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The Lost Coast Offense


Says Vick of the West Coast offense: "It may be hurting me. It may be hurting the offense. I'm a little lost right now."

Some things in life just don’t make sense. Why did I just see a motorcyclist riding without a helmet a few days after Ben Roethlisberger put his life and career in danger? Why does FOX continue to run “Hell’s Kitchen,” when the show is clearly unintelligible and uninteresting? Why is my 14-month-old dog afraid of trash cans?

Now I pose a question for the Atlanta Falcons to answer: Why is Michael Vick being asked to work out of a hybrid of the West Coast offense?

When Vick was projected to go No. 1 to San Diego in every mock draft on the internet, experts and scouts were salivating over Vick’s uncanny athleticism and arm strength. Commercials were even made that heavily embellished the power in his left shoulder. With that in mind, doesn’t it seem odd that the scheme head coach Jim Mora Jr. and offensive coordinator Greg Knapp designed for Vick doesn’t tailor to the quarterback’s strong points, while emphasizing his mediocre accuracy?

The West Coast offense, whether it’s Tampa Bay’s version or Seattle’s version, requires a signal caller to make quick decisions, and to digest an encyclopedia-like playbook. In a February interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Vick admitted that he has trouble doing so.

“We’re not dinking and dunking the way it’s supposed to be done,” Vick said. “It may be hurting me. It may be hurting the offense. I’m a little lost right now.

“My perception of the West Coast thing is starting to change too,” Vick continued. “We’re not doing what I see Seattle doing or San Francisco doing or Green Bay doing. We’re not doing those things. I don’t know if it’s Knapp changing those things around but as far as I know, it’s not the West Coast system as far as the way we run it.”

After reading Vick’s interview, Mora offered a bizarre explanation for his quarterback’s apparent struggles.

“We don’t run the West Coast offense; [Knapp] and I have said that from Day One,” Mora said. “Our offense is tailored to the skills of our players.”

First of all, does anyone else find it a little odd that the Falcons’ starting quarterback states that his team is running the West Coast offense, yet his head coach denies it? Shouldn’t Vick have been told that he’s “not in the West Coast offense?” What is going on here? Perhaps the two should seek a therapist to resolve their communication problems.

Secondly, Mora’s claim that his style of attack suits his players is a complete farce. Vick only threw for 2,412 yards and 15 touchdowns last season. That doesn’t seem horrible, but keep in mind of his 13 picks, 55.3 completion percentage and 73.1 quarterback rating. Both the percentage and rating are lower than the numbers he boasted in 2004. In addition to those pedestrian statistics, Vick only carried the ball 102 times for 597 yards. So much for the offense being tailored for him.

If Mora and Knapp really want to mold the offense to the skills of their players, they should insert Matt Schaub into the lineup. Schaub, a perfect candidate for either the West Coast style or Mora’s Lost Coast offense, started once in 2005 and was 18-of-34 for 298 yards and three touchdowns, as he nearly helped Atlanta defeat the New England Patriots.

In doing so, Mora can stop ruining Vick’s career by trading him to an organization that will design quarterback draws for the electrifying signal caller. Just think: We could actually watch Vick throw 60-yard bombs to quick receivers, as defenders helplessly decide whether to worry about his legs or his cannon of an arm. Everyone would win; Mora would enjoy coaching a West Coast quarterback, while Vick would no longer be dazed and confused.

And more importantly, things would finally start making sense.



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