Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

01 Jan 2007

Dennis Green, Jim Mora Fired

The least surprising firing of the postseason was the first, and right on schedule: Arizona's Dennis Green has been pinkslipped after three years, a 16-32 record, the most memorable quote of the season, and quite possibly the worst prolonged stretch of offensive line play in recent NFL history. UPDATE: Atlanta has also announced they have fired Jim Mora.

Posted by: Doug Farrar on 01 Jan 2007

51 comments, Last at 03 Jan 2007, 7:14pm by zlionsfan

Comments

1
by Ch V Kalyan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 2:45pm

Bye Bye Mr. Green ..

I guess you are thinking that the cardinals are who you thought they were and so if you want, you could ...

2
by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 2:49pm

What a shocker.

3
by Ilanin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 2:58pm

Ladies and Gentlemen, the 2007 coaching carousel is open. Roll up, roll up! Advance dates scheduled for Oakland, Kansas City, Atlanta, Pittsburgh...anywhere else?

4
by Josh (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 3:05pm

Dennis Green is what we thought he is! He is what we thought he is! We saw him coach in previous seasons, who treats seasons as bull***t?! bull***?! Dennis Green is what we thought he is! Now if you want to fire him, then fire his a**! But he is what we though he was! And we didn't let him off the hook!

Seriously, thanks to Dennis Green for providing one of the best NFL coach tirades in history.

And I'll throw out Mike Martz' name into the mix, seems like a great fit for him, team with a lot of offensive weapons.

5
by Sam! (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 3:13pm

4:
Add in to that that expectations are always high for Martz-coached teams, and that when Martz was HC of the Rams the team often underachived, and the underachieving/disappointing nature of the Cardinals franchise, it seems like a match made in heaven.

6
by PhillyCWC (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 3:16pm

On the NFL Network, they are also announcing that Jim Mora has been fired. I haven't been able to find a link to a story on the web yet.

7
by Bill Barnwell :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 3:18pm
8
by ArizonaCardinalsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 3:40pm

You should have seen the parade we had here yesterday...people are really excited about removing Dennis Geen. Oh wait, that was the Insight/Fiesta Bowl parade, never mind...

9
by VarlosZ (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 3:41pm

This is probably a good sign for Arizona. The old Cardinals would have kept Green on no matter how awful he was rather than eat the last year of his contract.

10
by ArizonaCardinalsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 3:42pm

4 & 5:
There's two HUGE reasons the Cardinals would hire Mike Martz...it would piss off the St. Louis Rams and Arizona State University at the same time.

11
by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 3:51pm

My only question is, why not go ahead and let Mariucci take over back in about week 15, give him a couple weeks to get a feel for everybody before the offseason, you know? Why wait until after the season to hire him? It's not like everybody doesn't know you agreed to a contract with the guy two months ago.

12
by ArizonaCardinalsFan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 4:00pm

11:

There's this little thing called the Rooney Rule that makes that scenarion virtually impossible. Mariucci has already cost one team $$$ under that rule...

13
by SteelerBill (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 5:17pm

Aha! So Vick IS a Coach Killer...

14
by Adam H (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 6:04pm

I don't care what anybody says, I beleive Mora said what he said on the radio specifically because he wanted to be fired.

15
by Vince (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 6:25pm

FREEDOM!!!

16
by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 6:41pm

re: FREEDOM

Is that from Mora's point of view? Falcon fan's point of view? The team's point of view?

17
by Dean (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 7:27pm

It's not like a new coach is going to make any difference. With a QB who's content to be mediocre; a coddling owner who serves as an enabler; and a poorly educated home-team fanbase more concerned with style then substance who collectively cries racism any time someone criticizes the guy - well, the ingredients are all in place for years of future mediocracy.

18
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 7:44pm

Martz doesn't make as much sense as all that for the Cardinals. His offense doesn't really play to the strengths of Boldin and Fitzgerald, and his ability to magic pro-bowl quarterbacks out of thin air is less relevant to a team that just drafted Leinart, who looks capable of making it with or without Mad Mike.

19
by joe (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 7:52pm

I think Mora will be back on his feet a lot sooner than the Falcons will

20
by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 7:59pm

Martz doesn’t make as much sense as all that for the Cardinals. His offense doesn’t really play to the strengths of Boldin and Fitzgerald...

Mr Shush, what is it about Martz, Boldin, and Fitzgerald that isn't a match?

21
by Vince (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 8:36pm

16: Definitely for the fans. Did you see the play where Vick got hurt on Sunday? Play fake to the right, Vick runs naked bootleg to the left. The DRE was left unblocked. There was no FB or TE to dump off to, just a WR running deep in tight man coverage. So Plan A was that the DRE would fall for the play fake and chase the RB across the field. And there was no Plan B. And Atlanta ran that play ALL THE TIME this year. It's like the coaches expected defenders to still be surprised that Michael Vick might run with the ball.

And if you want to blame Vick's problems on Vick himself (I'll be the first to say he was HORRIBLE against Carolina), that's fine, but what else does Mora have going for him? Aside from QB runs, what does this team do well, or where do they seem to be getting better? I can't think of much.

22
by Insancipitory (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 8:37pm

Seems to me Martz is an excellent fit for the Falcons. No one can say the lack of development on the part of the Falcon WRs wasn't a significant part of the problem. If they cut their drops by just 25% would they still be out of the playoffs? Even with Vicks faults?

But as a Seahawks fan I must confess my great fear was Jeff Fisher would take over the Cards.

23
by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 8:59pm

There’s this little thing called the Rooney Rule that makes that scenarion virtually impossible. Mariucci has already cost one team $$$ under that rule...

OK, so they interview Mike Singletary or somebody, then hire Mariucci in week 15. That wouldn't be any more flagrant a sham than what teams do now.

Re: 18 and 20

Like it or not, Martz is an excellent offensive coordinator. Handing him the best WR in the NFL (Fitzgerald) and the best #2 WR in the NFL (Boldin) to play with sounds awfully familiar a scenario, no? Worked out OK the first time he tried that, and he would have a better quarterback this time.

Anyhow, the Cardinals let it leak two months ago that they're hiring Mariucci just as soon as they're done interviewing some random black coordinator to satisfy the Rooney Rule.

That makes me wonder... do you think the Steelers are kinda under a bit of pressure to hire a black coach to replace Cowher, since Rooney was the one who's been pushing so hard on that issue?

24
by PackMan (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 9:32pm

23.
Singletary?

And why would Martz not fit with Arizona? I know he runs the same offense that Green does, and it didn't look amazing in Detroit, but it is hard to argue that detroit has the same talent that AZ does.

Ron Rivera, Mike Sherman, and Norm Chow are also rumored to be candidates.

25
by navin (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 10:21pm

The Martz offense and Denny Green's offense are at their hearts polar opposites. The Martz offense, which is really the Air Coryell offense, stretches the field vertically.

Denny Green supposedly runs the Walsh offense, which stretches the field horizontally. I still think Martz can succeed in Arizona, but it would be a shift in offensive strategy.

26
by joe (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 10:49pm

I think Martz would be a much better fit in Atlanta rather than Arizona. Martz loves fast WR's to stretch the field (Furrey, Bruce, Holt, R.Williams). While Fitz and Boldin are by no means slow, they arent exactly speedsters. And I dont think Leinart would last 10 minutes in Martz system with their line, Martz QB's have a long history of injuries (Green, Warner, Bulger) because they sit back in the pocket so much waiting for the play to develop. Saying all this, Martz is sounding more and more like a great fit in Atlanta, a QB strong armed who can escape under pressure, Dunn is a good enough reciecer out of the backfield, with Roddy White at WR, add Mike Furrey and you got an offense.

27
by ravensnut (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 11:13pm

Three down and four (or more?) to go. Joe Gibbs, anyone?

I'd like to see someone take a chance on Monte Kiffin. (To old?)

The retreads never really get any traction; Martz, Mariucci... someone will hire Norv Turner. Just watch.

28
by Reinhard (not verified) :: Mon, 01/01/2007 - 11:42pm

And as the announcers for eery Lions game will tell you, Kitna learned more in this one year under Martz about quarterbacking than in the rest of his NFL career. Maybe he would be a good teacher for Vick

29
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 1:19am

Martz to Arizona seems like an odd fit-for reasons already stated.

but did anyone think they would see Mike Furrey bring in 98 catches with over 1000 yards receiving?

30
by emcee fleshy (atl/sd) (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 7:29am

17 - "and a poorly educated home-team fanbase more concerned with style then substance who collectively cries racism any time someone criticizes the guy."

So, you're saying that the fans in the largest majority-black city in the USA are too uniquely dumb to tell what's a racist comment and what's a legitimate critique?

Doesn't really matter how dumb we are when you make it this easy to tell.

31
by emcee fleshy (atl/sd) (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 9:37am

The rest of the FO folks - that wasn't directed at you. Y'all's gripes are legit.

32
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 11:56am

What home team fanbases aren't poorly educated?

33
by Jon Coit (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 11:58am

"mediocracy"

Either you meant "mediocrity" or you've coined a great conservative neologism about the effects of an "excess" of democracy.

Nothin' like edumication.

34
by Jon Coit (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 12:00pm

Wait--is it possible you meant "media-cracy" i.e. democracy of equally superficial and uninformed media outlets?

35
by Dean (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 12:10pm

RE#30 - here we go. As soon as someone criticizes the guy, it's automatically racism.

And yes, I am saying that as a collective entity, the Atlanta Falcon fanbase isn't all that savvy. I will reiterate that they value flash over substance, and the very fact that they embrace such mediocre quarterback play from Vick is Exhibit A as supporting evidence. If Vick played in most other towns (think Buffalo, Philly, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Green Bay, Kansas City, Oakland, Denver) - he'd have been turned on by the fans long ago - they wouldn't have supported his acceptance of mediocracy.

I guess that makes me a racist. Anybody got a hood? I can't seem to find mine.

Not that it matters but other fanbases that I would single out for not being collectivly intelligent are Indianapolis and Miami (which is painful to admit because the Dolphins are my second favorite team).

36
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 12:27pm

Erasmus, it shouldn't be too much of a surprise, especially with Jones missing the last few games: we knew the Lions would suck, so they'd be throwing the ball more than an average team; with Martz in charge, they'd throw it more than a team with above-average attempts; and with Roy Williams drawing double teams more often than not, someone's got to be open.

I don't mean to take anything away from Furrey. He's been a pleasant surprise, that's for sure, and he was a contributor to my championship team, but hey, someone had to catch the passes that didn't go to Jones and Williams. I guess what I'm saying is that we should have been able to pencil in "Detroit #2 WR" for a big season.

If Martz goes (and why wouldn't he?), I'd expect the offense to suffer a bit next season, especially if the new OC has to work Zabransky into the offense instead of letting him sit for a season and learn.

37
by emcee fleshy (atl/sd) (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 1:00pm

35 - See # 31 - There are lots of legitimate criticisms of both Vick and ATL. But your original comment clearly came from an unfortunate place in your heart.

You can still beat that instinct, though. I wish you the best.

38
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 1:27pm

I've watched a couple of Vince Young games lately, and a couple of Vick games, and Vick runs seem to look completely different than Young runs. For one, on a lot of Young's runs, once it becomes clear that hes going to take off, it seems like his line gets involved, and starts moving down field, it almost looks like a screen pass sometimes, with all those blockers.

Vick on the other hand, I dont see any of that, and thats a pretty damning indictment of the coach, if you ask me. Fisher already is making better use of Young than Mora is of Vick after 4 years.

39
by Dean (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 1:39pm

RE#37 - so now you're an expert on my heart? This is getting absurd.

I actually did not know that Atlanta had the largest black population of whatever (NFL? America?). Now that I know, I would like to forget. I consider that irrelavent. Clearly, you don't. We'll have to agree to disagree.

That being said, it does make my comments (unintentionally) racIAL. But there is a big difference between racIAL and racIST. It's been my observation in the past that those who most frequently misunderstand the two are those with axes to grind.

I have no interest in hijacking this thread and turning it into a forum for the state of race relations in America, so I won't be responding to any further posts on the topic.

However, I'll leave with these thoughts:

If I were black, would my original comments be somehow more palatable?

Are you one of Vick's apolgists? Are you content seeing him be mediocre every year as long as he's "exciting" and can make sportscenter?

40
by joel in providence (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:09pm

so the smelling salts didn't work? who'd of thunk...

41
by emcee fleshy (atl/sd) (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:39pm

A man's heart is unknowable. But his words and actions provide the only window we have, however imperfect.

I apologize to the rest of you, who just wanted to celebrate the departure of bad coaches.

That will be all for me today.

42
by Vince (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 6:13pm

Dean: YOU'RE the one who brought up race relations in this thread. They never crossed anyone else's mind.

43
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 6:42pm

Vince, you can talk about race without being racist.

Facts:
1. Michael Vick is at best a mediocre quarterback.

2. Michael Vick is the highest paid player in football.

3. Michael Vick is black.

4. Atlanta has a very high percentage of black fans.

5. Atlanta fans like michael vick.

Now, the simplest explanation, is that they like michael vick because hes black. They certainly dont like him because hes a good QB, or becuase hes good value. They certainly dont like he becaues hes personable or charismatic.

EmceeFleshy, if anyone here is being a racist, its you.

44
by Richie (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 6:42pm

Is Art Shell going to survive?

Is this going to be the least coaching turnover in an offseason in a long time?

45
by Vince (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 7:46pm

43: Wow. Just, wow.

Perhaps Atlanta fans like Vick because he has a history of making big plays to win games? Granted, a lot of those games were close because of his poor play, but watching a guy:

* run 43 yards to win a game in OT (Minnesota, 2002) or
* run 16 yards to force OT against Pittsburgh (2002, game ended in a tie) or
* run 12 yards to force OT in Carolina (2003) or
* run 50-some yards to lock up a game against Arizona (2004) or
* lead multiple comebacks against Pittsburgh and Cincinnati this year

may in fact endear him to the home crowd?

Also, while a consistent, low-risk guy like Brad Johnson may have equal or better value than Vick, he'll do little to really get you excited. "All right, another 8-yard buttonhook! SWEET!"

46
by Randy S. (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 8:25pm

43 - Just like how it's racist that those poor WR's in Atlanta are getting all the blame for Vick's bad play. It's hard out there for a (Roddy) White.

47
by Justin Zeth (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 10:04pm

I'm scratching my head at this whole fight. I criticize Michael Vick all the time -- the man is not an NFL quarterback, and shows no interest in becoming one -- but whenever someone jumps on that and says I'm just a racist (it does happen, of course), I just shrug my shoulders. Who cares? Warren Moon was a terrific quarterback; I'm still a Byron Leftwich apologist; I didn't like Vince Young at first, but he's making a believer out of me. Kordell Stewart was an awful quarterback; Michael Vick is a bad quarterback.

But if someone wants to say that if I don't like all black quarterbacks, that makes me a racist... who cares?

48
by Truman (not verified) :: Tue, 01/02/2007 - 10:05pm

Nope, I only like Michael Vick because he's black and I'm too stupid to see the flaws in his game.

49
by Vince (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 2:11am

#47: If you say "I don't think Michael Vick is a good QB," and someone replies "You're racist," you need to stop hanging out with that person immediately, forever.

Look, it is perfectly reasonable to critique Vick without bringing race into it. It is also perfectly reasonable to defend him without bringing race into it. So why do it?

50
by Paul (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 9:47am

#38 Agreed. Jim Mora is a fraud. There are numerous examples of his coaching incompetency over the years. This is a guy who somehow road his father's coattails into a head coaching job and he simply doesn't belong there. Maybe he's a good positional coach or coordinator but he clearly is not a good head coach. And, the more I dwell on it, it wouldn't surprise me if he and his father planned their "soundbites" so that he test the waters and/or get fired with pay instead of quitting if the waters were not in his favor.

51
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Wed, 01/03/2007 - 7:14pm

Jim Mora Jr.'s career record against Detroit: 1-2.

That, to me, is indicative of a problem.