I continue to be impressed by Mike Groh’s ability to say nothing at all.

The Eagles’ first-year offensive coordinator mastered the art of coach speak quicker than Uma Thurman learned that secret martial arts move in Kill Bill. He’s reached the very pinnacle, the mountain top of word-weaving and verbosity. Every Tuesday, he descends from the summit to treat the plebes to a smorgasbord of cliche, misdirection, and non-answer, the ephemeral prowess taking on a more corporeal form.

Today Mike Sielski asked the following question to start off the presser:

Question: Mike, can you explain, to those of us who aren’t the room, when you guys are putting a game plan together or calling a game, what is different in what you guys do when Nick is the quarterback, vs. Carson?

Now, of course Groh is not going to answer that. He’s not going to say, “well Nick takes what the defense gives him and Carson tries to string out plays with his feet.” He’s not going to give you anything specific and he’s going to keep trade secrets private.

He’s going to talk around it, and here’s what he came up with instead:

“Well in terms of putting the plan together, you know, we had a bit of a philosophy before we even knew anything about Carson’s injury or who was going to be playing the game. We tried to put the best plan together that we thought would be effective against the Rams. And then every quarterback is different. Some guys gravitate towards certain plays, so we try to put (in) certain plays that one guy may have a certain comfort level that another guy may not. There’s some of that tweaking that’s involved, but you know, you may like the color blue and somebody else may like the color green, so it’s just kind of one of those things, a personal preference, and some of those concepts. So we just try to maybe add or subtract where we think that’s important.”

Yeah? Some people like the color blue and some people like the color green? That’s compelling stuff.

Of course a natural follow up would be to ask Groh what Nick Foles prefers specifically vs. what Carson Wentz prefers, but most of the guys on the Eagles beat just sort of shout over each other to get their questions in, so there’s never a natural follow-up on a question.

Sielski tried to get Groh to expand on the topic much later in the presser when he asked this:

Question: You said in the beginning that you try to cater an offense at least a little bit to what a quarterback does well. Whether it was over the course of the playoffs last year or even the beginning of this season, have you learned anything about Nick that suggests he could do more than what you guys gave him, or has he just sort of been doing what you guys want him to do based on what his strengths already are? Or has he shown you something to say, ‘oh ok, we can also do this.’?


“I mean, I think every time he’s had the opportunity to play he’s been really effective. We always are trying to build on things. We’ve got a lot of confidence in Nick and what he does well. We just keep going there and we’re gonna focus on the Texans and trying to put another good plan together and play efficient football and have another balanced attack. Nick has proven himself over the course of time as an excellent quarterback in this league and we’re lucky to have him.”

I’m impressed. I really am. That’s 88 words of nothing at all. He really doesn’t want to divulge anything about game plans or strategy or how the coaching staff goes about its business.

Here are some more Groh gems from today and the last two weeks, with the cliches and coach speak highlighted in bold. These are full quotes and are not truncated, after the jump:

On Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz’s high-level blocking in the Rams game:

He (Goedert) has really developed. Justin Peelle’s done a great job in getting him coached up. Dallas is a tough guy and he’s got a lot of strength there at the point of attack and I think Zach takes a lot of pride in being a complete player, not just a pass-catching tight-end. He’s done a really good job, too.

On Nelson Agholor playing every snap but only having two targets:

Nelson’s sort of an unsung hero in the offense right now. Like we talk about, sometimes the ball finds you, sometimes it doesn’t, depends on the coverage, progression, protection, all of those kinds of things. He had a big game a few weeks ago against Washington that could have been even bigger, but he’s unselfish, he plays with a tremendous amount of toughness, he understands everything and what everybody else in the offense is supposed to be doing. From that standpoint, he’s comforting to everybody else out there in getting guys lined up. He’s assignment sound and he’s certainly willing to block. He does a lot things without the ball that might go unnoticed, but not by people in this building. We have a lot of respect for Nelson.

On how Agholor has developed as a blocker:

I think there’s just a tremendous amount of willingness and toughness to his game, so he’s unselfish that way. He knows that’s important to what we want to get done and accomplish as a team and he’s willing to do it.

On whether the back injury was affecting Carson Wentz’s performance:

You’d have to ask Carson that.

On how playing on the road affects the use of pre-snap motion, which they cut back on this week:

Yeah, how bout those Eagles fans? They were out there in full force. That gave guys a lot of energy, too. We certainly do appreciate all of them showing up for the game. You mentioned being away and on the road, those are always factors that you have to take into account. Snap count, motion, all of those things that factor into a game plan when you’re playing away. Obviously 90,000 fans there it can be pretty loud there in LA, so yeah, that’s something that we always discuss on a Monday or Tuesday.

On what Monday and Tuesday game-planning is like:

We just get up there and start grinding on the tape. Everybody’s kind of got their areas that they’re sort of focused on and we kind of come together to start putting ideas on paper. 

On Wendell Smallwood being ready to play:

I think it says a lot about Wendell. He’s a true pro and he’s ready when his number is called. He’s really been that way throughout the entire season. He’s been really effective when he’s had the opportunity. He’s made plays and he’s been a reason why we’ve been able to win games. It’s a real credit to him. He did a great job the other night and obviously getting in the endzone a couple of times was huge.

On finding ways to balance out using Dallas Goedert in 12 personnel vs. getting Golden Tate involved:

It’s just a balance. It’s just trying to find the right balance and get those guys in the right position so that they can make the plays we need to help us win. That changes each and every week. We try to play the game we think we need to play that week against a defense that we’re facing, so every week will be a little bit different in that regard.

On what stands out to him in Jared Goff and Todd Gurley:

Both tremendous players. You can see the talent and the commitment that they have to the game. They love the game of football. They’ve had really productive seasons, Todd having MVP-type numbers, and Jared throwing the ball really well. So both those guys are playing at a high level.

On Wentz’s red zone interception against Washington:

Carson played a great game. He made a bunch of really, really good plays in that game. That’s one of the reasons we won. I know that that’s one play we’d all like to have back, so we’ll get back out there this week and get to work on that and hopefully correct that issue.

Yeah. Anyway Groh said a grand total two interesting things today:

  1. he was surprised that the Rams stayed in nickel
  2. just a general confirmation that they wanted to limit pre-snap motion no matter if the QB was Carson or Nick

Time’s yours.