You know what?
I kind of feel bad for offensive coordinator Mike Groh. Just a bit.
I’ve sat here and ripped the Eagles for their non-usage of Golden Tate since the signing, but now I really wonder if they even needed him in the first place.
Remember those stories? Everybody wrote about Tate being a slot receiver and how his skill set overlapped with Nelson Agholor and even Jordan Matthews, who was also signed in the middle of the season.
Howie Roseman poo-pooed the idea that there was redundancy in the slot. From October:
You have versatility there. All of those guys can play inside and out. That’s the excitement that our coaches have: you’re not just having one guy lined up in a particular situation and the defense knows that this guy is going to line up there. For us, that’s another part of the excitement of bringing in this guy: his inside-out versatility. It’s the same with Nelly; he has inside-out versatility. Alshon lines up inside and out. Our coaches have a game plan for all of those guys and certainly [for] our tight ends in the middle of the field and the damage that they can do. And we are going to get some guys back [from injury], too.
So we want to be multiple on offense; we want to be a handful for defensive coordinators. This guy is a heck of a player and I think our fans are going to be really excited to see him in Eagles green.
Instead of being multiple, they ended up being very singular. When Alshon Jeffery got healthy, the Eagles had a decent wide receiver group to play alongside Zach Ertz and their top draft pick from April, Dallas Goedert. The only thing missing on paper was somebody to stretch the field ala Torrey Smith, which is what Mike Wallace was supposed to do.
Tate played less than 50% of the snaps in Sunday’s loss, and Groh was asked about that at his weekly press conference, after the jump:
Q. WR Golden Tate played I think only 20 snaps this week. What’s the reasoning for that, especially after the way he played the week before? He was pretty heavily involved the week before. (Zack Rosenblatt)
GROH: Golden is a really good player and he can do a lot of things for our offense. We played probably a little bit more 12 personnel in this game, liked our matchup with our two tight ends on the field. Obviously then there is only two wideouts in the game.
Q. TE Dallas Goedert has been really productive when he has been targeted. What have been the issues of not getting him more involved? (Jeff McLane)
GROH: We have a lot of guys we’re trying to get involved, Jeff. I mean, there is only one ball. You’re right. Dallas is making a lot of really good plays and we’re trying to create new ways each and every week to ensure that he’s getting some touches in the game because he’s been really productive when he’s been able to get his hands on the ball.
Q. Is it tough having two tight ends that maybe have some similar skill sets? (Jeff McLane)
GROH: No, it’s not tough with two tight ends. There is only one ball, so we can only get it to one guy at a time. Look, we think that Dallas is going to be a really good football player for a long time. We’re really glad that we have him on our team. He’s somebody that people are going to have to deal with certainly each and every week going forward. To pair him with Zach and Alshon and Nelly and Golden and those guys, we have good skill, but like I said, there is only one ball, so can only go one place on each play.
This is Groh telling Roseman that they never needed Golden Tate in the first place.
What else could it be?
The only way to get all of those guys on the field at the same time is to go empty set and five wide, which the Eagles don’t do a lot of. You can swap out Agholor for Tate in 12 personnel, sure, but then what? Agholor is owed nine million dollars next season. Jeffery hits the cap at 14 million. Even if you like what you have in Tate and want to sign him to a new contract, what can you realistically even do?
Or, just put Ertz, Tate, Agholor, and Jeffery on the field together. Show me the “multiple” and take Goedert off the field.
The whole thing is out of whack. I’m not gonna sit here and tell you that I think Groh is doing an amazing job with whatever he does with the offense, nor do I think Doug Pederson has lit the world on fire with the play calling, but in hindsight it seems like the Tate signing just didn’t have to happen.