Mike Groh

Extra Points: Brown, Olsen, Lewis, Colts

Marvin Lewis is back in the coaching ranks. Doug Haller of The Athletic reports (via Twitter) that the former Bengals head coach has been named co-defensive coordinator at Arizona State.

Former defensive coordinator Tony White left for a new gig at Syracuse, providing an opening for Lewis. He’ll coach alongside fellow co-defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce.

After being fired by the Bengals following the 2018 season, Lewis joined his buddies Ray Anderson and Herm Edwards at ASU. He served last season as a special advisor, and the 61-year-old had said he didn’t intend to coach again. Despite his declaration, Lewis met with the Cowboys about their head coaching vacancy back in January.

While Lewis didn’t help the Bengals achieve any playoff success (0-7 in seven appearances) during his 16 years in Cincy, he did finish his tenure with a 131-122 record. Those 131 victories are the most all-time among Bengals coaches, while his seven playoff losses without a win is an NFL record.

Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFL…

  • When Greg Olsen was released by the Panthers, it was described as a mutual parting. However, the veteran tight end said he would have been open to returning to Carolina in 2020. “I told them all along that if they wanted me back…obviously I would have been back,” the veteran said (via WFNZ-AM/FM on Twitter). “The ‘mutual parting’ might have been a little overblown. The reality was…they weren’t going to bring me back…I understood it but I didn’t force my way out of here.”
  • We learned this past weekend that former Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh was joining the Colts coaching staff. NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweets that the 48-year-old will be Indy’s new wide receivers coach. Groh was a natural fit for the Colts, as he actually replaced current Colts head coach (and former Philly offensive coordinator). Frank Reich in 2018. Kevin Patullo, who previously held the role of wide receivers coach, will remain on the staff in a different role.
  • Marquise Brown had a standout rookie campaign for the Ravens, but ‘Hollywood’ was battling an injury throughout the season. ESPN’s Jamison Hensley writes that the first-rounder never fully healed from a foot injury suffered earlier in the year. Despite the ailment, Brown still finished the season having hauled in 46 catches for 584 yards and seven touchdowns, leading quarterback Lamar Jackson to compare him to one of the NFL’s top receivers. “Even though he was hurt with his foot, he still felt like he should be Julio (Jones) already,” Jackson said. “I told him, ‘Bro, you’re good. Your foot not already 100 and you’re making plays.’ This year, he’s going to be dangerous.”

Mike Groh Joins Colts Coaching Staff

Mike Groh has found a new gig. Less than a month after getting canned as the Eagles offensive coordinator, the 48-year-old has joined the Colts coaching staff, reports SiriusXM’s Alex Marvez (via Twitter).

The connection with the Colts makes sense, as Groh replaced current Colts head coach (and former Philly offensive coordinator) Frank Reich in 2018. The Eagles offense was about middle-of-the-road during Groh’s two seasons at the helm, an impressive feat considering the injuries the offense has dealt with.

While Carson Wentz has mostly been healthy (besides brief injuries that led to Nick Foles and Josh McCown making their way into the lineup), the same couldn’t be said of the receivers corps. After starting six different wideouts in 2018, Groh had to turn to nine different starters in 2019. The team’s running backs have also dealt with their share of injuries, meaning the only consistent besides Wentz was tight end Zach Ertz. Despite all of this context, the Eagles still fired Groh in early January.

Groh spent a number of years at Virginia, eventually working his way up to offensive coordinator. He later moved on to Alabama and Louisville before joining the Bears as their receivers coach. He held that role for the Rams (2016) and Eagles (2017) before earning the offensive coordinator promotion in Philly.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Fire OC Mike Groh

The Eagles have fired offensive coordinator Mike Groh, according to a team announcement. The club also canned wide receivers coach Carson Walch, giving them multiple openings to address on the staff. 

After much consideration and discussion, I have decided to make a change at the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach positions. It was not an easy decision for me to make and I appreciate everything that Mike Groh and Carson Walch contributed to the organization and to my staff. As I said yesterday, they were a big part of our success down the stretch this past season. This is one of the most difficult parts of the job and something that weighs on me, but ultimately I have to make decisions that I believe are in the best interest of the football team moving forward,” head coach Doug Pederson said.

Previously, Pederson indicated that both coaches would return for 2020. But, after meeting with each of them, he’s opted to make a change.

Groh took over as offensive coordinator in 2018 after Frank Reich left for the Colts’ head coaching job. When Groh moved up, Walch took over his former post as wide receivers coach. Unfortunately, they didn’t have much to work with this year as injuries decimated their WR group. Regardless, Pederson wanted to go in a different direction.

Quarterbacks coach Press Taylor, who drew some OC interest last year, would be a logical candidate for the job, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. The Eagles are one of three NFL teams with definitive OC vacancies, joining the Bears and Panthers. The Browns, Giants, and Panthers may also be in the hunt for new coordinators in the coming days.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles Notes: Schwartz, WRs, Groh, Staff

In a rookie receiver class that included big seasons from A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, Terry McLaurin and others, the Eagles did not get much from second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. The Stanford prospect caught 10 passes for 169 yards, even as the team losing each of its starters created consistent opportunities. The Eagles bypassed Metcalf for Arcega-Whiteside, but Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes the team placed a higher grade on the eventual Seahawks starter. But Metcalf having failed an Eagles physical meant the team did not want to use a second-round pick on him, McLane adds. Metcalf amassed 900 regular-season receiving yards and posted 160 in Seattle’s win over Philadelphia in Round 1. Regardless, the Eagles will likely be linked to first-round wideouts this year. The Eagles are “all over” this year’s wideout and cornerback classes, per Matt Miller of Bleacher Report.

Here is the latest from Philadelphia:

  • The Eagles restructured Alshon Jeffery‘s deal to create 2019 cap space, guaranteeing the veteran receiver’s $9.9MM 2020 salary. It would cost the Eagles more than $26MM to release the soon-to-be 30-year-old target, but McLane notes offset language is included in Jeffery’s deal. It is unclear, however, how much the Eagles would save if another team signed Jeffery after a release. Howie Roseman has done well in recent years to create roster-improvement avenues for the Eagles. But with Jeffery and 33-year-old DeSean Jackson‘s money nearly fully guaranteed, the veteran GM may need to get creative to improve Philly’s wideout situation.
  • Roseman appeared to hint at the Eagles’ window closing with their current nucleus, and McLane expects the team to cut ties with some regulars to infuse the roster with younger talent (Twitter link). Roseman projects the Eagles to hold 10 draft picks in April, meaning three compensatory selections, and held off dealing two first-round picks for Jalen Ramsey because of Carson Wentz‘s contract requiring more rookie-deal salaries on the roster (Twitter links via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo and SI.com’s Albert Breer). Roseman has been aggressive on acquiring veterans for draft picks in recent years; the Eagles may change up that strategy in 2020. They currently have 11 starters under contract who are over 30 or will be by year’s end.
  • Jim Schwartz interviewed for the Browns’ HC job on Wednesday, but the Eagles would like him to stay. Doug Pederson would like him to return for a fifth season as Philly’s DC, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
  • Pederson was clear on the statuses of offensive coordinator Mike Groh and wideouts coach Carson Walch, indicating (via ESPN.com’s Tim McManus, on Twitter) both will be back next season. Pederson, however, added all of the Eagles’ staffers remain under evaluation. Despite Schwartz’s interview with Cleveland and Pederson’s declarative statement on Groh and Wach, McLane sees the DC as being more likely to be back than the offensive staffers (Twitter link). It was obviously a rough year for Eagles wide receivers. And Groh’s offense — likely as a result of the frequent starter unavailability — ranked 14th in DVOA in his second season at the helm.

Eagles To Promote Mike Groh To OC

The Eagles will promote wide receivers coach Mike Groh to offensive coordinator, according to Tim McManus of ESPN.com.Mike Groh (Vertical)

Despite reports that Philadelphia could go without an offensive coordinator for the 2018 campaign, the Eagles interviewed both Groh and incumbent running backs coach Duce Staley on Monday. Head coach Doug Pederson‘s decision to only meet with in-house candidates indicated a preference to maintain continuity for an offensive unit that ranked eighth in offensive DVOA a season ago.

Groh has much spent much of his career in the collegiate ranks, but worked with the Bears and Rams from 2013-16 before joining the Eagles in advance of the 2017 campaign. The son of former NFL head coach Al Groh, Mike Groh helped former first-round pick Nelson Agholor break out as a slot weapon last season, and also assisted veteran receiver Alshon Jeffery in a nine-touchdown Philadelphia debut.

While Pederson calls his own offensive plays in Philadelphia, Groh will presumably serve in a game-planning and play-design capacity. The Eagles needed reinforcements to their offensive coaching staff after losing both OC Frank Reich (Colts head coach) and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo (Vikings offensive coordinator) over the past month.

Staley, for his part, will return to his role as running backs coach for a sixth consecutive season after garnering interest for at least two offensive coordinator jobs this offseason. In addition to the Eagles, the Giants reportedly considered Staley a strong candidate for their OC job under new head coach Pat Shurmur, but Philadelphia had no interest in letting Staley leave for a division rival.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eagles To Interview Duce Staley, Mike Groh For OC

The Eagles will interview running backs coach Duce Staley and wide receivers coach Mike Groh for their offensive coordinator vacancy today, according to Tim McManus of ESPN.com (Twitter links), who adds there are no “immediate plans” to meet with any other candidates.Duce Staley

Philadelphia head coach Doug Pederson is seeking to replace Frank Reich, who was named head coach of the Colts last week. Also missing from the Eagles’ 2018 staff is former quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, who recently became the Vikings’ new offensive coordinator. Pederson calls the offensive plays for the Eagles, but he’s presumably interested in keeping some level of continuity for an offense that ranked eighth in DVOA a season ago.

Staley, who spent seven years of his playing career with the Eagles, has led the club’s running backs room since 2013. He’d also been mentioned as a strong candidate to join Pat Shurmur as the Giants’ new offensive coordiantor, but Philadelphia reportedly had no interest in letting Staley leave for a division rival.

Groh, meanwhile, has much spent much of his career in the collegiate ranks, but worked with the Bears and Rams from 2013-16 before joining the Eagles in advance of the 2017 campaign. The son of former NFL head coach Al Groh, Mike Groh helped former first-round pick Nelson Agholor break out last season.

Reports have indicated the Eagles may go without a formal offensive coordinator in 2018, and Adam Caplan of SiriusXM tweets Philadelphia could conceivably promote Staley to run game coordinator and Groh to pass game coordinator, allowing the two coaches to tag-team the OC role while Pederson calls plays on game day.

Eagles May Not Hire Offensive Coordinator

Even with the departures of offensive coordinator Frank Reich and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo, the Eagles aren’t immediately looking to bring in a new offensive coordinator, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter). Rapoport points to running backs coach Duce Staley and wide receivers coach Mike Groh taking bigger roles within the team’s offense. Head coach Doug Pederson is expected to continue to work as the team’s play-caller.

Oct 26, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running backs coach Duce Staley against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Eagles 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It didn’t take long for the Eagles’ coaching staff to break apart following their Super Bowl LII win over the Patriots. Reich was named the Colts’ head coach Sunday after Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels backed out from the position and DeFilippo joined Mike Zimmer‘s staff with the Vikings as an offensive coordinator. Reich and DeFilippo helped orchestrate the Eagles’ playoff run with backup Nick Foles under center, including 538 total yards of offense in the Super Bowl victory. It remains to be seen whether Carson Wentz will be able to resume his role as the team’s starting quarterback to open the regular season after tearing his ACL in Week 14.

Reich served two seasons as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator and DeFilippo served two years as the team’s quarterbacks coach.

Staley has spent the last five seasons as the Eagles’ running backs coach and worked the previous two years as a special teams quality control assistant. With a backfield committee that featured LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement, along with Wendell Smallwood at times, the Eagles ranked third in the NFL at 132.2 yards per game on the ground last season. The team was also without Darren Sproles for most of the year, who suffered a torn ACL in Week 3.

Last year marked Groh’s first season with the Eagles following stints as a wide receivers coach for the Bears (2013-15) and Rams (2016). His father, Al, was the head coach of the Jets in 2000. Rapoport also notes that with the Eagles’ reported decision to hold off on hiring an offensive coordinator, all the offensive and defensive coordinator positions around the league look to be filled.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Coaching Rumors: Judge, Lions, Fins, Eagles

Other teams besides the Colts were interested in adding Patriots special teams coach Joe Judge, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reports, but Judge and the Pats are finalizing a deal that will keep him in New England. The 36-year-old assistant will be the team’s special teams coordinator for a fourth season. The sides are ironing out minor details, but Reiss reports the deal to retain Judge is imminent, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported earlier this week. Judge was a possible defection candidate if McDaniels had followed through on taking the Colts’ HC job.

Here’s the latest from the coaching circuit as we head into the offseason’s first official weekend.

  • Staying with special teams, the Lions are not going to overhaul their ST staff as they did their defensive coaching contingent. ST coordinator Joe Marciano and assistant ST coach Devin Fitzimmons will return next season, Alex Marvez of the Sporting News reports. An NFL special teams coach since 1986, Marciano has been with the Lions since 2015.
  • Detroit continued to configure its defensive staff on Thursday, hiring Bo Davis to instruct its defensive linemen, the team announced. Davis will join the Lions after spending most of the past two decades on Nick Saban‘s staffs at LSU, the Dolphins and Alabama. However, Davis’ Crimson Tide tenure — one that included coaching current Lions lineman A’Shawn Robinson, ended in 2016 when he resigned from Alabama due to NCAA violations. Davis, however, resurfaced at Texas-San Antonio last season and coached first-round defensive end hopeful Marcus Davenport.
  • The Eagles have lost their quarterbacks coach, but they are prepared to fill the void internally. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer expects the team to move receivers coach Mike Groh to quarterbacks coach and assistant quarterbacks coach Press Taylor to WRs coach (Twitter link).
  • Former Dolphins safety Renaldo Hill will now work with the team as a coach, being hired as Miami’s assistant defensive backs coach. The team notes this is the 10th former Dolphins player to serve as a Fins coach. Hill, who played 10 NFL seasons and spent three seasons (2006-08) in Miami, has coached at Wyoming and the University of Pittsburgh since 2012. This will be his first NFL coaching gig.
  • Prior to hiring Tom Bradley to be their new defensive backs coach, the Steelers interviewed South Florida DBs coach Blue Adams, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweets. Mike Tomlin coached Adams while he was an assistant at the University of Cincinnati.
  • Despite the Texans blocking the Broncos from interviewing Wes Welker, the Broncos will see their six-year strength and conditioning coach depart for Houston. Luke Richesson will become the Texans’ strength coach, 9News’ Mike Klis reports, with the team set to give him a bigger role than he had in Denver.

Zach Links contributed to this report.

Coaching Rumors: Joseph, Eagles, Colts

This offseason’s coaching carousel is expected to be one of the more exciting ones in recent history given all of the jobs that will become available, though that excitement is not limited to the head coaching gigs. It’s been a busy morning already, but let’s take a look at a few more head coach and coordinator rumors:

  • Broncos head coach Vance Joseph is facing increasingly longer odds of being retained for a second season, ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets.
  • Former Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak, who is currently serving as a senior personnel executive for the team, has interest in returning to the sidelines as an offensive coordinator. However, Nicki Jhabvala of the Denver Post reports that the Broncos are looking to keep Kubiak around and expand his role to include more front office responsibility and perhaps some coaching responsibilities as well.
  • The Eagles may lose their defensive coordinator this offseason, and ESPN’s Adam Caplan reports that Philadelphia could also lose several top position coaches (Twitter links). Caplan says Eagles QB coach John DeFilippo and WR coach Mike Groh could be targeted by other clubs, though Philadelphia could still block either man from accepting coordinator jobs elsewhere.
  • Colts GM Chris Ballard has strong ties to several members of the Chiefs‘ coaching staff — special teams coach Dave Toub and offensive coordinator Matt Nagy — and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that both men will get consideration for Indianapolis’ head coaching job. La Canfora points out, however, that Colts owner Jim Irsay may prefer to make a “splashier” hire if possible.
  • The Bengals have reached out to external candidates for their (expected) head coaching opening, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). This will be an open search for Cincinnati, which generally prefers to promote from within.
  • Saints head coach Sean Payton said that Darryl Tapp, who played in the league for 11 years (including four games with the Bucs this season), is now serving as a coaching intern for New Orleans. It would appear, then, that Tapp’s playing days are over and he is shifting his sights to the next stage of his career.

Coaching Notes: Groh, Peete, Koetter

Most of the league’s head coaching and coordinator vacancies have been filled, but teams are still making important coaching decisions. Let’s round up a few of the latest coaching-related notes:

  • The Eagles hired Mike Groh as their wide receivers coach, as first reported by ESPN’s Adam Caplan (via Twitter). Groh served as the Rams’ wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator in 2016, and he also worked as the Bears’ wide receivers coach from 2013-2015. Alshon Jeffery‘s best seasons came with Groh as his position coach, and in his one season with the Rams, Groh oversaw Kenny Britt‘s first 1,000-yard season (both Britt and Jeffery are eligible for unrestricted free agency this year, and Philadelphia needs wide receiver help in a big way). The 45-year-old Groh has an extensive college coaching resume, working as the quarterbacks coach for Louisville, the wide receivers coach for Alabama, and the wide receivers coach, quarterbacks coach, and offensive coordinator for Virginia.
  • Skip Peete will remain the Rams‘ running backs coach, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). Peete was hired as the team’s running backs coach last year after serving in that same capacity for the Raiders, Cowboys, and Bears.
  • We heard on Friday that Jim Tomsula interviewed for the Saints‘ open defensive line coach job earlier this week, though ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets that Tomsula will interview with New Orleans during this week’s Senior Bowl. Whether it will simply be a second interview or whether the two sides have actually met at all at this point is unclear. Before his disastrous stint as the 49ers’ head coach, Tomsula was a successful D-line coach with the franchise from 2007-14.
  • Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter is likely to retain his offensive play-calling duties, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. Koetter said at his season-ending news conference that he was considering giving up his role as play-caller, but he appears to have thought better of it.