The Eagles’ offense wasn’t exactly up to par on Sunday against the Jets. Offensive coordinator Mike Groh spoke to the media on Tuesday about their performance, on the use of 12 personnel and what they expect from the Vikings in Week 6.
Here’s what the OC had to say:
On the offense vs. the Jets
Groh was asked why they only had 2 tight ends active on Sunday, and the offensive coordinator said that was a really good question for head coach Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman. He said they feel confident with Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, as well as the receivers and running backs they have available.
He said the Jets deserved a lot of credit for slowing down the offense, and Gregg Williams does a good job scheming. He said there were times they were setting the edge, bringing perimeter pressure, and then stunting away from it which makes it more challenging to get the ball to the outside.
“We did a good job at times, and others, there’s plays we’d like to have back and do a little bit better.”
Groh talked a bit about how they’ve adjusted without DeSean Jackson, noting that he’s obviously a dynamic player, and while they are comfortable with the guys they have available, they look forward to the day he’s available again.
He was asked how they can get the downfield passing game going in Jackson’s absence, Groh mentioned that they got behind defenders twice on Sunday, but had illegal contact on both plays that negated those opportunities.
Related, Groh was asked about Nelson Agholor getting about 90% of snaps but only a few targets.
“Well, he’s doing everything we ask him to do. I got the question about the down-the-field throws and he’s gotten behind the defense and was knocked off his route twice the other day, otherwise maybe he’s got two touchdowns and we’re sitting here going, “Holy cow, what a game.”
It’s just little things like that that impact the stat line a little bit, but he’s doing a lot of things behind the scenes, as he always does. He’s a tremendous teammate, unselfish player, and one of the glues to the offense.”
On 12 personnel vs. 11
It was pointed out that with Dallas Goedert healthy, they’ve been calling a lot more 12 personnel. Groh was asked if this was a long term shift in scheme, or if it’s game-to-game. He said they obviously feel good about Goedert and feel good about him along with Zach Ertz, and they have confidence in that group in both the passing game and protection.
The OC noted that’s a personnel group you’ll likely see throughout the season, but that they’ll also make adjustments each week based on the opponent.
Rookie receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside only got about two snaps against the Jets, but Groh said that his role is week-to-week and that he’s a player they are developing. He’s ready to step in as needed — like he did earlier this season — but with Goedert healthy and them using 12 personnel more, reducing the role of the third wide receiver.
On Jordan Howard
“You can just tell he’s an experienced runner. He’s obviously really strong with the ball in his hands, he’s decisive, he’s got good vision. Shows the ability to stick his foot in the ground and then he pushes the pile, he’s generally falling forward for additional yards, rarely knocked back. He’s a strong runner. Brings that tenacity to our offense.”
On Carson Wentz
Groh was asked about Wentz’s impressive 1.1% interception percentage this season, and he credits that to his experience level and understanding of the offense. The OC said that Wentz has played at a really high level so far this season and they expect that to continue.
“I think he’s doing a great job of taking care of the ball, not forcing the issue, and being smart. It’s not always the most fun. When you can stick one of those balls in there, those are the kind of balls that can get you really excited, get the juices flowing a little bit, but understanding when to take those shots and when to dump it off I think says a lot about where he is at with his game.”
He also talked about how Wentz’s ability to assess what the defense is doing at the line of scrimmage, process it, and disseminate that information to the offense is “unique”. That skill that he’s developed gives them a lot of confidence in his to make changes at the line, and that added responsibility has put them in some good situations thus far.
On Corey Clement
Now that Darren Sproles is sidelined, Groh was asked what kind of role Clement might have in the offense — a role that has been really limited this season, with the running back getting most of his snaps on special teams.
“I think we’ll just have to figure that out as we go. We like to mix all the backs in there and keep them fresh. I have a lot of confidence in Corey, in all phases. In protecting the quarterback and running the ball or as a receiver out of the backfield. He can do all three of those things well for us, and I know he’ll be ready when his number is called.”
On prepping for the Vikings
Groh called Mike Zimmer the Godfather of the AA gap and it’s something that he says still shows up every time they play Minnesota.
“He’s got the full complement of pressures. His defense, those guys are veterans in that defense. They’ve been running his defense for a long time now. With the guys that he has, the talented group that he has, they can get a lot of pressure on you just with their front four, so they don’t need to bring the overload blitz as you call it too often, but they have your attention with the front four, and then they have the exotic blitz package that Coach Zimmer is known for.”
He talked a bit about utilizing Andrew Sendejo who played for the Vikings for a good portion of his career. Groh noted that the safety knows their play calls and there might be some things here and there that he’s able to remember.