PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Defensive line coach Jim Washburn was fired Monday, the latest shakeup for the sinking Philadelphia Eagles.
Coach Andy Reid dismissed the abrasive Washburn just hours after the team's eighth straight loss, 38-33 at the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night. Former defensive line coach Tommy Brasher will replace Washburn.
This was the third major move on defense in seven weeks. Defensive coordinator Juan Castillo was fired on Oct. 16. Two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Babin was released last week.
The Eagles (3-9) are mired in their worst losing streak since 1968 and searching for answers after opening the season with Super Bowl aspirations.
"I think it's the best thing for the Philadelphia Eagles and this football team that I made that move," Reid said. "This was a move that I made. Nobody else made this move. This isn't a move to save my job. This is a move that I think needed to be done now, and so I did it now."
Reid is assured of just his third losing season in 14 years, and could be coaching his final games in Philadelphia. Owner Jeffrey Lurie already said the Eagles needed to make "substantial improvement" after going 8-8 last year and that a similar record would be "unacceptable."
Regardless, Reid has one year left on his contract and is proceeding with important decisions. After firing Washburn, Reid said rookie Nick Foles would be the starting quarterback the rest of the season, even when Michael Vick returns from a concussion.
Washburn's dismissal wasn't entirely a surprise. Washburn was known for having a strong personality and being confrontational with other coaches. He had to be separated from offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg on the sideline during a game against New England last November.
One player, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that Washburn often was "disrespectful" to other staff members, particularly Castillo.
"I would just tell you that there were things that I was disappointed in and as time went on I just thought it was the right thing to do right now for this football team," Reid said. "It was just something that I had been pondering and working through."
Washburn was hired on Jan. 19, 2011 after 12 seasons in Tennessee where he earned a reputation as one of the top positions coaches in the NFL. The Eagles hoped his wide-nine defensive line alignment would produce plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. It did at first. The scheme helped the Eagles tie for the league lead with 50 sacks last season, but has resulted in only 20 so far this year.
Washburn's linemen accounted for 46 of those 50 sacks in 2011, including 18 from Babin and 11 from Trent Cole. But Babin had 5½ this year before he was cut last Tuesday, just 1½ years into a $28 million, five-year contract. Babin was claimed off waivers by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Washburn wasn't pleased with the decision to part with Babin and reportedly threatened to quit. So Reid fired him.