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Mora, Snyder discuss opening

- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 17, 2008

Seattle Seahawks assistant Jim Mora became the third person to interview for the Washington Redskins' coaching position, and Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Ron Meeks is set to chat with owner Dan Snyder today.

Mora began meeting with Snyder around 3 p.m.

All indications are that Colts assistant head coach-quarterbacks Jim Caldwell will not be interviewed to succeed Joe Gibbs. If Tony Dungy retires, Caldwell is the favorite to replace him.

Just like when Snyder interviewed Tennessee assistant Jim Schwartz and Redskins assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams, the sessions were held off-site. There was no sign of Snyder, vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato or Mora at Redskin Park.

Mora completed his first season on Mike Holmgren's staff, coaching the defensive backs, and he would be a strong candidate in Seattle if Holmgren opts to retire.

"A lot of people were kind of guessing he was positioning himself for the Seahawks and Washington jobs," a league source said. "It's a very curious interview. I don't think it makes a lot of sense when you've got a defensive guy who is a former head coach already in the house."

Like Williams, Mora has NFL coaching experience — he was 26-22 with the Atlanta Falcons (2004-06). In his first season, the Falcons started 4-0 before finishing with an 11-5 record to win the NFC South and defeat St. Louis 47-17 in the divisional playoffs before losing 27-10 at Philadelphia in the NFC title game.

Atlanta started the 2005 season 6-2 but finished 2-6, and when the Falcons went 7-9 last year, owner Arthur Blank fired Mora and hired Louisville coach Bobby Petrino. That decision resulted in a 4-12 season and Blank looking for a third coach in as many seasons.

The Falcons had no problem running the football, but quarterback Michael Vick never got better in Mora's three seasons, throwing 49 touchdowns and 38 interceptions and being sacked 122 times.

The source said Mora didn't get a raw deal in Atlanta from Blank and general manager Rich McKay.

"In league circles, he was perceived as being too close to the players, and the players ran things," the source said. "He was too buddy-buddy with them, and they had some discipline problems."

Mora is the son of former New Orleans and Indianapolis coach Jim Mora.

Meeks has been the Colts' defensive coordinator for six seasons. His two defenses finished in the top 10 in fewest yards allowed before plummeting to 29th in 2004. The Colts won Super Bowl XLI despite finishing 21st in yards allowed, but this season Indianapolis rose to third in the league.