When Michael Vick spoke Thursday about needing to be more aggressive, more of a risk-taker, after just his second turnover-free game of the season, a lot of us wondered if this was really what the coaching staff had in mind.
Marty Mornhinweg assured us Friday that it was.
"We've talked about that ... that's necessary," the Eagles' offensive coordinator said. "You know our mentality, we've talked about that before. We want to be aggressive, aggressive, aggressive. Unafraid to make a mistake. When we make a mistake, we try to swiftly correct it and we move on. It's that simple.
"There's reasons why these things have occurred. Excellence is all about attitude. We've discussed that as a unit -- that is important, that attitude and that certain mentality.
"I thought last ballgame, at a certain point in that ballgame, we needed more of it."
The implication was that Vick and other players on Mornhinweg's unit maybe got a little discouraged. LeSean McCoy talked after the game about playing with pride and heart, in the aftermath of the 30-17 loss to the unbeaten Falcons.
Mornhinweg referenced "a certain attitude, that we're the baddest men on the field. And that mentality that we're going to be aggressive, aggressive, aggressive."
Mornhinweg noted that problems are "highlighted when you don't get many chances," that you have to make the most of limited opportunities. The Eagles had the ball just once in the first quarter Sunday, as the Falcons built a 14-0 lead.
Mornhingweg said he has had "a couple of private conversations" with Vick lately, did not want to characterize them. He said the Eagles "typically have" the attitude he referenced. "We've gone through some hard times as a ballclub in the past, and then come out of it and played well down the stretch. Last year, it was too late when we put it together. We've got to put it together now, get going."
Asked how much of a distraction criticism of the team has become, Mornhinweg said: "Very little. I will say this, that there are some players that can't play in this city. It's that simple. The tough guy, physically and mentally, can thrive, playing for the Philadelphia Eagles and this city. I've been here a while now, I've built up a lot of respect for our fans. They are passionate. It's almost like they can say anything they want about their players, but nobody else can. We understand that. It's very simple: outside influences distract us zero."
Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles said missed tackles were the culprit when it came to Atlanta's repeated success with screens. He said the changed rotational numbers on the defensive line reflected the Falcons' tendency to run the ball; he indicated those trends might not hold for Monday's game at New Orleans.
Asked about defensive end Brandon Graham, whose 31 snaps were his most of the season, Bowles said: "Brandon did a good job. I don't know if it was so much an increase as it was different personnel groups require different people. If you get caught out there on a long drive, your snaps may tend to get skewed a little bit more."
Bowles said that in allowing Atlanta to score on its first six drives of the game, "there were a lot of things (from) training camp and OTAs, Day 1 kinds of things that shouldn't have happened ... we corrected them in the meeting, and we'll go from there."