Mike Groh was probably plenty busy coaching the Eagles’ wide receivers last season, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have time to observe the dynamic among coaches.
Namely, Groh got to watch the dynamic between head coach Doug Pederson and former offensive coordinator Frank Reich, who parlayed the Eagles’ Super Bowl success into a head-coaching job with the Colts. Groh got to watch their incredibly close relationship.
Now, Groh is trying to replicate it.
“Obviously, I’ve learned a significant amount from Coach Reich,” said Groh, who was promoted to replace Reich earlier this offseason.
“He and I worked very closely together last season, and I was able to watch how he and Doug worked together. So, hopefully I was observing the right things. I obviously want to take a lot of what he did that helped us be successful. I know they're big shoes to fill, but try to fill those shoes.”
Groh, 46, thinks that year of observation is making the transition from receivers coach to offensive coordinator a little easier. He said every team operates slightly differently, so having a base knowledge of how the Eagles and Pederson operates is helpful.
Pederson grew to rely on Reich over the past two seasons and their meetings on nights before games became customary. While Pederson and Reich were briefly teammates way back in the mid-90s, Groh had never worked with Pederson until last season, when he was hired as WRs coach.
“One of the things that Mike benefitted from, really taking this role over, is being around Frank last year and being kind of tied in with Frank on how Frank thought and how Frank and I interacted and Mike's involvement with game plans and things like that,” Pederson said earlier this offseason.
“He's done a really good job filling in. He's leading the group offensively, the coaching staff, and he's on top of it. He's a sharp guy. Sharp guy. So I'm encouraged there.”
Reich certainly had influence on the Eagles’ offense, but he was sure to not overstep his boundaries. After all, it’s Pederson’s offense and Pederson who calls the plays. But going back to when Reich was hired, Pederson said they made the move because of Reich’s familiarity with a downfield passing attack.
Groh is going to have some influence too. But he’s not looking to take over.
“It's not my offense,” he said. “This is our offense. It all starts with Coach (Pederson). We got a tremendous coaching staff here. I'm really fortunate to be able to work with some of the best coaches in the league. So, it certainly is not Mike's offense. It's Coach Pederson's offense, it's the Philadelphia Eagles’ offense. Again, we're going to work collaboratively upstairs to try to continue to be as multiple and stay out in front of the defenses as we can.”
While Groh coached wide receivers in the NFL for the last five years, he said he still sees the game as a quarterback, the position he played in college and briefly as a professional.
Groh began his coaching career on his father’s staff with the New York Jets as a quality control coach. From there, he went back to the University of Virginia, where he worked his way up to offensive coordinator, a title he had for the Cavaliers from 2006-08. That was the last time he was an offensive coordinator.
“I’ve grown significantly,” Groh said. “I’d like to think I'm a lot better coach now than I was 10 years ago.”