacancies in recent offseasons, was named the new defensive coordinator. Bowles becomes the third coordinator since the late Jim Johnson held the role. Sean McDermott was defensive coordinator for one season in 2010 before he was fired.

Previously, Castillo was regarded for his work as the Eagles’ offensive line coach and by switching him to defense, Reid created some difficult issues on offense. The Eagles are 3-3 and in the midst of their bye week.

I want to make it clear that I have nothing but the ultimate respect for Juan Castillo as a coach and as a person," Reid said in a statement released by the club. "He's one of the finest football coaches that I have ever worked with. He has served this organization extremely well for 18 years and letting him go was a difficult decision. I know he will continue to be a successful coach in this league and wish he and his family nothing but the best.

"We’re six games into the season and average isn’t good enough. I know the potential of our team and insist on maximizing it."

Reid said on Monday he would consider any moves he believed necessary to help the team improve coming out of the bye. Quarterback Michael Vick has struggled and the Eagles have been punchless in the first quarter this season. The Eagles are scoring just 17.2 points per game, 31st in the league. Philadelphia is 13th in scoring defense. The pass rush, which excelled last season, has been stagnant as the Eagles have only seven, ranking 30th.

If Bowles cannot help turn things around, Reid’s job could be in jeopardy following the season.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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