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Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh is struggling with integrating Golden Tate, among other things

Offensive coordinator is suffering in comparison with his pedecessor. Frank Reich seems to have gotten the Colts rolling.

Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh walks off the field after the game against the Saints. Eagles lose 48-7 to the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, LA on November 18, 2018. DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh walks off the field after the game against the Saints. Eagles lose 48-7 to the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, LA on November 18, 2018. DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff PhotographerRead moreDavid Maialetti

The Eagles employ the same quarterback they had this time last year, when their dynamic offense was the envy of the league, drawing the Sistine Chapel ceiling-level reverence that now accompanies every outing of the Rams, Chiefs or Saints.

They have the same offensive line, except Jason Peters is playing instead of Halapoulivaati Vaitai, which ought to be a good thing.

They are missing running back Jay Ajayi from last year, but on paper they actually have a stronger receiving corps, when you add in trade-deadline acquisition Golden Tate.

So, why is everything so very different? Why aren't the Eagles scoring and winning at last year's pace? Why were they so inept offensively in Sunday's 48-7 loss at New Orleans?

As Mike Groh stood behind the NovaCare lectern Tuesday, Groh knew the inference many people are making — that the Eagles' excitement and innovation have moved to Indianapolis, where Frank Reich's team has won four games in a row and Andrew Luck is a new man.

Reich was the Eagles' offensive coordinator for Super Bowl LII. The Colts hired him as their head coach late in the offseason process, after Josh McDaniels took the job, and then had second thoughts.

Groh's work with the Eagles' wide receivers last season, and especially with Nelson Agholor, was a huge factor in helping the Eagles win their first Super Bowl. He was in charge of third downs, where the 2017 Eagles excelled, ranking second in NFL conversions. He had solid credentials from nearly two decades of college and NFL coaching, brought the "Philly Special" here from Chicago. Groh was not a controversial choice as Reich's replacement. Or at least, back then he wasn't.

"I'll let everybody else make that evaluation, but I'm certainly excited for Frank and the success that they're having in Indy," Groh said, when asked if he thinks he is doing as good a job as Reich did.

This was after Groh raised eyebrows by acknowledging Tuesday that integrating Tate into the offense midseason has been "challenging," especially fitting together Tate and Agholor, who have similar strengths.

Groh was asked if assimilating Tate has been more difficult than the team anticipated. The Eagles gave up a third-down draft pick for Tate, a 30-year-old who has more yards after the catch since 2010 than anyone in the NFL. He is a pending free agent, quite possibly just a rental for a season that is now sagging on the ropes, with the 4-6 Eagles having lost both games since the trade.

Tate caught two passes for 19 yards in his debut, against Dallas, then caught five for 48 at New Orleans.

"I don't know if it's been more difficult, but it's been challenging to integrate him," Groh said. "Certainly, with the way we weren't able to stay on the field the other day, and finding a rhythm for the offense, that part of it, then everything becomes a bit disjointed. If we can do a better job of staying on the field and having drives, then everybody gets more involved in the offense."

Agholor, who caught 62 passes for 768 yards and eight touchdowns in 2017, did not catch a pass Sunday, for the first time since the 2016 season. His 46 catches for 455 yards and one touchdown are not what observers expected, after last season's breakthrough.

"Roles changed a couple weeks ago, so, again, [we're] trying to find a rhythm with the substitutions and getting guys in the right spots," Groh said. "We haven't done a good job with it in the last two weeks, or good enough, to get the results that we want."

The roles changed because Tate is traditionally most effective from the slot, Groh acknowledged.

"Obviously when Golden is in, Nelson may be doing something different than what he was being asked to do before," Groh said. "In some cases, he's doing the same thing. It's just trying to fit those pieces together."

It isn't at all clear that in Tate, management thought it was acquiring a piece Groh would struggle to integrate.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson said Monday that the offensive problems against the Saints bothered him more than the defensive problems, because the Eagles' offense should not have been overmatched.

Carson Wentz looked disgusted when he had to call timeout, with 10:05 left in the third quarter, because the offense had just 10 men on the field.

"I think we had one or two times when there was miscommunication in terms of personnel getting in and out of the game. I'll take responsibility for that," Groh said. "That should not happen. We have a new guy [Tate] and we're trying to introduce some new personnel groups. But again, ultimately that's my responsibility to make sure the communication is coming out."

The only Eagles offensive veteran who appeared in the locker room during the time reporters were present Tuesday was tight end Zach Ertz. Ertz was asked if he thinks Groh is doing as good a job as Reich did last season.

"Frank, first and foremost, is a phenomenal coach. He deserves the opportunity to be a head coach in this league," Ertz said. "One of my favorite coaches I've ever played for. But we didn't reinvent the wheel, by any means. … The scheme's the same, the players are pretty much the same. The execution is what's lacking. I put it more so on us than anyone else, myself in particular. Just gonna try and be better, because we have to be better. I wouldn't say it's the coaching, I wouldn't say it's the scheme. … One guy here, one guy there [making mistakes] overall leads to poor execution."

Earlier, in response to a more general question about the offense, Ertz said this: "The talent on the offense isn't matching the output we're putting up, week in and week out."

That is definitely the sort of thing that threatens coaches' job security.