The Eagles clearly had success in the run game on Sunday against the Bills, and offensive coordinator Mike Groh spoke on Tuesday about how that’s been established. He also talked about individual performances against Buffalo, and what they expect to see from the Bears defense in Week 9.
Here’s what the OC had to say:
On establishing the run game
“The amount of success we had the other day, is obviously a credit to those 5 or 6 guys — or really everyone that’s involved in the run game. The offensive line, starts there, the tight ends did an excellent job of blocking at the point of attack and on the back side of a lot of these runs, when the ball gets cut back to, and on the perimeter with the receivers and their blocking with the secondary.
So, there’s a lot that goes into it, a lot of things gotta go right. And, we had I think a good game plan, put a good game plan together, and the guys went out and executed really well.”
Groh agreed that they look for wrinkles each and every week, and whether they have an opportunity to use a new look or adaptation of a play — like, the Miles Sanders touchdown run on Sunday. He talked about how they’ve used a two-back presentation several times throughout the season, but it goes back to the execution, which was excellent on that play.
The OC explained that they had all 5 guys covered up at the line — he later pointed out the great job by Isaac Seumalo and Andre Dillard on this play —, and did a good job at the next level with the linebackers, in addition to Jordan Howard as the lead blocker. Groh pointed out that it showed how well-rounded of a player Howard is, as well as how unselfish he is. Plus, Sanders had the speed and great vision on that run to find the hole and go the whole way.
He went on to say that they have a lot of confidence in Sanders as a ball carrier, and he’s been making strides each and every week.
“You’re just seeing the growth of a young player whose got a really bright future.”
Sanders’ early-season fumbles were brought up, and Groh said that the rookie is very conscientious and very prideful, and took those turnovers really personally. Since then, protecting the football has become a priority.
Later on, Groh talked about how they are very cognizant of sharing the carries between Sanders and Howard, and have always taken a running back by committee approach.
On Zach Ertz and his production
Groh was asked if they put special emphasis to try and get the ball to the veteran tight end early in games, or if the ball is going to find whoever it finds. The OC noted that both were true. First and foremost though, he knows how much the team and winning means to Ertz, so the tight end puts that above his individual stats.
“But we certainly are trying to utilize his skillset. He’s a big part of the reason why we win. I think we had him as a primary target, certainly in the first 8 passes that were called in the game, and the ball just didn’t go there. And sometimes that’s the way football goes, and I think he understands that.
I think if he is frustrated — which he hasn’t expressed to me — but, if he is, it’s only because he knows he can help up win games.”
On Carson Wentz’s performance
The offensive coordinator talked about how Wentz handled the elements really well on Sunday. He helped the team win (“17 of 24 if I’m not mistaken”) amid some difficult — windy — situation. Groh said the QB did a great job managing the game in a tough environment, on the road, and getting everything communicated at the line of scrimmage.
“I thought he had great command of the offense, both in the huddle and with his decision making — when to tuck it and run, get himself down, keep himself out of harms way, extend drives. Really productive game for him.”
On the Bears’ defense
Groh mentioned that they played the Bears back in January, so they have recent history with them. He went on to say that they know how talented that group is, and that the front seven is “dynamic” and can wreck the game. Plus, they do a good job with their scheme to free those guys up and keep them from being double-teamed.
The OC pointed out that obviously Khalil Mack gets a lot of the headlines, but they’ve got several really good players in there. The linebackers also do a good job in the run game and creating matchup issues with running backs. Plus, they’re good on the backend, with Kyle Fuller whose snagged a lot of interceptions over the past few years.
“So, they’re very talented and got a great scheme.”
Groh also noted that they move Khalil Mack around but they are likely to see the matchup of him against rookie Andre Dillard. He mentioned they just have to be aware of where Mack is, and try to minimize his impact as best they can.
He said that scheme-wise there are some differences with Chuck Pagano, but there are a lot of familiar faces as back in January.