"It's the profession we choose," said Bowles, echoing Hyman Roth in "The Godfather, Part II." "You win, you're great. You lose, you stink . . . you've gotta understand that, going in."
Bowles certainly understood it last year, when he was coaching the Dolphins' secondary and serving as assistant head coach to Tony Sparano, until Sparano was fired following a Dec. 11 loss to the Eagles. Bowles became the interim head coach and went 2-1 with a team that had been 4-9.
What did that experience teach him about quickly transitioning into a new role?
"It teaches you you have to adjust, and you have to be ready on the fly," said Bowles, a Bill Parcells protege who played eight seasons for the Redskins and 49ers after starring at safety for Temple. Former Eagles coach Ray Rhodes and ex-Eagles defensive coordinator Emmitt Thomas were among his coaching influences. "This is no different than a game plan changing at halftime, or the next week, with different players. I've been on the defensive side of the ball my whole life, so this is not a big change in that regard for me."
So, what is going to change for an Eagles defense that ranks 12th in the NFL but had trouble closing out games most of last season and the past 2 weeks of this season?
"We have to finish and win games," Bowles said. He said a Bowles defense will be "sound, disciplined, fast, hopefully opportunistic, get turnovers. We're playing hard, we're playing fast. The turnovers just haven't come. We're going to try to get more turnovers and keep the score down one point below what we have."
Bowles said he would not scrap defensive line coach Jim Washburn's wide-nine setup.
"We run a wide-nine - that's what we do. But game plan-wise, it depends on whether we do other things along with it," Bowles said.
He said he anticipated "timely pressure" from blitzing, wasn't very specific on anything. He said he would continue to use corner Nnamdi Asomugha in both man and zone coverages.
"We're as talented as anybody in the league, but we've got to work together and we've got to put it together. We've got to make sure each person's talent gets showcased, and work toward that," Bowles said. He said he hadn't decided whether to coach from the press box or the sideline on game day.
Reid said he wants to see "aggressive, emotional football."
"I expect one thing from our football team: that you play four quarters and that you never let your foot off the pedal, man. It's all-out for four quarters," Reid said.
Bowles said he had texted with Castillo, whom he said he holds in high regard. Bowles said he had not had a chance to talk with any players. He said because he presents part of the game plan every week to the entire defense, he doesn't feel he is an unknown quantity in the locker room outside the secondary.
"As much time as we're around each other, we've gotten to know each other pretty well," Bowles said.
But Eagles defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said on 94 WIP: "As a front, we really haven't gotten the chance to get to know him, as much as some of the other positions [have]. It's going to be a little new for us, as well, trying to get to know him and get to know more of the things he is about and what he likes to do."
Bowles was born in Elizabeth, N.J., played under Bruce Arians at Temple, then made the Redskins as an undrafted rookie in 1986. When the Eagles hired Bowles last January, former Redskins teammate Darrell Green told the Daily News: "Todd started as a rookie because he was a coach on the field. He was gifted that way; he was a guy who was a thinker."
Bowles began his coaching career at Morehouse in 1997, then went to Grambling, along with head coach Doug Williams, his QB with the Washington Super Bowl XXII champions. He moved back to the NFL as a defensive backs coach with the Jets in 2000, then worked for the Browns and Cowboys before going to Miami with Parcells in 2008.
Anthony Henry played cornerback for Bowles in Cleveland and Dallas. Henry, now retired in the Dallas area, said Bowles has a talent for "tapping in on what each player is good at, and bringing that together" into a coherent coverage plan for the secondary. "Guys feel comfortable with their roles and the scheme," Henry said in January.
Henry said then that Bowles' style was laid-back enough that players felt free to come in and talk to him about coverages they felt had worked well for them in the past, that he should consider, but he "did get fiery" if a plan wasn't being executed properly. He added that Bowles is not "a big yeller or cuss-out guy."
Reid acknowledged Tuesday that he wanted to interview Bowles for the Eagles' defensive-coordinator job in 2011, when Reid fired Sean McDermott, but the Dolphins refused permission. In fact, Reid pursued several people before talking himself into the notion that Castillo would be a good fit.
"I would describe him - and I say this respectfully - as a football coach. He's all-in, works hard, is smart," Reid said of Bowles. "He seems to have a good feel for the game, is a good communicator."
Contact Les Bowen at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @LesBowen.