Three Takeaways: Passing Game Coordinator Mike Groh

Posted Feb 18, 2016

The Rams' new passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach, Mike Groh, expects to bring elements from the various offensive systems in which he's coached to L.A.

The Rams’ new passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach Mike Groh has been on staff for a number of successful offenses over the course of his career. Now he’s charged with improving Los Angeles’ air attack -- a challenge, but one Groh can handle.

Our Dani Klupenger recently sat down with Groh to get to know a bit more about his history and his approach to the Rams’ passing game and wideouts. Here are a few takeaways from their conversation.

1) An offense that’s in demand

One of the benefits of bringing in Groh is his extensive experience working in different systems. Over the past couple years, new Dolphins head coach Adam Gase has been widely regarded as one of the more innovative offensive minds in football. Gase was the quarterbacks coach in Denver when the club beat the Steelers in the 2011 playoffs with Tim Tebow as quarterback, and then ascended to offensive coordinator with Peyton Manning as the club’s signal-caller.

In 2015, Groh worked alongside Gase with the Bears under head coach John Fox.

“Being in the system I just came out of -- whatever you want to call it, ‘Peyton’s system,’ the ‘Adam Gase offense’ -- is something that I think is sought after in this league right now,” Groh said.

In addition to Gase, Groh worked with another well-regarded offensive mind in Chicago: Marc Trestman.

“My experience being in that system to go along with working for coach Trestman for a couple years, and being in the West Coast offense, I think, are some of the things they were looking for [with] some new pass ideas,” Groh said. “Hopefully, I can bring that.”

It’s no secret the Rams’ passing game was poor in 2015, as the club ranked No. 32 in yards passing. With Groh now on board, the expectation is that Los Angeles should be able to make significant strides next season by implementing the different concepts Groh has come across throughout his career.

2) Glad to be on the same side as Austin

If there’s one player Groh seems to be particularly excited to coach, it’s wide receiver Tavon Austin.

“Tavon -- he’s a threat to score every time he gets it,” Groh said.

Austin’s ability to impact a game is obvious, as evidenced by his 1,187 all-purpose yards and 10 total touchdowns in 2015. Now Groh will be able to help the West Virginia product take the next step in his development.

“We played against him a couple times in Chicago, and just preparing all through the week as I’m on the other side with the offensive scout team and listening to our defensive coaches talk and the emphasis they place on trying to stop him -- it’s nice to be on the same side that he’s on,” Groh said.

But as the passing game coordinator, Groh will work with the entire offense. He expressed a sense of optimism about the different position groups on the unit.

“I think we’re evolving right now,” Groh said. “We’re talking about what we want to do to try to move the ball and be more effecient offensively. But we have some very good players.

“We have a young group up front,” Groh continued. “If you just start with those guys, a lot of them were able to gain experience, whether it was through injury or what not. But a lot of first, second, and third-year players that have the ability to play well in this league.

3) The individual can be as important as talent

With the NFL Combine coming up next week, Groh will be one of many coaches and scouts evaluating the incoming rookies. Oftentimes, when people talk about players and their potential, they’re only referring to on-field talent. And while Groh clearly values what a player can do between the white lines, there is more to it.

“We have certain size and speed requirements that we think are important in critical factors in being able to play at this level,” Groh said, “But what you’re really trying to find out is about the person. How much they love the game, how important it is to them, how much they’re going to sacrifice their personal time to be great.”

That comes into play from his own coaching philosophy, as Groh described himself as someone who puts a lot into the little things.

“I’m certainly going to be an attention-to-detail guy,” Groh said. “We want to play with relentless competitive effort and dominate our opponent on every single snap, and then move on. You can’t live in the past -- we’ve got to move on to the next play. And just be process oriented. We dont’ want to worry about the results, we want to stay in the moment, stay in the process and the results will take care of themselves.”