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Mike Groh talks DeSean Jackson’s return and Jordan Howard’s improved pass-catching

Plus, the Eagles’ OC briefly evaluate his first year as coordinator.

After Eagles’ DC Jim Schwartz spoke to the media on Tuesday, offensive coordinator Mike Groh took the podium for the first time this offseason to talk a bit about the newest roster additions, what he’s seen from Carson Wentz and what he learned from his first season as OC.

Here’s what he had to say:

On the new roster additions

Groh was asked about Miles Sanders, and the OC noted that the rusher’s versatility is really good, and he’s really good between the tackles and has the ability to make somebody miss, along with his ability out in space. He also noted that he’s got good hands, and ultimately thinks Sanders is a good addition to the team.

The OC also talked about DeSean Jackson, saying that obviously they think he’s a special player and is someone who fits their system very well. Jackson is also a great compliment to the other weapons they have on roster, and will be a big part of what they do this fall.

Later on, Groh said that you coach everyone a little bit differently, but Jackson has been a joy to be around and it makes their jobs a little easier since he is present. They’re able to look at different options for him and what plays work well, opposed to waiting until training camp to get some of that worked out.

He said that they are happy with the players they have throughout the different position groups, and is happy with what they should be able to do schematically. In terms of what he’s looking for at this point in OTAs, Groh noted personal development. Eventually they’ll start looking more at the individuals starting to gel as a group and becoming more situationally aware.

In terms of trying to utilize 12-personnel sets and having two quality tight ends — not to mention three experienced wide receiver on the depth chart ahead of rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside — Groh was asked what he sees for the tall draft pick. Groh noted that last year they saw a bit of a revolving door at wideout, and it’s hard to go the entire season with just 5 guys, so it’ll evolve a bit as they go along. They really like JJAW as a player and are excited to have him on the roster.

On Carson Wentz this offseason

Groh said that just for Wentz, getting back out there is important, especially in May and starting to develop that continuity and chemistry with his teammates.

“He’s doing great, he’s doing excellent.”

He also noted that Wentz wasn’t out there with the team at this point last year, so having him available is a bonus and being able to work with all the different offensive position groups is a big deal. Groh also said that being on the field is a big advantage when looking at film and being able to adjust based on feel rather than just what’s on tape.

Regarding the QB room overall, Groh said that the chemistry has been excellent with the new guys over the past three weeks. He said they’re all very professional and there’s a lot of collaboration among the group. Nate Sudfeld specifically is excited about the opportunity to compete for the No. 2 spot and is working really well with the guys in between plays and on the sideline, and really embracing his role.

On the running backs

Groh pointed out that Jordan Howard has already improved with catching the ball, and he’s done a good job catching the all on the screens and the running back check-thrus. He can tell that the rusher has been working on it.

He was asked about how important the backs being utilized in the passing game is to the offense and scheme, and Groh noted they’re important and they’ve talked a lot about the type of weapons they have at the position. The OC also pointed out that’s how they used Darren Sproles in the past and got a lot of production out of it.

Groh couldn’t however say whether Darren Sproles would be coming back or officially retiring, noting that the media would have to ask him directly — he doesn’t want to speculate on that.

On his first year as OC

When asked to evaluate his performance as offensive coordinator last season, Groh said that they didn’t win the Super Bowl which was the ultimate metric. He said that’s what they’ve been working toward all offseason and they look forward to being back on the field toward that same goal.

He said he could go on for hours about all the different things he’s learned from Year 1, and there were a lot that came at them throughout the season that they had to adjust to, but going into Year 2 and adding new talent is exciting.

Other notables

Groh said that to the best of his knowledge they didn’t really work Big V at guard last offseason, but this year they are cross-training him at the position. He went on to say that now is a good time for V to get that experience, given he’s now had quite a bit of experience at tackle and feels comfortable at scheme and communicate all the calls.

He was asked about having to spread the ball around to so many playmakers, but he noted that what makes it fun to come to work everyday is that all these players really just want to win, and they understand that they might have to share the football.

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