So, what went wrong with the Philadelphia Eagles and Mike Groh?
Once upon a time, there was this overwhelming narrative that Philadelphia Eagles fans were among the smartest in all of the professional sports. While that may still be true, every once in a while you can find a few that make you question whether or not that theory is still accurate.
Just hang out on social media for an hour or so if you disagree. You’ll get your daily take on why Carson Wentz can’t play, why Doug Pederson can’t coach, and why Howie Roseman has no clue about how to be a general manager.
Sure, there are arguments to support and debunk all of those theories, but in reference to Pederson and Roseman, the long and the short of everything is this. Roseman isn’t terrible, but he has some severe deficiencies with his talent evaluation process.
Pederson has, at times, been guilty of the same thing but for a different reason. He’s had to hold his roster together with nuts and bolts, but he wins anyway. Where he should put guys isn’t his issue. Who he should hire to help him lead these men is. He needs to learn how to hire assistant coaches and where he should put them. Look no further than the curious case former Eagles wide receivers coach and offensive coordinator Mike Groh.
Here’s why Groh ultimately failed with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Evaluation is a tricky thing, and oftentimes, it’s subjective. That’s why fans can’t get on the same page about Wentz. That’s why people who can play Madden believe they’d be better play-callers the Pederson. That’s why it’s so easy to find people who believe they can sit in the Eagles’ general manager chair and do a better job than Howie.
To maintain long-term success, Coach Pederson is going to have to learn how to craft a better group of assistants. Let’s do some inventory. The jury is constantly out on his defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz (speaking of subjective opinions), but regardless of what happens or what the results are, Coach seems to be married to the guy. There is no offensive coordinator. There have been four different wide receivers coaches in each of Doug’s first four years at the helm (and they’ll be another wide receivers coach in his fifth).
Here’s what’s strange though. So far, the best one he’s had has been the man he just fired from the O.C. position, Mike Groh.
Philly’s former offensive coordinator held down the role of their wide receivers coach in 2017. Under his watch, everyone contributed in some form or fashion, Alshon Jeffery blossomed, and Nelson Agholor had his best season as an Eagle. Groh was promoted to the O.C.’s chair one year later as Frank Reich left to be the head man of the Indianapolis Colts.
From day one, it was obvious that Groh appeared to be in over his head. Why? Well, it’s quite simple obviously. Pederson, like Roseman, has some issues with his evaluation process. Groh never had the ability to be an offensive coordinator. He’s an excellent wide receivers coach. Nothing more. Nothing less. If you’ll notice, Reich just hired him to do that job in Indy.
Self-evaluation is a part of it. So is the fact that Doug should know what his coaches can and can’t do. Coaches have to be examined just like coaches, and Groh clearly wasn’t an O.C. He shouldn’t have been allowed to wear the title before anyone saw that though. Sometimes, guys are what they are, and if all Groh was meant to be was a wide receivers coach, there’s nothing wrong with that.
There is some good news here. Heading into 2020, Philly has what might be the best group of coaching assistants we’ve seen during the Pederson era. Aaron Moorehead may finally drive a wedge in that revolving door at wide receivers coach. Marquand Manuel could wind up being the best defensive backs coach this team has had, and again, there’s no offensive coordinator, but they have senior offensive assistant Rich Scangarello and a man Eagles fans should know well, newly hired senior offensive consultant Marty Mornhinweg.
Pederson is good at what he does, but a coach is nothing without the right group of assistants. That falls squarely on the shoulders of “Dougie P”. Coaching isn’t about the players alone. One has to know what his coaches are capable of. There was a misread on Groh, but both he and the “Birds” might wind up being in a better position because of it.