PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh has a great problem. He has a rejuvenated Darren Sproles. He has a potential star in Corey Clement. He has an unknown in Donnel Pumphrey. Then there are big-power backs Jay Ajayi, Matt Jones and rookie undrafted free agent Josh Adams, along with Wendell Smallwood, whose shown flashes he’s an NFL back when healthy, and it creates a backfield logjam.
How that will work out, considering Sproles is back and Clement surely proved what he can as a third-down back, is anyone’s guess right.
“I think [Eagles assistant head coach/running backs coach] Duce [Staley] did a tremendous job managing that room and that position throughout the course of the season, no matter who was active or who was on injured reserve,” Groh said. “And not only is that [but] just developing the players and Corey a great example of that. So, I think you’ll see us be that kind of versatile and use everybody’s skills in that room this year.”
As for Pumphrey, “I think he’s done a great job of putting himself in a position to compete for a roster spot,” Groh said. “Just like all those guys. He knows it’s a competitive room. He’s trained hard and showed up and he’s making plays when the opportunity has come. But, again, all those guys are doing really well and will be evaluated throughout the course of the preseason.”
Groh himself is getting accustomed to his new role. But having so much talent around certainly doesn’t hurt. Besides the Los Angeles Rams, the Eagles have the best offense returning in the NFL. Groh, the Eagles’ receivers coach in 2017, specialized in third-down situations (The Eagles’ 44.69% third-down conversion rate ranked second best in the NFL last season). It was Groh who also dug up “The Philly Special.”
When asked how he’s processing this training camp in comparison to past experiences, Groh replied, “Well, from an organizational standpoint, just fine-tuning little things to make sure that when we come out here to practice, that practice runs smoothly,” he said. “Not getting to spend as much time teaching, having my own group of guys each and every day and getting in the lab with those guys. But I try to walk around and see everybody, obviously study the tape and be involved that way.
“We divide the scripts up, but I do the majority of the scripts. We work off the script and then calling them off the script. Then in a move-the-ball period, which is a live call period, then I’m calling those plays. Yeah, it’s unscripted. So, obviously it didn’t go well today; the other day a little bit better.”