Ron Mexico: Did he play a role in Killing the Coach?
Awhile back, Jim Mora (the elder) made the comment that Michael Vick was a coach killer. Of course, this ruffled the feathers of Vick, and strained his relationship with Mora the younger. But, now that the scenario in ATL has played out, and Mora has been let go: Did Vick help kill him?
Obviously, the team's underchievement and Mora's comments on the radio about the University of Washington being his "dream job" were heavy factors in the equation. But, certainly, if Mora had Vick's support or endorsement, that would have meant a lot as well.
Vick has had an enigmatic career. Sometimes showing the brilliance of his potential; but, often looking flat out terrible. Even after the poor outings when the critics came calling, Mora always gave his full support.
When prodded towards the end of the year about his opinion on Mora's future, Vick stated, "Honestly, I really couldn't tell you what I'd say right now. I'd have to give it some thought and really evaluate what went down and what happened." Not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Vick has been outspoken about his dissatisfaction with the way the offense has been run, and his conflicts with the offensive coordinator are well known. So, it is not a huge surprise that he was unwilling to lend his support to the coaching staff.
It's interesting that, despite his complaints about the offensive not working and despite his relatively pedestrian passing statistics, Vick says, "I've accomplished a lot of good things this season and I feel like I've had one of my best seasons," he said. "Exactly where things went wrong, I really don't know."
So, Vick basically absolves himself of any responsibility for the Falcons' offensive struggles. I think anyone who checks his passing numbers and breaks down some film on his decision making would have some clear cut counterpoints to Vick's point of view on this.
The reality is that Vick is a huge investment for owner Arthur Blank, and he really hasn't gotten a whole lot back on it in the wins column. And if the franchise player doesn't give the impression that he is going to perform at a high level for the coach, well, that is a clear nail in the coffin.
"I wasn't frustrated or upset and didn't have a frown on my face when I said it. We have too much talent to be sitting in this position. I was just keeping it real.'' Vick made that statement after Mora tried to sugarcoat some of Vick's unhappiness with the offense. Once again, though, he accepts no responsibility for the poor play of the offense...even though he supposedly runs it on the field. Also, isn't it a bit hypocritical of Vick to say that the team has too much talent not to be at the top, while at the same time complaining that his passing stats aren't that good because he DOESN'T have enough quality receivers? So, when it comes to the coaching staff running the team; they don't do a good job and there is a ton of talent. But when it comes to Vick not being an effective passer; the receivers aren't good enough. Got it?
In yet another response to a coaching staff question, Vick said, "It's a question that needs to be answered," Vick said. "We're too good to be losing these games. We should be up there among the elite."
Jim Mora's team didn't perform to expectations and he made some dumb comments on his future job interests (even though it was certainly a joke). Clearly those things were the impetus behind Arthur Blank cutting Mora loose. But the lack of support and continued critical comments by Vick certainly were something that factored into the decision.
We aren't contending that Vick is obligated to support his coach. Particularly if he was unhappy with the direction the team was going. But we do think Vick bears some responsibility in the poor offensive showing of the Falcons. The guy IS the quarterback.
What we contend is this: Jim Mora, Sr. was correct. Michael Vick is a coach killer. He takes no responsibility for his own poor performances and blames it all on the system. While he is under no obligation to vocally support a coach if he doesn't believe in what the coach is doing; he does bear responsibility for his own level of play. To suggest that he personally had a great year and that whatever went wrong with the team is strictly the coaches' fault, might not be murder. But it sure is manslaughter.