Philadelphia Eagles must address elephant in the room with Groh

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Eagles continue to struggle on offense each week, and first-year offensive coordinator Mike Groh doesn’t appear to have any answers.

At this point, it’s hardly a secret: Mike Groh is not Frank Reich, and it’s fair to question whether or not the beleaguered Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator is even in the same galaxy as the current Indianapolis Colts head coach.

The once vaunted Eagles offense is a shell of its former self, barely resembling the unit that put up 41 points against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. No, that team is gone, replaced by a group of men that don’t seem to recognize themselves in the mirror, a group that has fallen so far from grace that it calls into question how this team was ever so dominant in the first place.

The Eagles of 2017-18 are a thing of the past. They came in like lions and went out like lambs. And while there is plenty of blame to go around, much of it falls at the feet of first-year offensive coordinator Groh.

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Groh replaced Reich when the latter accepted an offer to become the head coach of the Colts, an opportunity that few could fault Reich for pursuing. Then quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo left Philadelphia to become the OC for the Minnesota Vikings, and the Eagles were suddenly without two of the main pieces of the offensive brain trust.

But the fans didn’t fret over this, because after all, we still had Pederson, the man who brought the city it’s first Super Bowl ever in just his second year. The man who had Carson Wentz, who had transformed the offense into a creative machine, churning out deceptive run-pass-option plays and bravely going for it on 4th down at a rate that had rarely been seen in professional football.

It looked like the Eagles were about to become to new standard in the NFL. They had an MVP-caliber quarterback. They had good coaching in Pederson and Jim Schwartz. They still had Fletcher Cox, Jason Peters, Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce, and Malcolm Jenkins. Coming into the 2018 season, the team was believed to be even better than the team that had just won a thrilling Super Bowl victory. Things were looking up in Philadelphia.

And then the Eagles shockingly came crashing back down to earth, blowing fourth-quarter leads, allowing teams to march right down the field, and just playing an inferior brand of football that has resulted in a 4-6 record and a team that just looks like it’s about to pack it in for the winter.

How could this be allowed to happen? How could a team that was as potent as it was last year on offense come out this season and be so inept? One explanation is that the role that Reich played in constructing the offense was vastly underestimated last season, and there’s certainly evidence to support that theory.

Right now under Reich’s supervision, the Colts are just 5-5, but they are averaging 29.8 points per game and 36 points in their last five games, compared to the Eagles’ measly 20 points per game over the last ten. One thing is certain after watching this Eagles team for ten games: Mike Groh is not Frank Reich.

Many fans wondered last year just how involved Reich was in the offense, assuming that Pederson held majority power over scheme and play-calling. That narrative must now be called into question, as both Pederson and Groh have looked completely overmatched for a majority of the season. Frankly, this offense looks nothing like it did last year so logic would dictate that Reich’s absence has been a major detriment to the Eagle’s offensive success.

Getting back to Groh, the first year OC just seems to be out of his depth. The play-calling is vanilla at best, and the team struggles mightily to find the end zone. The offensive struggles have resulted in the Eagles being blanked in eight out of their ten first-quarters, which is mind-boggling considering the rate at which they were able to score points last year.

There are a myriad of things going wrong for the Birds right now under Groh. The offensive line, despite several players likely playing injured and with a near-done Jason Peters giving it his all, is underperforming and at times playing downright poorly in front of Wentz. Wentz did not have a great game against New Orleans, but he was under siege for a majority of the day, getting sacked four times. That is inexcusable from this O-line.

Wentz appears to be having his own struggles with accuracy, and at times, just doesn’t look like himself. It’s fair to wonder whether or not fans expected too much too soon from Wentz after coming off of major knee surgery, as he just looks like a guy that’s missed significant time away from football. But then again, he’s been one of the lone bright spots for this team and probably the only reason why they’ve won four games in the first place. The coaches need to find a way to protect their franchise player and put him in better positions to help the team.

Then there’s the running back rotation, which seems to have no rhyme or reason to which it operates. Josh Adams has been the Eagles’ best running back by far, but neither Groh nor Duce Staley appear willing to lean on him. It’s unexplainable. Against the Saints, Adams was eating up yardage on the ground, establishing the only rhythm they Eagles were able to sustain all day offensively.

One would think that on that crucial 3rd and 3 with the Eagles down 17-7, that anyone, whether it be Groh, Pederson, or Staley, would make the call to put the ball in the hands of the player that had just scored the only touchdown of the game. Unfortunately, we all know what happened next, as the Eagles elected to pass and Wentz was sacked for a ten-yard loss. That was the game right there. If you score, it’s a three-point affair, and maybe, just maybe, the Eagles find a way back in the game. Just brutal.

Then there’s the bizarre usage of recent acquisition Golden Tate. This was a move that was supposed to move the needle for the Eagles’ offense, but instead, he’s barely been used and has really been a non-factor in the two games that he’s been available. What’s even more bizarre is the recent quote (via Bleeding Green Nation) from Groh earlier today concerning the inability to get Tate more involved.

If there’s one thing you don’t want to see as a fan of a team, it’s a member of the coaching staff basically admitting that he doesn’t know how to do his job in front of the local media. Not a good look at all.

Something has to change. The Eagles offense is just far too inept right now. They were outscored 190-15 in the first quarter against the Saints, and haven’t scored a first-quarter point since the Giants game. It’s pathetic, and something needs to change, starting with Groh.

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The Eagles need to address their biggest problem right now before the season spirals further out of control. Pederson made a mistake in promoting Groh to the role of offensive coordinator, and the only way to fix the offense is to move on from Groh while the season can still be saved. It’s uncertain who would take over for Groh as OC, but the Eagles have to do something here. If they allow this level of ineptitude to continue, they don’t deserve to win another game all season.