Eagles head coach Doug Pederson wasn’t the only one from the team to reach out to a friend on the Bears staff, with offensive coordinator Mike Groh admitting he’s done the same with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. The two coaches overlapped in Chicago in 2015. Groh’s message: “I need your best this week.”
Groh spoke to reporters on Thursday, and talked about how Carson Wentz is still contributing, and how Nick Foles has benefitted from those around him stepping up to make plays. He also talked a bit about the offensive line, and how the coaching staff has been sure that they have depth and versatility.
Here’s what the OC had to say:
On the QB situation
Head coach Doug Pederson had mentioned on Wednesday that Carson Wentz has been able to help a lot more this season during his injury, since he’s not as limited on the sideline. Groh echoed that sentiment, saying that he’s added value with their film study and has been a good sounding board for the other quarterbacks.
Later, Groh talked about how a win-loss record is a team stat, compared to a quarterback stat, and that while Nick Foles has certainly been a big factor in their recent wins, the OC credits the guys around him for making plays for him too.
Specifically on the long touchdown pass to Nelson Agholor, Groh said that Foles made the play but it was something they had built in to the game plan.
“We were looking for that specific look. You have to give him a lot of credit because he has to recognize it in that instant, get it communicated, and then the other ten guys out there have to have what we say is reflexive recall. That means it’s driven down so deep into their brain that in a moment, right, he gives one signal and they can change, switch gears from the play that was called and get into the play like they did.”
And, that specific look he mentioned, was a specific coverage.
Groh then talked a bit about Nick Foles and Alshon Jeffery having confidence in each and other and the receiver having a unique catch radius that helps in contested situations. Later on, however, Groh wouldn’t say that Foles was more likely to throw it deep than Wentz.
On the offense against Houston
Groh later was asked about the moment between him, Agholor and WR coach Gunter Brewer as the were heading into the locker room, and he said that it’s an emotional game — and that he and Agholor have a “tremendous relationship” — but Agholor zigged when Groh wanted him to zag, so they talked about it and then it was over 30 seconds later.
Later, he was asked to elaborate on his earlier comments about Agholor being somewhat of an unsung hero for the team.
“Like we talk about in a lot of weeks, sometimes the ball finds you whether you’re first in the progression or fourth in the progression. It’s hard to determine. You call a play based on the coverage that you expect to get, and often it doesn’t work that way, so you have to find answers, and that’s why there are progressions and that’s why we spend so much time practicing.
It’s a credit to him, again, as a guy who is completely committed to this team and to whatever it takes to win. He stepped up for us big, and that touchdown was huge in the game.”
The OC was also asked about Big V coming in early for Jason Peters, and Groh noted that they expect all their players to be ready when their name is called, but that it’s a credit to Big V that he was ready to step in. He continued to say that the lineman was able to play well enough to give them the opportunity to win, especially against a tough player like Jadeveon Clowney. Groh said that Big V did a good job.
Same goes for Stefen Wisniewski, with Groh crediting the coaching staff for really getting the players ready to go at various positions and giving the line a lot more depth. With Wiz, he’s able to play center or guard and adds a lot of value to the offensive line.
On Washington’s defense
Groh talked about Washington LB Ryan Kerrigan and how he’s a guy they have to be aware of on every play. He noted that Kerrigan not only is a skilled player. but also has a high motor and will play through the echo of the whistle.
Groh said that he doesn’t have any expectations of Mike Wallace as he gets back out on the practice field, and that they first need to see what he can do before they start putting a plan in place. The OC wouldn’t speculate how they might try to integrate Wallace back into the offense until they saw him work through practice.
On their playoff potential
Similar to Doug Pederson having reached out to Bears’ head coach Matt Nagy, Mike Groh admitted that he too has reached out to his former colleague, Bear’s defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. On what he said to Fangio, Groh quipped, “Need your best this week”.
Later, he admitted that Fangio probably gives his best every week and that it was said more in jest, noting that they are good friends and the Bears have had a good season.