Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh: No simple, quick fix for team’s slow starts
Eagles' offensive coordinator says that the Dallas game notwithstanding, the team has big plans for Golden Tate.
The Eagles failed to score in the first quarter Sunday night for the seventh time in nine games. Their only points of the first half came on a 56-yard Jake Elliott field goal. They have an offense that only seems to score touchdowns when it's fighting from behind, often late in games.
Offensive coordinator Mike Groh told reporters Tuesday that "a lot of energy and thought" has gone into fixing that problem.
"If it was one thing, it would be an easy fix," Groh said. "But it's a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. Kind of everybody has taken a share of that. We're pointing those things out that need to be corrected. Trust me when I say this, we're spending a lot of time trying to get it fixed."
Groh didn't want to discuss his role in the 15 scripted plays the Eagles use at the start of games. He indicated the team has much bigger plans for recent addition Golden Tate than the two catches for 19 yards Tate got against Dallas.
"We brought him here to play him a lot. You know how it is in the first week, where he's just building the foundation, and we had a healthy package of plays [in the game plan] … He and the coaches worked really hard to prepare, to be ready to go in there," Groh said. "Like coach [Doug Pederson] mentioned, some of that may have been taken away a little bit when we got in some of the no-huddle stuff … But we had a healthy package of plays for him, and we'll continue to build on that."
Unhurried approach didn’t work
Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz wasn't happy with the way his unit responded just before halftime, when the Cowboys were hurrying to get a play off at the goalline, and quarterback Dak Prescott ended up scoring easily on a sneak – very easily, because the defenders didn't seem set.
"There are a lot of times where you get beat physically in the NFL. A guy makes a reception, and they've got good players, we've got good players, sometimes that's the way it goes," Schwartz said. "Sometimes the guy will make a nice run and break a tackle. That is sort of the basis of this league, but [the Prescott touchdown is] a particularly hard one to swallow because we weren't set. We weren't ready to play there. And there is no excuse … We had plenty of time to communicate the call and get set. We just weren't there to do it."
The Eagles announced that they were using one of their two injured reserve return designations for tight end Richard Rodgers, sidelined since the preseason with a knee injury.
Tight end isn't a position of great need, but Rodgers probably is a better blocker than anyone in the trio of Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert and Joshua Perkins. After Sunday's loss to Dallas, it's hard to argue that better blocking from that position wouldn't be welcome.
Rodgers can take as long as three weeks to practice and prepare before he has to be added to the 53-man roster. Wide receivers Mike Wallace (fibula) and Mack Hollins (groin) also are expected to be ready to go again before the end of the season, but now there will be a return designation available for only one of them.
The Eagles also shuffled their practice squad tight ends Tuesday, releasing Billy Brown and adding former Giants and Jets TE Will Tye.