Eagles pull surprise, name Juan Castillo defensive coordinator

It turns out the Philadelphia Eagles will not wait for Super Bowl XLV to be played to meet some new candidates to become their defensive coordinator.

The team ended the search today, announcing that offensive line coach Juan Castillo will become the defensive coordinator. It’s an unusual move for a veteran line coach, but Castillo is highly regarded.

Castillo will be replaced by veteran offensive line coach Howard Mudd, who worked so long for the Indianapolis Colts.

The Eagles interviewed three defensive backs coaches – Dennis Allen, Jon Hoke and Joe Woods – before going with the in-house candidate who has coached the line for the last 13 seasons. Castillo is one of the few Hispanic coaches in the NFL and the move was hailed by Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera, who previously worked for the Eagles.

“I’m really excited about this news and very proud of Juan being named defensive coordinator of the Eagles. First of all, Juan is one of the smartest and most dynamic coaches in the NFL,” Rivera said. “If anyone could cross over to the dark side (of defense), he’s the guy. Seriously, if anyone can do it, Juan Castillo is able to do it. I don’t know if I have seen anyone any more committed as a coach in this league than him. I was able to call on him so many times to understand how certain offenses worked and attacked.

“His knowledge of the game is very, very extensive and I consider him a mentor of mine in Philadelphia while I was working under Jim Johnson. He prides himself in his work ethic, which I know he got from his mother. More importantly, he’s a dedicated father, husband and friend and just a top notch person.”

Castillo played linebacker at Texas A&I and for the San Antonio Gunslingers in the USFL, and he’s coached linebackers in the past so he has worked on that side of the ball.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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