Frank Reich

Doug Pederson gives offensive coordinator Mike Groh a vote of confidence

Doug Pederson gives offensive coordinator Mike Groh a vote of confidence

Doug Pederson said he has "a lot of trust and faith" in offensive coordinator Mike Groh, who has come under scrutiny as the Eagles' offense has struggled this season.

Groh spent the 2016 and 2017 seasons as the Eagles' wide receivers coach and then became offensive coordinator after the Super Bowl run when Frank Reich became the Colts' head coach.

The Eagles averaged 23.2 points and 352 yards per game on offense in two years under Reich and have averaged 22.6 points per game and 355 yards per game under Groh.

Pederson said he didn't know Groh before he came to Philly with him before the 2016 season but said their relationship has really blossomed.

"It's gotten a lot better," Pederson said. "I didn't really have a relationship with Mike prior to hiring him a couple years ago as a receivers coach and then really liked what I saw in that role and what he did with Frank on third downs. He was a part of the third-down menu and things like that, and now being coordinator where he and I are in dialogue all the time, during the day, on the practice field, during the games, our relationship has just gotten stronger."

Pederson said long-time offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland essentially puts together the running game and Pederson and Groh handle the passing game, and then the coaches meet later in the week to put everything together.

Stoutland, who originally came here in 2013 under Chip Kelly, now has the title offensive line/run game coordinator.

This is Groh's first coordinator job and Reich's first head coaching job.

The Colts' offense is actually averaging only one yard more per game this year than the Eagles (339 to 338) and 0.2 more points per game (22.2 to 22.0).

The Colts are 6-5 and the Eagles are 5-5.

Pederson spoke Friday about his working relationship during the week and on game days with Groh.

"Very similar to what Frank and I did," he said. "There's aspects of the gameplan where we study the whole thing, there are times when you get in the heat of the moment like those two-minute situations, where he's constantly feeding me the plays, where I don't have to look down at the sheet. He can look at the sheet, I can talk to the quarterback, where we're constantly having that conversation back and forth."

The way Pederson speaks about Groh, it sure doesn't sound like he's disappointed in his performance.

"I've got a lot of trust and faith in him," Pederson said. "As we construct these game plans together — with the run game — (there's) a lot of confidence there. It's been good."

So if you're counting on Groh getting fired after the season?

You never know. Stranger things have happened. But it sure doesn't sound like it.

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Eagles fans, don't blame Mike Groh for offensive mess

Eagles fans, don't blame Mike Groh for offensive mess

Mike Groh has gotten absolutely crushed by media and fans this year because of the Eagles’ terrible offensive performance.

I haven’t seen an Eagles assistant coach roasted like this since Dana Bible in 1998.

Bible was fired halfway through the season and replaced by Bill Musgrave, who may have been even worse.

That was 20 years ago.

Groh is an easy target. For a few reasons.

He replaced Frank Reich as Eagles offensive coordinator after the Super Bowl, and Reich is a pretty popular guy around here these days.

Reich's contributions last year helped the Eagles overcome the loss of Carson Wentz and win a Super Bowl with Nick Foles and then earned him a head coaching job with the Colts, where he’s now a Coach of the Year candidate with a high-flying offense that closely resembles the Eagles’ 2017 unit.

So Groh, the Eagles' receivers coach last year, is replacing not only a very popular coach who helped the Eagles win a Super Bowl but one whose offense in Indy has been far more productive than the Eagles' unit this year.

And, honestly, Groh hasn’t helped himself. 

He’s vague, distant and sometimes condescending in his weekly press conferences. Which really shouldn’t matter, but it’s the only glimpse of Groh’s personality that fans see, and unlike Reich — who was warm, funny and insightful in interviews — Groh does not come across well.

His comment a couple weeks ago that, “It’s been challenging to integrate” Golden Tate into the offense obviously did not go over well. Understandably. It was clearly accurate but did not reflect well on Groh and the coaching staff.

But consider Reich's history.

He was fired by the Colts after the 2011 season, by the Cards after the 2012 season and by the Chargers after the 2015 season.

And nobody was calling Reich a genius in 2016, when the Eagles averaged 20.8 points per game, converted 38 percent of their third downs and averaged 337 yards per game. 

Those numbers in Reich's first year as offensive coordinator are very similar to the Eagles' numbers in Groh's first year — 20.9 points, 39 percent of their third downs, 354 yards per game. 

So if you're going to call Groh a lousy coach because of the offense's performance in these 11 games, you have to call Reich a lousy coach, too.

But really the point of all this isn’t a defense of Groh. That’s not really the issue.

The point is that if you’re looking for a scapegoat for the Eagles’ lackluster offense, you’re blaming the wrong guy.

This is Doug Pederson’s team. This is Doug Pederson’s offense.

He created the offense. He puts together the game plan. He defines the players’ roles. He calls the plays. 

This isn’t to say Groh is going to turn into a genius overnight and get a head coaching job in a couple years and become a Coach of the Year candidate like Reich.

It’s that Pederson is ultimately responsible for everything that happens when the offense is on the field. 

The Eagles’ offense has been horrible this year. We can all agree on that.

The Eagles have surpassed 25 points only once, and it was against the Giants' 25th-ranked defense. They’re averaging a pathetic 20 points per game at home, their worst in 20 years — since that nightmarish Bible-Musgrave season that got Ray Rhodes and everybody else fired. They haven’t scored more than 21 points yet in back-to-back games.

Groh is certainly a piece of that. So is every offensive player and coach in the building.

But if you want someone to blame? 

Think back to 2016. Did you want Reich fired? Of course not.

Yet my Twitter feed from the last few days is filled with literally hundreds of calls for Groh to be fired. Immediately.

Pederson’s team. Pederson's offense. Pederson's scheme. Pederson's plays.

And when you look at how this offense has underachieved and underperformed the last three months?

Stop blaming Groh, and point your finger right at Doug Pederson.

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Is Mike Groh the right man to be Eagles' offensive coordinator?

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Is Mike Groh the right man to be Eagles' offensive coordinator?

Here are three takeaways from offensive coordinator Mike Groh’s chat with reporters on Tuesday afternoon. 

Starting too slow 

Here’s a look at the Eagles’ scoring by quarter this season: 

Q1: 21 
Q2: 59
Q3: 58
Q4: 57

One of those things is not like the other. The Eagles’ slow starts this year have absolutely killed them. Sure, they were on a crazy run of winning coin flips and deferring early in the season, but they haven’t made the most of their first-quarter opportunities and it’s just killed the entire team — offense and defense. 

“Well, we've put a lot of energy and thought into it,” Groh said. “We know it's an area that we need to improve on. We've been able to do a lot better throughout the course of the game, and it's something that if it was one thing, it would be an easy fix. But it's a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. Kind of everybody has taken a share of that. We're pointing those things out that need to be corrected. Trust me when I say this, we're spending a lot of time trying to get it fixed.”

After nine games, there’s not a lot of confidence that they’ll be able to figure this out. Doug Pederson accepted responsibility for the first 15 scripted plays not working. The first play from scrimmage on Sunday asked Zach Ertz to block Pro Bowl defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence 1-on-1. 

Groh was asked if maybe the Eagles shouldn’t have a TE blocking “one of the best edge rushers” in the league. 

“Something to consider, for sure,” Groh quipped. 

Yeah. It is. 

A Golden opportunity 

The Eagles traded away a third-round pick for eight games of Golden Tate and then played him 18 snaps (29 percent) in his debut. Pederson said it was because the offense went with tempo and Tate’s plays were out of the huddle. That’s an explanation, but not a good one. It’s crazy Tate didn’t play more. 

“We brought him here to play him a lot,” said Groh, who added that they’ll continue to build on Tate’s package of plays. 

Groh wouldn’t say who will lose time because of Tate, but said it’ll probably depend on the play. The two most obvious candidates are Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor. 

Either way, Howie Roseman traded for a guy who was supposed to help this year and then the coaching staff didn’t play him. Really, this is inexcusable. 

Are YOU the problem? 

The Eagles are scoring more 6.5 points fewer per game this season, so we’re all trying to figure out why. One reason floated more than a few time is the loss of offensive coordinator Frank Reich. 

I asked Groh on Tuesday if the transition from Reich to him has gone as smoothly as expected and if it has negatively affected the offense. 

“Well, sitting here with the record that we have, we're not pleased with where we stand, and we have aspirations to compete for the playoffs. I think that we're still in the playoff hunt, and we can do that. We've talked about some of the things that need to improve to give ourselves the best chance to do that.”

OK, so he clearly wanted no part of this question and I can’t say I blame him. It’s really hard to know how much swapping Reich for Groh has affected the offense. It’s really hard to gauge the value of an OC, especially when that role isn’t as a play- caller. But I think it’s a fair question. And I wonder how much it has hurt the Eagles this year.

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