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Sources: Reid admits to botching Castillo-Washburn situation

geoff mosher csnphilly

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#1 herbicide

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 06:10 AM

Mosher

Sources: Reid admits to botching Castillo-Washburn situation

December 3, 2012, 8:00 pm

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Just before he walked away from the podium to abruptly signal the end of his own press conference, Eagles head coach Andy Reid made a stunning admission that he had fired the wrong assistant coach.

Reid shouldn’t have fired defensive coordinator Juan Castillo on Oct. 16 when he sought ways to improve his foundering 3-3 team, which had just blown a 10-point lead to Detroit in the fourth quarter and lost 26-23 in overtime.

He should have retained his longtime and loyal assistant and parted ways with defensive line coach Jim Washburn, who had become an unpopular and divisive figure inside the NovaCare Complex, according to several team sources and other sources familiar with the situation.

Reid, who fired Washburn early Monday morning, went out of his way in his press conference to praise Castillo in his final remark to the media after also expressing disappointment in Washburn’s short stint with the team.

“Listen, it’s not how you draw it up,” Reid said when asked how the team could recover from losing its defensive coordinator, defensive line coach and Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin -- a Washburn disciple who was released last week -- all within an eight-week span.

“I’ll end it with I think Juan Castillo is a great person and a fine football coach. Juan will have a long career in the National Football League, and rightly so.”

Those remarks, according to a high-ranking team official, were intended to be a salute to Castillo, who coached under Reid for nearly 14 years and spent almost 17 seasons with the Eagles, and also a parting shot at Washburn, who was fired just six games after Castillo was and replaced by veteran line coach Tommy Brasher.

Reid refused to elaborate on his reasons for dismissing Washburn but acknowledged that the move wasn’t exclusively football-related.

“I’m not going to get into all that stuff,” Reid said. “I will tell you there were just things that I was disappointed in and, as time went on, that I knew. I just thought [firing him] was the right thing to do right now for this football team.”

Washburn’s trademark wide-nine scheme not only helped the Eagles share the NFL lead in sacks in 2011 and build Babin into a quarterback assassin who rung up 18 sacks last year but also masqueraded the friction growing between the veteran line coach and Castillo that carried over into this season.

Washburn presided solely over his defensive linemen and did little to assist in the other areas of the defense, even after Castillo was fired and replaced by secondary coach Todd Bowles and as the Eagles’ season was spiraling downward because of a defense plagued by communication problems and dysfunction from top to bottom.

Shortly after Castillo’s firing, friction brewed between Reid and Washburn that made for an uncomfortable environment at the NovaCare Complex. A team source confirmed a report that during the bye week, Reid had ordered the removal of a coffee maker and refrigerator that Washburn had long ago installed in the defensive line classroom. No other position meeting room had such appliances, the source said.

Reid admitted he had considered firing Washburn earlier this season and that Sunday’s loss 38-33 to Dallas, the team’s eighth straight defeat, didn’t factor into the decision.

“It wasn’t all about this game. That’s not what it was,” Reid said. “It was just something that I had been pondering and working through and I just thought it was the right time now.”

The boiling point came last week, when Reid outright waived Babin -- who had also become polarizing and unpopular in the clubhouse -- to get more snaps for third-year defensive end Brandon Graham and rookie defensive end Vinny Curry, a second-round pick who was inactive for the first 10 games.

Washburn was largely credited for turning Babin from a first-round bust into an elite pass rusher during their 2010 season together in Tennessee, and Babin followed Washburn to Philadelphia before the 2011 season as free agents.

They maintained a very close-knit relationship, which is why several sources said Washburn was incensed when Reid cut Babin, who was claimed one day later by the Jaguars.

Those close to Washburn knew of the coach’s anger over the sudden release and several sources said Washburn was close to leaving the team on his own. Reid has said several times -- and repeated again Wednesday -- that Washburn never complained to him about the decision.

“What he told me, he was fine with it,” Reid said. “He was fine there.”

The Eagles will now adjust back to a conventional read-and-react defensive line scheme under Brasher and will occasionally spread out their defensive ends on certain pass-rushing downs.

Bowles will have complete and total control over the defense, which neither he nor Castillo ever had with Washburn controlling the defensive line scheme and rotations.

Reid’s biggest mistake after he cleaned house on the defensive staff after the 2010 season was hiring Washburn while his coordinator position was still vacant (see story). Several candidates to succeed the fired Sean McDermott turned down an opportunity to discuss the job with Reid because Washburn was already in place, the high-ranking team official said.

“It sucks that Coach Washburn had to go because I was really starting to get his scheme and everything,” Graham, who had 1½ sacks Sunday night against Dallas, said. “But we’re just going to move on and keep going.”

Second-year defensive tackle Cedric Thornton also showed support for his fired position coach, saying he was “confused right now” and would “just try to learn from what he taught me and what the next coach will teach me and take advantage of the opportunity.”

Others weren’t as supportive. Several team sources said Washburn, a down-home Southerner with North Carolina roots, often pushed the envelope with motivational tactics, chiding his linemen about their backgrounds, upbringings or other personal hardships.

Washburn was known for being brutally harsh and unfiltered but also trying to soften the blow of his diatribes with his own tales of a rough upbringing and time spent in prison going back to his steroid-distribution scandal at the University of South Carolina in the 1980s.

Washburn also lost the respect of some of his players when he continued to coddle Babin, sources said, even as the Pro Bowl defensive end had struggled to get sacks and had bothered his teammates by playing more as an individual than a teammate dedicated to overall improvement.

Washburn was not made available to the media after his firing. Attempts to reach him were unsuccessful.

The Eagles will unveil their new defensive scheme Sunday in Tampa Bay against the Buccaneers and hope that their defense can function as one unit instead of the fractured mess it has become.

“If it’s going to help the back end, I’m with it,” Thornton said. “I’m with everything that they’re doing here. They’re trying to win.”

E-mail Geoff Mosher at gmosher@comcastsportsnet.com.



#2 greenblood0118

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 07:43 AM

Others weren’t as supportive. Several team sources said Washburn, a down-home Southerner with North Carolina roots, often pushed the envelope with motivational tactics, chiding his linemen about their backgrounds, upbringings or other personal hardship


:ph34r:

#3 Hey Suess

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 10:08 PM

"Shortly after Castillo’s firing, friction brewed between Reid and Washburn that made for an uncomfortable environment at the NovaCare Complex. A team source confirmed a report that during the bye week, Reid had ordered the removal of a coffee maker and refrigerator that Washburn had long ago installed in the defensive line classroom. No other position meeting room had such appliances, the source said."

Everyone knows that the coffee is for closers.

#4 birdman#12

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 10:57 PM

"Shortly after Castillo's firing, friction brewed between Reid and Washburn that made for an uncomfortable environment at the NovaCare Complex. A team source confirmed a report that during the bye week, Reid had ordered the removal of a coffee maker and refrigerator that Washburn had long ago installed in the defensive line classroom. No other position meeting room had such appliances, the source said."

Everyone knows that the coffee is for closers.


I see what you did there......excellent.

#5 time2rock

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:14 AM

Damn right Andy fired the wrong coach just before the bye - should have been Wash at that time and not Castillo. I just posted a similar thought in another thread. They were actually a decent unit before the bye. If the reports have any truth to them and Wash was becoming this disruptive, divisive cancer in the locker room and among the coaching staff, Andy should have canned him then. At least he admits his mistake, but it certainly does not fix the problem.

Have to wonder how well the D would be playing today had Wash been fired at that time with Juan still here as DC and Bowles still coaching only the secondary (hiring Brasher as DL coach at that time).

#6 BtotheH

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 09:50 AM

I will eat my own crow here, I was for the Castillo firing but now I am sort of wondering if Reid should have just somehow meshed Bowles and JC together for the remainder of the season, JC could remain DC but Bowles could have been assistant DC. I mean facts are facts and our defense has been gashed worse under Bowles than when JC was DC. I know some of our defensive personnel is to blame but the roster on defense is just about the same as it was when JC was coach. But oh well whats done is done and we move on. I mean honestly JC didn't stand a chance here in 2013 because of the possible Reid firing that is brewing, but for the rest of this season I will always ask myself "what if" JC would have stayed DC.

If all of these sources and reports about Washburn are true then Reid should have dismissed him games ago or earlier in the season. I heard from some people down in Tenn that Washburn is very "southern" and could come off as racist sometimes, which then I never really believed because how can a guy be racist and have a job in the NFL, also Washburn may be the reason why we took Fletcher Cox in the 1st round, Washburn seemed to really like this kid....but then the hearing about Washburn chiding some players because of their history makes me believe the things I heard about Washburn.

Just move on and hopefully we do not come across cancers like this in the future, our players need to stop becoming victims of so many coaching changes, scheme changes etc. Bring a system in here and stick with it, everytime a player gets used to the scheme or technique something changes.

#7 bigmac65

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:55 AM

It amazes me how long it takes Reid to see something is not working. The wide 9 could boost of no real success outside of a couple sack monsters. Under Washburns wide 9 Tenn. never made the playoffs that = failure. Eagles lose to the Lions and then Castillo is fired, I think kinda wierd let's see where this goes. We all know the answer it went spiralling downward like the water when you flush the toilet. This is all on Reid his decisions nobody else"s and according to the owner this is unacceptable so I hope Lurie does the right thing and fires Andy.

#8 Procus

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 12:29 PM

Damn right Andy fired the wrong coach just before the bye - should have been Wash at that time and not Castillo. I just posted a similar thought in another thread. They were actually a decent unit before the bye. If the reports have any truth to them and Wash was becoming this disruptive, divisive cancer in the locker room and among the coaching staff, Andy should have canned him then. At least he admits his mistake, but it certainly does not fix the problem.

Have to wonder how well the D would be playing today had Wash been fired at that time with Juan still here as DC and Bowles still coaching only the secondary (hiring Brasher as DL coach at that time).

Damn right Andy fired the wrong coach just before the bye - should have been Wash at that time and not Castillo. I just posted a similar thought in another thread. They were actually a decent unit before the bye. If the reports have any truth to them and Wash was becoming this disruptive, divisive cancer in the locker room and among the coaching staff, Andy should have canned him then. At least he admits his mistake, but it certainly does not fix the problem.

Have to wonder how well the D would be playing today had Wash been fired at that time with Juan still here as DC and Bowles still coaching only the secondary (hiring Brasher as DL coach at that time).


I would have to think that it would have taken coach Brasher at least a few weeks to get up to speed before he was ready to coach. The guy's been out of the game for years and is only a band-aid at this stage.