Eagles part ways with OC Mike Groh, WR coach Carson Walch

PHILADELPHIA -- The Eagles parted ways with offensive coordinator Mike Groh and wide receivers coach Carson Walch, head coach Doug Pederson announced Thursday.

Two early candidates have emerged for the open offensive coordinator post, former Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell and former Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell, a league source tells ESPN.

Caldwell and O'Connell -- a former NFL quarterback -- both have extensive experience coaching QBs, which has been a priority for owner Jeffrey Lurie and the Eagles' brain trust when choosing offensive coordinators of late. The last two men to hold the position -- Frank Reich and Groh -- both played and coached the position.

The list of candidates for the offensive coordinator spot is expected to be small, a source said.

The news comes a day after Pederson indicated they were likely to return in 2020, in what proved simply to be a public showing of support for assistants before the decision was finalized. To counterbalance his assertion that Groh and Walch would be back, Pederson was lukewarm when later asked about defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's return.

"After much consideration and discussion, I have decided to make a change at the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach positions. It was not an easy decision for me to make and I appreciate everything that Mike Groh and Carson Walch contributed to the organization and to my staff. As I said yesterday, they were a big part of our success down the stretch this past season. This is one of the most difficult parts of the job and something that weighs on me, but ultimately I have to make decisions that I believe are in the best interest of the football team moving forward," Pederson said in a statement.

"I apologize for any confusion that I created during yesterday's press conference, including my comments on Coach Schwartz, who has done a great job as our defensive coordinator. It was my intent not to comment on any of my staff during the ongoing evaluations, because I wanted to be able to go through the process and communicate any decision directly with the individuals. I did a poor job of explaining that the first time I was asked. I will continue to evaluate everything, and consider all possibilities to improve our football team."

Groh had served as offensive coordinator for the past two seasons after joining the Eagles as wide receivers coach in 2017. Walch was the assistant wide receivers coach in 2018 and was promoted to wide receivers coach for 2019.

The Eagles ranked 14th in total offense and 11th in passing offense this season, but were decimated by injuries, particularly at wide receiver, and had to use several practice-squad players at the position as they won their final four games to win the NFC East.

It took a while for the coaching staff to fully tap into quarterback Carson Wentz's strengths. Over the last five weeks of the season, Wentz averaged 6.6 attempts per game and 8 yards per pass attempt outside the pocket, per ESPN Stats & Information, up from 3.6 attempts per game and 7 yards per attempt in his first 11 games.

Wentz averaged the second-most play-action passes per game (16.2) during that stretch, nearly doubling his output in the weeks prior (8.7). Wentz took off when these adjustments were made, even with a depleted supporting cast.

The Eagles were eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday with a 17-9 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.