The Eagles are getting back to work after a much-needed break through Week 9, and that includes offensive coordinator Mike Groh spending some time talking to reporters on Monday afternoon.
He spent the majority of the time talking about Golden Tate and what he brings to the offense, as well as what it means for the guys on IR who might be hoping to get back this season.
Here’s what he had to say:
On Golden Tate and what it means for the offense
Groh said that Tate has been doing a good job learning the playbook, and today being the first day they were back from bye, they’ve jumped into the deep end. He went on to say that Tate is a veteran player whose played in different systems, which should help him associate things the Eagles are doing with things he’s familiar with.
The OC talked about how the coaching staff has looked over his tape from the past few years, and are trying to set a foundation of things Tate knows and does well, and then build from there.
He was asked how Tate would fit into the receiver-heavy offense, and whether adding another weapon at that spot was indicative of a greater trend throughout the NFL. Groh noted you want to have as many weapons as you can, and spreading people out forces opposing defenses to figure out how they want cover.
He also said that they believe Tate’s skill set is very complimentary with the guys they had on roster, and that the coaches just have to work him into what they’re doing.
Groh was then asked what Tate does well. He pointed out that Tate is very competitive and he’s got excellent play strength, and said we’re all aware of his stats after he gets the ball in his hands and they are excited about the dimension he brings to the Eagles offense.
Groh also talked about the balance between trying to get Tate going with the offense as quickly as they can, while also trying not to overload him. He said that they can’t spoon-feed him all the way, but they do need him to play fast when he gets in there, but they’ll rely on Tate to let them know when he can take on more.
The OC was asked how Tate’s skills compliment and/or mirror Nelson Agholor, and Groh pointed out that they are both dynamic players — of which you want as many as you can get on the field. But while they do have similar things they do well, he sees them having different types of games. He went on to say that’s what the coaches are working on now, is how to put that all together.
He later talked about Tate’s success against Dallas earlier this season, but said they’d be watching the Detroit-Dallas tape regardless to prepare for Sunday’s game, so they won’t be running certain plays just because they worked for Tate a few weeks ago.
Groh was asked how Tate’s addition would affect some of the players they are hoping to return in the second half of the season — like Darren Sproles, Mike Wallace and Mack Hollins. He admitted that they hope to get those guys back at some point, but that they aren’t looking ahead and will cross that bridge when they get to it.
He went on to say that they did talk to the guys in the locker room about adding Tate, but that one of the good things about this group is that the most important thing is to win. He noted that they all can see that Tate is a good player and can bring something to help them achieve their goals — rather than be focused on if that means fewer targets their way.
On the running backs
One of the non-Golden Tate questions for Groh was regarding Corey Clement only having 12 carries the past three games and whether it was injury or play related. Groh admitted sometimes that’s just football — sometimes it’s the luck of the draw with whether rushers are able to break tackle or find a hole to advance.
Groh went on to say though, that Clement is doing everything that the coaches are asking of him, and that he’s a big part of the special teams unit and has been contributing there. He went on to say that he doesn’t see a guy whose struggling, but just hasn’t had the kind of breakout game they hope he’ll have.
Later he was asked about Josh Adams’ performance against the Jaguars, and Groh said that he did a lot of good things, but that he does need to protect the ball better. He went on to say that Adams has good size and runs downhill and is able to make guys miss — which is impressive for a guy over six feet — and also noted that Adams has good hands out of the backfield, and has been on his assignments from a protection standpoint.
On confidence in Big V
Groh didn’t hesitate to say he’s got a lot of confidence in Big V, noting that he went in for them last game and played really well for them. He went on to celebrate all the other guys who either came in due to injuries or moved around the line when Lane Johnson (and briefly Jason Peters) went out. So overall, that’s a group he has a lot of confidence in as a whole.
On Dallas prep
Groh noted that the Cowboys defense has done a good job keeping points down, and that they have a few guys up front who can create some pressure, particularly on the edges with their defensive lines, and have quick linebackers.