For the first time since being named the Offensive Coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles, Mike Groh spoke to reporters on Tuesday ahead of the second set of OTAs. Since taking over as the main man in charge of the offense, Groh’s list of responsibilities has certainly grown, and he’s eager to get to work with Doug Pederson.
The new Eagles OC received glowing remarks from Pederson and quarterback Carson Wentz during last week’s OTA media session, with both raving about Groh’s fit in his new role. Pederson specifically mentioned that seeing how he and Frank Reich used to communicate and collaborate has helped Groh understand the importance of talking about everything, big and small.
The first question out of the gate was about his offensive philosophy, “Well, I think it’s our philosophy, and it all starts with coach. We want to be multiple in what we do and utilize our personnel and create matchups that we feel are advantageous for ourselves, and continue to build on what we did last year.”
This would be the trend throughout much of his 12 minutes at the podium. He talked about his relationship with Pederson, which Groh described as “excellent”, noting that the transition to OC has been smooth. Though, rightfully, he credit Frank Reich as being a great person to watch and learn from, as well as to try and emulate with his new expanded role.
He balked at the notion that there was goal of some kind last season with regards to getting Carson Wentz at least one first-down on the ground per game. This question led a little more into how Groh was planning on running the offense as the OC and how his approach may be different than last years.
“It’s not my offense, this is our offense. It all starts with coach. We’ve got tremendous coaching staff here, I’m really fortunate to be able to work with some of the best coaches in the league. So it certainly isn’t Mike’s offense. It’s Coach Pederson’s offense – the Philadelphia Eagles’ offense. Again, we’re going to work collaboratively upstairs to continue to be multiple and stay out in front of the defense as we can.”
The one thing you can take away from Groh’s first OC presser, is that he knows his role within the offense and isn’t trying to step on Pederson’s toes for power.
How will this year be different?
Most of the changes to the Eagles offense will come by way of making adjustments to support Wentz’s recovery and personnel changes at the skill position. As Groh has mentioned, this is Pederson’s offense, which means you can expect more of the same.
While it didn’t appear to be completely ironed out, Groh also expects to be on the sideline on Game Day, as Frank Reich did, versus being up in the booth. Groh said he didn’t expect any structural changes to how the organization was run last season.
He emphasized that his primary goal for the 2018 season was, “to help support coach in the same way that Frank did”. He wants to keep the Eagles offense ahead of what defenses are expecting and will add a few new surprises to the game plan throughout the season. This doesn’t mean the team will do away with RPOs, but there will continue to be a priority on being “extremely situationally aware”.
Skill player breakdown
Groh was asked about a handful of players, and how they might benefit from this year’s offseason program, as well as what he expects from them heading into the season. Doubling down on what Jim Schwartz said earlier in the day, the team (at this point, at least) is just trying to get some young guys reps and get the veterans ready for training camp.
One of the players really benefiting from OTAs is running back Jay Ajayi, who was traded from Miami mid-season. Groh relayed that Ajayi told him that it’s just great to be here in the offseason, and to be able to go through the offseason with the team. Groh lauded Duce Staley for getting Ayaji ready so quickly last season, as well.
On what Mike Wallace will bring to the Eagles offense this season, “obviously, the first things that jumps out to you about Mike is his speed,” Groh pointed out. He compared Wallace to Torrey Smith in that regard, but also noted that it’ll take the veteran WR some time to get adjusted to the scheme in Philly and how they play to move the ball around.
Groh was an integral part in Nelson Agholor having a breakout season in 2017, to which the new OC gives the receiver all the credit. He noted that Agholor was the first guy in and the last guy out since last spring, and that it was Coach Pederson’s idea to see what the wideout could do in the slot. Not only did Agholor put in the time to be successful, but perhaps more importantly, was open-minded to the things he needed to fix and then committed to doing those things.
The Eagles OC is also excited about second-year player Mack Hollins. Groh noted that he was invaluable last season, coming in and stepping up when needed, but that he’s hungry for more minutes in 2018. Hollins is everything the team was hoping for when they signed him last season, and Groh sees a lot more potential still untapped.
(Skip to the 18:00 mark in the video below to watch Groh’s press conference. Click here if you can’t see the video embed.)
EAGLES COACHES JIM SCHWARTZ AND MIKE GROH!Posted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Tuesday, May 29, 2018