If this is the beginning of the end for Andy Reid, the process has not been smooth or easy. The Eagles have played only six games, but the season has taken an obvious and significant toll on the organization’s long-time head coach.
You can see it on his face. You can hear it in his remarks.
More than that, you can tell by his actions.
Reid didn’t look or sound like himself after the Eagles lost to the Detroit Lions. In his day-after press conference on Monday, his words were hushed, as though he was trying to address the media while one of his hulking, underproductive linemen sat on his chest. He seemed physically and emotionally drained as he informed the assembly that he would “tear everything apart” during the bye week. He wasn’t kidding.
On Tuesday, Reid fired his friend and defensive coordinator, Juan Castillo.
"I think we all know how much I care about Juan Castillo as a person and as a football coach," Reid said. "Tremendous football coach, tough worker, has a great family. I know he's going to continue to do great things in the National Football League.
"However, I also have always said that I'm going to do what I think is best for the Philadelphia Eagles, and at this time I think this move is the best. "
Reid, who is clearly fond of Castillo, said it was "one of the tougher things I've had to do as a head football coach.” For that and so many other reasons, the decision was surprising. It makes you wonder whether Reid is concerned about his job.
Changing a coordinator in the middle of a season is often interpreted as panic. That’s the sort of image Reid has worked hard to avoid during his career. In 14 years with the Eagles, he had never dismissed one of his coaches during the season – until now.
Letting Castillo go with 10 games to play was also an admission by Reid