Mike Groh got a pass last year, but Eagles OC may be on the hot seat

Mike Groh
Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh on the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018 in Philadelphia. (Perry Knotts via AP)

2018 was a rollercoaster for the Eagles offense. Carson Wentz would miss the opening two games of the season, efficiency would be sporadic, and the Eagles traded for Golden Tate at the deadline, adding a third slot receiver to the team and prompting Mike Groh’s infamous quote about it being difficult to implement him. For what it’s worth, he should absolutely get a pass for his first year as an offensive coordinator…but this year, not so much.

Forget the battle of having to adjust an offense to two quarterbacks, account for key injuries, curveball trades, and a weak backfield. The Eagles came into this year with so much momentum that the idea of starting the season with a 3-4 record felt almost sickening to fans. But here we are.

It’s not all on Groh by any means, but the offense is showing the same patterns as it did last year.

After ranking 6th in rushing attempts per game in 2017, the Eagles ranked 21st in Mike Groh’s first season as offensive coordinator. By the time the emphasis had been placed, it felt as though it was too little, too late. This year however, they rank 7th, averaging 4 yards per carry in an offense that has a definite sense of balance. But that’s where the positives come to an end.

4.4 first quarter points. That’s the average through 7 games. Sure, it’s up from the measly 3.2 last year, but the fact remains that whatever the opening script consists of, it doesn’t work. Three-and-outs early on and basic errors set the Eagles back from the second the green flag drops and from there, it becomes an uphill battle. Oh, and they’re scoring an average of 1.8 first quarter points per game on the road.

Then, there are the questionable play-calls. Running into an eight-man box on third and four from within your own 20, running routes short of the sticks/ pushing the ball behind the line of scrimmage on a crucial down, oh, and screens to Alshon Jeffery.

Doug Pederson may be the man calling the plays, but the voice in his ear is someone that has grown in this system. There’s no outside experience he can draw on to bring new ideas and initiatives to the offense, nothing he’s learned elsewhere as a Head Coach or a coordinator. Just a brief stint with Chicago and LA. That’s not a bad thing…if the offense is firing on all cylinders, but it’s not.

Right now, you can make the case to fire Groh. The scoring may be there but only in correlation to having to throw from behind every single game. But the issue in doing that, is his replacement, at least immediately, would likely be Duce Staley, who is already the assistant head coach. There may be a few subtle tweaks here and there, but for the most part, it’s easy to imagine the offense staying the same.

Groh has earned so much praise for his attention to detail that it makes it difficult to willingly pull the trigger without knowing exactly what his role consists of. Would a new subordinate to Pederson, regardless of previous experience, endure the same fate? Groh has received glowing praise from the players he’s worked with, but that may not be enough to save him.

The Eagles offense looks stale, without rhythm, and vulnerable. To make things worse, games against the Buffalo and Chicago defenses lie ahead. Unless there is some overwhelming offensive turnaround, it’s 100% reasonable to expect Groh’s place on the hot-seat to get very warm, very quickly, with the Eagles needing to do something, anything, to keep this season alive.

Mandatory Photo Credit: Perry Knotts via AP

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