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Professional

Groh’s job to develop receiving corps around Marshall

Building around Brandon

MCT
Getting the most out of second-year receiver Alshon Jeffery will be a priority for the Bears new receiver coach Mike Groh.
MCT Getting the most out of second-year receiver Alshon Jeffery will be a priority for the Bears new receiver coach Mike Groh.

Mike Groh was at a coaching clinic in Dallas in mid-February when he received a call from the Bears.

Was he interested in the team's wide receivers job?

Groh didn't know there was an opening a month after Marc Trestman has been hired, but he was soon added the new staff.

It's the first job for Groh, 41, in the NFL since 2000, when he worked as an assistant for the Jets. He arrives after spending two seasons at Alabama and 3 of the past 4 years working under Nick Saban for the Crimson Tide.

Interestingly, he didn't have ties to Trestman, general manager Phil Emery or any of the other assistants.

"I didn't have any goal to [jump to the NFL]," Groh said. "I was just fortunate enough to receive a phone call and be given an opportunity.

"I really enjoyed my time at Alabama. One [season] in '09 and we won the championship and then the last two I was there. So, 39-2 and three championships."

He says the Bears present a rare opportunity, and Groh takes over a unit led by Brandon Marshall. All Marshall did was have the single-greatest season for a wide receiver in franchise history in 2012 with 118 receptions for 1,508 yards, 11 touchdowns and seven 100-yard games.

If Marshall duplicates that production this year, he will be 11th on the franchise's all-time list for receptions and 13th in yardage. That's what happens when an organization is quarterback challenged for decades.

The goal for Groh is to build the group around Marshall.

It's a unit that many believe chronically underachieved under former receivers coach Darryl Drake.

But in his defense, it quickly becomes a chicken-and-the-egg discussion when you talk about struggling quarterbacks and underachieving wideouts.

Groh's project begins with Alshon Jeffery, the second-round draft pick from a year ago, who flashed promise when he was on the field. Jeffery had 24 catches for 367 yards and three touchdowns, but missed six games with knee and thumb injuries.

"I'll say this about Alshon: He's really invested," Groh said. "I have seen improvement in the very short time I have been able to work with him. He certainly has tremendous potential."

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