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Don’t be surprised if the Patriots bring former Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh on board

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Related: Five potential replacements for now-former Patriots assistant Joe Judge

Chicago Bears v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Earlier this week, the New England Patriots lost assistant coach Joe Judge when he decided to join the New York Giants as their new head coach. Judge’s departure creates openings at two different coaching positions: not only was he responsible for the Patriots’ special teams units since 2015, he also coached the wide receivers during the 2019 season.

While it seems like a foregone conclusion that Judge’s assistant, Cam Achord, will fill the special teams role, the wide receiver position is a bit more complicated. After all, a lot will depend on the status of offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels: the 43-year-old, who led New England’s offense since his return in 2012, will interview for the Cleveland Browns’ head coaching gig today and there is a chance that he eventually leaves the Patriots.

Nevertheless, we identified four candidates earlier this week who could succeed Judge as wide receivers coach: long-time Patriots assistant Chad O’Shea, who left for the Miami Dolphins last offseason only to be fired after one year, ex-Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown, who helped Judge with the wideouts in 2019, or coaching assistants Brian Belichick and Cole Popovich. However, another candidate emerged this week.

On Thursday, the Philadelphia Eagles decided to part ways with offensive coordinator Mike Groh and it would not be a surprise to see the 48-year-old eventually end up in New England. There are three main reasons why a union between the team and Groh does seem like a realistic scenario:

1.) The Patriots’ current coaching situation

This one is pretty straight forward: you can’t hire a coach if you don’t have room for him on your staff. With Judge gone and McDaniels a candidate to leave the team as well, however, there certainly would be a spot open for Groh — either as an offensive assistant in case McDaniels departs, or a position coach to fill in for Judge.

2.) Bill Belichick’s relationship with the Groh family

When Patriots head coach Bill Belichick served as the New York Giants’ defensive coordinator in the 1980s, he hired Al Groh as his linebackers coach. The two would later reunite in Cleveland, New England and with the New York Jets before parting ways in 2000 — Belichick left the Jets to join the Patriots, and Groh took over his now-vacant head coaching job in New York for one year before himself moving to the college ranks.

Mike Groh is the son of the former Belichick assistant, and the future Hall of Famer has spoken kindly about him when the Patriots played the Eagles during the 2018 regular season: “I’ve known Mike since Al was with the Giants and they won the state championship in New Jersey. [...] I haven’t really worked with Mike other than ball boy and stuff like that. But, he’s obviously a very accomplished athlete, quarterback, and he’s had a good coaching career.”

Another son of Al Groh currently works in the Patriots’ scouting department, by the way: Matt Groh spent the last nine seasons as a national scout and won three Super Bowls in New England. Needless to say that the Belichick-Groh connection is a strong one, and it could lead to Mike ending up in Foxborough to revitalize his career after Philadelphia parted ways with him.

3.) Mike Groh’s experience

As Belichick noted in the statement above, Groh has had a good coaching career — one that saw him follow his father in the early 2000s to becoming Philadelphia’s offensive coordinator after their Super Bowl win against the Patriots in 2018. Along the way, he also gained experience coaching wide receivers in Alabama, as well as with the Chicago Bears, the Los Angeles Rams and finally the Eagles during their 2017 championship season.

While Philadelphia’s offense struggled in 2019 despite quarterback Carson Wentz staying healthy for the entire season before being knocked out of the team’s wild card loss, Groh’s résumé certainly is impressive and would make him an intriguing addition to the Patriots’ staff if the opportunity presented itself.

The question is, could this really happen? There are currently two open offensive coordinator positions — neither the Chicago Bears nor the Carolina Panthers, who just recently hired Matt Rhule as their new head coach currently have offensive play-callers on their staffs — and if Groh does not end up with one of them, he might be willing to take a lower level job in New England to get his career back on track.

Either way, the Patriots certainly should be interested in his services and don’t be surprised if they indeed end up bringing him on board.