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Eagles OC Mike Groh talks offensive development since the Saints game

Plus, he talked a bit about the running back rotation and Sunday’s workload.

After Jim Schwartz spoke to reporters on Tuesday, Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh took the podium and admitted Schwartz is a tough act to follow. He went on to talk about how Nick Foles and the entire offense has developed, particularly in the second half of the season, as well as how Carson Wentz continues to contribute.

Here’s what the OC had to say:

On Nick Foles

Groh was asked what about Foles makes him thrive, particularly in the postseason, on third and fourth downs. He went on to say that there’s a lot that factors into that but the quarterback made good decisions and he had really good protection, and was able to finish his throwing motion and get the ball out quickly.

Speaking about the offensive line, Groh noted that against a really good defensive front, they held up really well and did a great job protecting Foles throughout the contest. He also talked about how the receivers did a good job getting open, and they won their matchups throughout the night on the perimeter.

Later, Groh talked about Carson Wentz’s contributions on the sideline and in the film room, and the OC noted that he’s been energetic and enthusiastic to help his team. He’s also been completely supportive of Nick Foles, but he’s also really bright and has good ideas and contributes during the game on the sideline as well.

On the offense’s development

He was asked to build on Doug Pederson’s comments on Monday about this being a different team than the one that lost to New Orleans in November, and Groh agreed that they’ve improved a lot in the week’s since. Groh said of course every week there are things they want to improve, but they’ve been 6-1 since that game and he feels good about where they are offensively.

He went on to say that they know they have a tremendous challenge ahead of them, and that New Orleans has a strong defense. But, Groh noted that they are excited about the opportunity to be in the divisional round.

Since that last game against the Saints, the Eagles’ offense has been getting off to better starts and Groh also said that the defense has done a really good job getting off the field which gives them more opportunities.

Pederson had mentioned on Monday that one of the reasons they’ve been so successful against excellent pass rushers was because of Joe Osman on the practice squad, whose really helped during practice and has been giving good looks. Groh said he was excited to be asked about Joe, and said that he’s “busted his tail all season long” and is a better player because of how he approaches practice.

Groh also talked about Dallas Goedert and how quickly he’s developed as a in-line blocker — something he wasn’t asked to do much of in college — and lauded him and his position coach for getting ready and performing at such a high level so quickly.

Speaking of Goedert he also gave credit to the rookie for running a good route and making two big plays for the team on Sunday. He said it was important that the moment wasn’t too big for him in his first NFL playoff game. Goedert scored on the “fake Philly special” which was derived from the run division, and is called the “London Special” because they put it in in London.

On Saints prep

Groh was asked how facing Saints CB Eli Apple several times this season has helped with their preparation, and whether they target him specifically. He noted that Apple has been playing really well since joining the New Orleans team and they have a lot of respect for him, knowing that he’s made some big plays and has developed in his new system.

He later also said that they anticipate having to use a lot of silent counts on Sunday given the loud nature of the Superdome and the New Orleans fans.

On the run game

Early on Groh echoed his frequent sentiment that they want to be committed to the run, and later he was asked about their use of the rushers, noting that Wendell Smallwood took a lot of carries against the Bears. The OC noted that Smallwood ran really well, and strong, was able to make some guys miss and break some tackles.

He did say that Duce Staley really handles the rotation of the backs each week, and they’ve got a package for each of them so they know they have a role. Sometimes they see a guy having a hot hand and they try to feature him a bit more to keep him going.

He was then asked about Josh Adams having a reduced role the past few weeks and only one snap against the Bears. Groh said that he’s a guy they had a package for, but they weren’t in a position on Sunday to use them, and Smallwood was playing well.

The OC also noted that it was a game in which they wanted to be sure Darren Sproles had a lot of opportunities to contribute, quipping that if they didn’t get Sproles in the game much, there’d be questions about that too.

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