The Eagles announced on Monday that veteran NFL assistant Mike Groh will coach the Eagles' wide receivers in 2017 replacing Greg Lewis.
"We are excited to add Mike Groh to our coaching staff," head coach Doug Pederson said. "Mike brings with him a vast array of experience coaching wide receivers in the NFL and college. Over his career, he has demonstrated a great ability as a teacher and as a motivator and we look forward to him getting started in Philadelphia."
Groh's job is to get more production out of a position group that had only one player gain more than 500 yards (Jordan Matthews, 804) in 2016. Three of the Eagles' top four pass catchers in terms of receptions and yards were not wide receivers. The two primary outside receivers - Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham - combined for just 72 catches, 757 yards and four touchdowns.
The 45-year-old Groh spent last season as the wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams. Despite the team's struggles, Kenny Britt had his first 1,000-yard campaign in eight NFL seasons, and Tavon Austin set new career highs in both receptions (58) and yards (509) under Groh's tutelage.
Groh's ability to develop former top picks - Austin and Britt were once first-round selections - bodes well for Agholor, the Eagles' first-round pick in 2015, and Green-Beckham, a second-round choice of the Tennessee Titans the same year. Matthews, meanwhile, is just one of five players in NFL history with at least 65 catches and 800 yards in each of his first three seasons.
Prior to his one season in Los Angeles, Groh was with the Bears for three seasons coaching the wide receivers. He worked with vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas and director of pro scouting Dwayne Joseph in Chicago.
The Eagles have not had a 1,000-yard receiver since Jeremy Maclin gained 1,318 yards in 2014. Groh coached three 1,000-yard seasons in Chicago - two by Alshon Jeffery (1,421 in 2013 and 1,133 in '14) and one by Brandon Marshall (1,295 in 2013). Both Marshall and Jeffery earned Pro Bowl honors in 2013.
Groh doesn't just have success with receivers at the NFL level. He was Alabama's wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator from 2011-12. The Crimson Tide won the National Championship both seasons. As a true freshman in 2012, future No. 4 overall pick Amari Cooper had 59 catches for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns, including the go-ahead score to beat Georgia in the SEC Championship.
Groh followed in the footsteps of his father, Al, a longtime NFL head coach. Before entering the coaching ranks, Groh was a quarterback, linebacker and kicker for Randolph (New Jersey) High School. He nailed a field goal as time expired to win the 1990 state championship in a game considered by the Newark Star-Ledger as the greatest high school game ever played.
At the University of Virginia, Groh started at quarterback in his final two years on campus. To this day, he is the only quarterback in Cavaliers history to win nine games and a bowl game in back-to-back seasons.
Groh was with the Baltimore Ravens in Training Camp in 1996 before playing for the Rhein Fire of the World League in 1997.
He began his coaching career as an assistant on his father's staff with the New York Jets in 2000. He went back to his alma mater and coached the wide receivers (2001-02), wide receivers and quarterbacks (2003), and quarterbacks (2004-05) before becoming the offensive coordinator from 2006-08. He won his first National Championship as a graduate assistant on Alabama's staff in 2009 before going to Louisville to coach the quarterbacks in 2010.