Eagles’ offensive coordinator Mike Groh spoke to the media on Tuesday following the loss to the Patriots. He discussed the offense and their struggles against New England, as well as Nelson Agholor, Jay Ajayi, and Carson Wentz.
Here’s what the offensive coordinator had to say:
On the offense against the Patriots
“We left a lot of plays and a lot of yards out on the field. Certainly, there are some things we need to make corrections on — which we did today — and I think from each position group, to the coaching staff, we’re all accountable for things we need to improve on in order to play the kind of football we want to play. In order to play the kind of football you need to play in order to beat a good team like the Patriots.”
On the wide receivers
Groh was asked about him spending more time with the receiver group in practice recently, but he noted that he always tends to gravitate in that direction with his background.
Nelson Agholor’s drop in production since 2017 was pointed out, but Groh said that wasn’t entirely fair to say. The OC explained that over the past two years, Agholor has worn a lot of different hats for the offense due to the attrition at the position, and his incredible understanding of their system and his mental flexibility.
“I would say that over the last two years, he’s had to wear a lot of different hats in our offense due to the attrition at the position, and one of his strengths is his mental flexibility and his ability to learn. He knows the entire system as well as anybody. So, he’s able to handle a lot from that standpoint.
But the flipside of that coin is that then he gets moved around. In 2017 he was really able to really just kind of stay in one spot each and every week. We were healthy the entire year and we had the same three, four guys rotating and performing the same job.
His job description has changed over the last couple years due to necessity, and I understand the question, but to me he’s still the same player.”
But, the flip side to that, is that Agholor is moved around a lot more than back in 2017, where he lined up mostly at the same spot. Plus, they were healthy at the position and had the same 3 or 4 guys rotating and performing the same jobs. Agholor’s job description has changed over the past few years.
Groh later confirmed that Agholor is still filling the role he did in 2017, but that he’s just used in additional areas as well.
He also said that Greg Ward does a really good job in practice and makes a few plays every days. Ward is a guy they have a lot of confidence in should they need to call on him at some point — Groh doesn’t know when that will be, but Ward will be ready when/if it does.
On Jay Ajayi
“He did a nice job in our workout, but we haven’t been on the field with him, really since then. We’re excited to have him back and, obviously, get him integrated here starting tomorrow.”
On being an innovative offense
It was pointed out that a couple years ago, the Eagles’ offense was fresh and innovative, and with the league catching up since then, Groh was asked how they go about keeping it new and forward-thinking.
“In general, you have to stay one step ahead of the posse, if you will. Whether you’re talking about in those critical situations or just your general offensive structure, trying to do things differently, but still maintain the same order for the guys that were here so you’re not re-making yourself all the time.
But, you have to find new and fresh ways to do old things. And that’s part of the challenge. In addition to that, you gotta solve problems that the defense presents every week, and that’s why we spend so much time in here to figure those things out.”
On Carson Wentz
Groh was asked how they evaluate Wentz’s performance given so many injuries and missing skill players. The OC noted that they have to factor that in, but regardless of who is in the game, they have a high standard of performance.
Whether we’re talking about guys that aren’t in at receiver or right tackle or running back or whoever they may be, we’re preparing and we’re practicing to go play our best football and to go play winning football, and we didn’t get that done. We’re obviously very disappointed in that, but it certainly wasn’t for lack of effort. We’re going to go back and we’re going to work harder this week than we did last week. You have to give the Patriots a lot of credit. They did a nice job, they have a good team, they have a good defense, but we certainly expect to perform better than we did.
He also agreed with head coach Doug Pederson that one of the learning points for Wentz from Sunday’s game is to take what the defense is giving you at certain times rather than to try and force something to happen.
We certainly never want to take away from his spontaneity and his creativity and his ability to extend plays and make plays with his legs, and once he gets out of the pocket finding guys downfield. That’s when a lot of explosive plays happen. And he’s done that throughout the course of the season. He’s been able to do that.