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Mike Groh talks familiarity with Chicago’s defense, and Eagles’ recent offensive success

Plus, the Eagles offensive coordinator talked about Alshon Jeffery’s development.

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles offense has had impressive success the past few weeks, especially against some pretty tough defenses, but they’ll have yet another test Sunday against the Bears. Offensive coordinator Mike Groh is familiar with his former squad and their coaching staff, but notes that three years is a long time for teams to evolve in football, and talked about the development of Alshon Jeffery since his time in Chicago too.

Here’s what the OC had to say:

On the Bears defense

Groh noted that Chicago’s defensive reputation precedes them and that the Eagles offense is looking forward to competing against them on Sunday.

He talked a bit about having worked with Bears DC Vic Fangio and said that his attention to detail within the scheme is impressive, and he does a good job week-to-week of breaking any tendencies they may have.

Groh did say that he hasn’t texted Fangio about this week’s game, but did tell him “thanks”.

Later on, he was asked what the key is to being successful against such a strong defense, and he noted that it’s the same as every week: they need to be efficient and not turn the ball over. He noted that they are excellent against the run, so the offensive lineman will just have to do a good job of opening lanes when they can.

On Alshon Jeffery

Groh talked a bit about working with the wideout in Chicago and how he’s developed over the past couple of seasons.

“I think certainly from just a maturity standpoint, the way he approaches each and every day and each and every practice. The way he takes care of himself, and certainly from a competitive maturity standpoint. He understands the moment and what it takes and when he has to ramp it up and when he has to make plays to help us win.”

On which of Jeffery’s catches has been Groh’s favorite, the OC mentioned his spectacular grab in the Super Bowl as the one that first comes to mind. But also noted one from either 2013 or 2014 that was pretty noteworthy too.

Groh went on to say that Jeffery’s catch radius is one of the reasons for him making such impressive grabs, as well as having really strong hands.

On Nick Foles

Groh said that the quarterback is in a groove, and that’s probably the reason he’s getting the ball out a little quicker than he used to, and also pointed to him getting good protection as well.

The OC talked about Foles’ experience in the postseason, along with many of the other offensive weapons, creates a bit of a confidence heading into the playoffs.

“I think there is an, I’ve been-there type of confidence, that Nick can carry into the game. Not only Nick, but the rest of the guys in our locker room that were part of this team last year. We know this team is not the same team we had last year, so there are guys that weren’t on that run. The guys that were, they have been there, and they can draw on that experience and that confidence, because confidence is a result of demonstrated performance, and they’ve been able to go out there and play well.”

On the state of the offense

The OC talked about the benefit to using a running back by committee approach, and said that is helps keep everyone engaged, not just on game days, but also during practice knowing that they have a role to fill.

Groh also talked about why they are having more success now, as opposed to earlier in the season and he identified several factors:

“We’ve been able to stay on schedule; we’ve been more efficient with our runs; we’ve been efficient with the passes; we haven’t been taking negatives; we haven’t had penalties to start the game that put you in a first-and-20 or something like that on an opening drive, which makes it more difficult.”

He also lauded Lane Johnson and Jason Peters playing consistently at such a high level as part of the reason for their success as well, and that a lot of teams can’t say they have that kind of talent book-ending their lines. Groh went on to say that those guys usually rise to the challenge and thrive in these high pressure situations.

Groh also pointed out why having a center like Jason Kelce — particularly when you’re going against a guy like Khalil Mack is invaluable.

“Well, you can never underestimate the value of the Jason Kelce and what he does for our offense. The poise that he plays with; his ability to be able to communicate what we want to get done. His ability to be able to recognize in an instant, get it communicated, and then everybody to be able to be in lock step with what he’s called immediately and be on the same page.

He’s invaluable to what we do offensively. And not only that, he’s just a really good football player. You can be smart, but not have the ability. He has a ton of ability to go with it, so he’s one of our team leaders and one of the reasons why we’re successful.”

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