Interesting mention in Gregg Easterbrook's weekly Tuesday Morning Quarterback column over at ESPN.com, wherein he asks what I feel is a perfectly logical question: why is Michael Vick the scapegoat for this team? A lot has to do simply with national exposure. A lot of my friends and even people I talk to in passing say "boy, your team would be something else if it didn't have Vick, eh?" To quote Easterbrook:
You know what...he's right. Vick did get to do some spriting and throwing in this game, but at what point is it going to dawn on the Atlanta sideline that Vick is not going to get the job done as a traditional dropback pocket passer? It's trendy to blame Vick, and he certainly deserves his share of it, but he's far from the sole claimant to that throne.
Easterbrook also mentions Mora's decision to take a timeout right before the obvious Hail Mary. Ostensibly, this allowed Mora to get his personnel ready for the bomb, but it also allowed the Saints time to get their act together for it. The Hail Mary was complete, regardless, and I'm not sure I agree that the timeout was a huge factor. Still...he makes good points. The coaching staff has made some decisions they will have to be held accountable for, and it doesn't look like they're going to stop making them, either. It might be helpful for people who are less familiar with the Falcons to spread the blame around a little, methinks.
Along those same lines, D.Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC has an ominous story about Mora in which he basically says he's staying the course:
"When we had those moment of truth plays when the ball was in the air," Mora said. "It's sitting there and either he's going to make it or I'm going to make it. That's the moment of truth. We didn't make the moment of truth plays."
For the love of Gerald Riggs, you've stayed the course long enough. Has it perhaps occured to Mora that after four weeks of scoring less than 17 points and generally looking pathetic against every team they come across that maybe it might be a good idea to look at the playcalling? By saying the "moment of truth" plays were not made, he's subtly shifting blame to the players. This tells me he really believes in the strength of the playcalling, which tells me things aren't going to get better unless the players miraculously improve themselves.
I also want to say that I'm usually a big defender of coaching staffs. When Dan Reeves finally went down in Atlanta, I was standing on the ship waving his flag until I went under. But I make exceptions, and I'm making one here. Mora publicly says most of the right things, but he also seems locked in to what he's doing now and locked into loyalty to Knapp, and it's killing this team. The coaching staff deserves just as much blame as the players, and it's probably time for them to start taking it.