Mike Groh hasn’t seen the social media posts from former players ripping the Eagles offense, but he has watched Sunday’s game enough to know what they’re referring to.
The Eagles’ offensive coordinator said there’s enough blame to go around in the aftermath of the team’s 17-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The shorthanded wide-receiving corps was sloppy, as pointed out by former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky and former Eagles wideout Bryce Treggs. The offensive line was banged up, and Carson Wentz had perhaps the worst game of his career.
During his Tuesday news conference, Groh responded to the idea that Wentz was getting too much heat for the offensive struggles over the last two games.
“We’re in this together. It’s not anybody’s fault,” Groh said. “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. We have to get back out there today, pull our sleeves up, and get to work. We’re not happy with the results that we’ve gotten."
Wentz finished with 33 completions on 45 attempts for 256 yards Sunday. He threw two interceptions and had three fumbles, two resulting in turnovers.
After going six weeks without a fumble to start the season, Wentz has lost the ball eight times in five games. Since his rookie season in 2016, Carson Wentz’s 40 fumbles trail only Jameis Winston, who has 43 in that time.
“I think we just gotta keep two hands on the ball in the pocket,” Groh said. “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.”
For the second week in a row, the Eagles were held to 10 or fewer points. They were missing arguably the best offensive-line tandem in the NFL, as tackle Lane Johnson was sidelined with a concussion and guard Brandon Brooks left early because of an illness brought on by anxiety.
According to Pro Football Focus, Wentz was pressured on 19 of his 51 dropbacks, tied for third most in the NFL during Week 12. As a result, the 26-year-old’s mechanics appeared to break down, as he was not stepping into throws and sometimes getting out of sync with the makeshift receivers the Eagles had trotted out.
Groh said Wentz’s mechanical issues, particularly not always setting his feet, mostly came from the constant pass rush.
“The other day, there was a lot of push in his face. It’s not like you’re able to throw off a pitcher’s mound every time the other day,” Groh said. “When he’s got room to complete a throwing motion, he’s still Carson Wentz.”
The Eagles’ woes at receiver continued against the Seahawks as well. They were without starters Nelson Agholor (knee) and Alshon Jeffery (ankle), both unable to go after being listed as questionable in the injury report.
The Eagles went into the game with rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, recent practice-squad call-up Greg Ward, Mack Hollins, and Jordan Matthews. Matthews was waived the day after the game. Orlovsky, who played 10 years in the NFL mostly as a backup quarterback, posted a video pointing out mistakes made by the Eagles’ receivers.
Because of the limited practice reps Wentz had with the receiving group, Groh attributed some of the miscues Sunday to the unfamiliarity.
“We need more time together,” he said. “There’s 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.”
One thing is clear: The offense has to be better.
“We’ve got a high standard for how we expect to play,” Groh said. “Right now, we’re not meeting that. We gotta roll our sleeves. We gotta get to work. We’re gonna get it done. We got a good team that we’re getting ready for this week in Miami, another challenging scheme that we’re preparing for, and we’re excited for the challenge."