Mike Groh: ‘We’re not happy with the results that we’ve gotten’
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - Mike Groh didn't exactly jump on his sword for Carson Wentz but the Eagles offensive coordinator did provide the kind of protection for the embattled quarterback that the offensive line couldn't in an ugly 17-9 loss to Seattle on Sunday.
“We’re in this together," Groh insisted. "It’s not anybody’s fault. It’s not just one individual’s fault. It’s all of us, I’m accountable for it all. So we all gotta do better."
Groh probably doesn't have enough fingers to point at everyone culpable in the setback to the Seahawks. The aforementioned offensive line struggled mightily without Lane Johnson and after losing Brandon Brooks early to an anxiety attack while the receivers were busy overshooting their landmarks and making things more difficult for Wentz.
All that said, however, it's fair to say that Wentz did not handle the advesity well, especially when it came to ball security and his mechanics, which broke down as the Seahawks pass rush was bearing down.
In many ways it's been a season of recalibration when judging the Eagles with preseason Super Bowl hopes downgraded to attempting to make Week 16 against Dallas a meaningful game for the NFC East title. Perhaps, it's now also time to realize that Wentz's ceiling isn't Aaron Rodgers-like where you elevate the lesser around you and more in tune to a typical "good" QB, where things only click when everything else around the signal caller is performing at an optimal level.
Groh conceded that taking care of the football has to be a point of emphasis for Wentz moving forward after a three-fumble and two-interception game against Seattle.
Early this season Wentz had seemed to solve a fumbling issue, going six weeks without putting the football on the turf. Since then the floodgates have opened with eight fumbles in the last five games.
“I think we just gotta keep two hands on the ball in the pocket,” Groh admitted. “When you start to feel pressure, obviously he’s really good at escaping, but being able to keep two hands on the ball, protect it against your chest and lock it up until you do break out of the pocket.”
Both Johnson and Brooks are expected back against Miami this Sunday immediately turning what was a disaster against the Seahawks into a strength again. When you couple their presence and the lack of talent for the Dolphins, Wentz should have every opportunity to start rebuilding what has looked like wavering confidence.
“The other day, there was a lot of push in his face," Groh explained. "It’s not like you’re able to throw off a pitcher’s mound every time. When he’s got room to complete a throwing motion, he’s still Carson Wentz.”
Nelson Agholor (knee) spoke briefly Tuesday and hopes to return in South Florida while Doug Pederson continues to insist Alshon Jeffery (ankle) is trending positively. Lead running back Jordan Howard (shoulder) remains iffy until he's actually cleared for contact.
On more than one occasion vs. Seattle -- rookies J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Miles Sanders, as well as recent practice-squad promotion Greg Ward -- weren't where they were supposed to be when running routes, making Wentz look worse than he really was.
“We need more time together,” Groh said. “There have been some moving parts there, so hopefully we’re trending toward getting guys healthier and guys who have been in the huddle and on the field together more.”
The Eagles have one last opportunity to get it right against three struggling two-win teams in Miami, followed by the New York Giants, and Washington.
If they take care of business against the have-nots that Week 16 game against Dallas at Lincoln Financial Field will be meaningful. If they don't perhaps new offensive coaches will be running interference for the face of the franchise next season.
"We have to get back out there today, pull our sleeves up, and get to work," Groh assessed. "We’re not happy with the results that we’ve gotten."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen