Sports

Howard Mudd to Blame for Eagles' Problems?

| by Off The Record

The Philadelphia Eagles are 1-4 and the team is in disarray. They can’t stop the run, can’t tackle, can’t get one yard when they need it, can’t stop turning the ball over, can’t protect Vick…etc. This team has problems.

One of the biggest problems is the offensive line. Between injuries, inexperience and no continuity, the line’s problems run deep. And we saw this report on PFT today, where a source told the site that the guys on the line are resisting his coaching methods.

Many people took this as the players were hesitant to buy into his system, but that’s not the case.

OTR did a little digging and spoke to a source who said that story isn’t news. We were told that some of the guys on the line (we won’t mention the one guy that we were specifically told) hate his guts. He’s an old school line coach who probably has a harsh coaching method and some guys don’t care for it.

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So, it’s not news to those with the team, but did that story leak out now for a reason? Is there a reason that it made it’s way to PFT now?

It could just be coincidence, but it’s entirely possible that the Eagles are greasing the PR skids in preparation for dealing with the Juan Castillo mess. Castillo was the offensive line coach for a very long time before Andy Reid inexplicably made him his defensive coordinator. It’s one of the most ridiculous moves we’ve seen by a head coach in recent memory. Seriously. Like “are you trying to get yourself fired, Andy?” ridiculous.

So, by getting this story out now about the players not responding to his coaching style, they can be preparing the public for Howard Mudd to take the fall. This is kind of conspiracy theory stuff, but it makes does make some sense. Mudd gets fired and they tell us that it just didn’t work out (the line is a mess for a variety of reasons, but he’s ultimately in charge of it). Then they can tell us that Castillo was doing a fine job as defensive coordinator, but that the team really needs him to go back and coach the offensive line now. It’s not that the move was a monumental mistake (it was), it’s just that the team needs him more as he o-line coach.

There were already rumors last week of the Eagles speaking with potential candidates to be a defensive consultant. Rumors that the Eagles denied. But, with the bye week coming up after a visit to the Washington Redskins, that makes this idea all the more interesting. When do big in-season changes tend to happen in the NFL? The bye week. It could turn into the buh-bye week in Philadelphia for some people, specifically Mudd.

And let’s be honest, do we know how good Howard Mudd really is? He’s been around the game for a long time and had tremendous success in Indianapolis with the Colts.

But, let’s look at what Mudd had in Indy:

-An offensive line that was together for quite some time and played very well together.
-A QB who read blitzes five plays before they were even called and got the ball out immediately.

The Eagles do not have any of that. They have no two linemen playing next to each other from last year. They are on their third left tackle this season if Todd Herremans does play there this week with the injury to King Dunlap. They have a rookie center and a rookie right guard. They have a free agent left guard in Evan Mathis. And, they didn’t have the benefit of offseason workouts.

Recipe for success!

And how about Michael Vick? He doesn’t read blitzes very well, he holds the ball too long and he runs after making one read. It’s not easy to block for a guy like this when you don’t know where he is at any given moment.

So, knowing these things, how can we expect Mudd to be in a position for success?

The truth is, he can’t really. It’s a bad situation that’s a part of a bunch of more bad situations that plague this football team. And the truth is, defense is probably the biggest shortcoming on this team. Actually, it definitely is. And the fact that Castillo is the defensive coordinator is one of the highlights of those problems. He needs to be removed, but simply firing him tells everyone what they already knew: “The promotion was a huge mistake that should have never been made and it may have cost us our season.”

The Eagles don’t like to do that. So if they can make sure that the stories are getting out to let the people know that Mudd is the problem, they can potentially save face in the Castillo situation.

Of course, this is pure speculation.