Mornhinweg has created plays that take advantage of Vick's natural abilities, and Vick has shown the ability to turn busted plays into long gains and touchdowns.
Vick, as Eagles coach Andy Reid and Mornhinweg have emphasized, deserves most of the credit for his turnaround, one that has elicited MVP chatter as the Eagles prepare for a huge test Sunday night against the New York Giants.
Reid, of course, made the ultimate decision to sign Vick 15 months ago, a decision that remains controversial. He is as responsible for Vick's maturation and the explosiveness of the Eagles' offense as anyone. And supporting players, such as quarterbacks coach James Urban, have played a pivotal part in Vick's growth on and off the field.
But it was Mornhinweg who instantly earned his new quarterback's respect, convinced him to make changes in his game, and designed an offense that harks back to the coach's days with Hall of Famer Steve Young and utilizes Vick's singular skills.
"It all starts with Marty," Reid said last week. "James is the foot soldier. He's doing it every day. But Marty breaks it down and starts all over."
Mornhinweg and Vick had never met until a few days before the Eagles' stunning signing of the former Atlanta Falcon just weeks after he was reinstated by the NFL. Mornhinweg had faced Vick as the head coach of the Detroit Lions and with the Eagles, but he did not know what it would be like to work closely with him every day.
"I had talked to people," Mornhinweg said. "I knew people that had coached him. I thought I knew quite a little bit about him - what his strengths and weaknesses were."
Mornhinweg came away convinced that he could not only coexist with Vick but that he could nurture the quarterback as he did with his previous pupils. Vick was humbled not only by his experience in prison and time out of the league but also by Mornhinweg's impressive track record.
"I trusted him. I knew what he accomplished with Donovan [McNabb], and I knew what he did with [Steve] Young and [Brett] Favre," Vick said. "So I figured, 'Hey, why not change?' "
What makes the relationship so intriguing is that Mornhinweg helping Vick make the most of his second chance means that Vick, in return, can help Mornhinweg get his second chance at being a head coach.
And Mornhinweg wants another chance. It's been eight years since the Lions fired Mornhinweg after two seasons of 5-27 football. Philadelphia is not NFL purgatory, but eight years is a long time between head-coaching gigs.
"That's a good thing. Because I think the really good head coaches are at one place for an extended period of time, and they gather a bunch of wins as a [coordinator]," said Mornhinweg, 48. "You know, when I was a head coach I was very young."
And Vick was very young when he was cast as the future of the NFL and failed to live up to those expectations.
Vick and Mornhinweg: different but alike in so many ways.
Both Vick and Mornhinweg are tough guys and supremely confident in their abilities, which makes them excellent leaders.
Neither is a yeller.
"He'll just give you a look and you'll go, 'What was that?' " Vick said of Mornhinweg. "He doesn't even have to say something and you know what he's getting at. But you want coaches like that."
With his Fu-Manchu mustache - now shaved - his lower lip perpetually tucked with tobacco, and his colorful language, Mornhinweg can cut an imposing figure.
"I guess he's kind of like the stereotypical type of coach you might see in the movies," Eagles rookie quarterback Mike Kafka said. "He's got the dip in there. . . . He's very demanding. He expects perfection, and that's what he asks for every day in practice."
Some players don't respond to that sort of intensity, although many quarterbacks do. Mornhinweg said that he hasn't ever had a student who had a problem with his way of coaching, "or they don't tell me," he added.
"Marty's a tough guy," Reid said. "But [Vick] is very humble and open to things. I've learned that. He wants to do well."
Vick's toughness is different. There is, of course, his penchant for taking a hit, getting up, and still playing. But when needed, the normally reserved Vick won't shy away from getting in a teammate's face, as he did when Jorrick Calvin nearly fumbled away a kickoff return Monday against the Redskins.
"When I came to the sideline Mike just grabbed me and said, 'Get your head out of your ass,' " Calvin said.
But mostly the Eagles follow Vick for how he is, not for what he does.
"We talk pretty regularly about those types of things." Mornhinweg said. "It sounds kind of strange, a year and a half after he came out of being away. But he's got a lot of natural leadership capabilities. He does, says, and acts like a leader."
When Vick first joined the Eagles in August 2009, Mornhinweg wasn't concerned as much about his leadership skills. McNabb was the starting quarterback. Kevin Kolb was the backup, and Vick was just an experiment.
But Mornhinweg knew this Philadelphia experiment could succeed, having worked with a similar player in San Francisco.
"I think one of things that Marty saw was he had an opportunity to coach Steve Young - a lefthanded, mobile quarterback that was phenomenal in the pocket and outside the pocket," Reid said. "And so I think that not only is that instant respect from Michael's standpoint looking at Marty, but also Marty can relate things that way to Michael."
In the beginning, Mornhinweg started with something as basic as the center-quarterback exchange. And they went from there to Vick's stance.
"I had a long stride, and he just wanted me to shorten my stride and develop a good base when I'm throwing the football," Vick said. "I'm still working on it now. My arm is so strong naturally that I have a tendency to throw all-arm sometimes."
That balance has resulted in better accuracy. In Atlanta, Vick completed just 54.4 percent of his passes. This season, he's been accurate 62.7 percent of the time and has yet to throw an interception in 153 attempts.
The change in Vick's stance was really the only major technical alteration. The Eagles did not fiddle with his throwing mechanics. That was one of the things he did flawlessly. Vick, on his own, knew that he had to improve his study habits, which were notoriously lax in Atlanta. And with Vick as a willing pupil, Mornhinweg taught.
"Everything he explained he explained in detail," Vick said. "Like if he was telling a story about his family, he would give you a clear picture, a vivid picture of what he's trying to say."
The real teaching didn't start until after last season, a season in which Vick spent most of his time in a wildcat role. As Vick worked his way back into shape, Mornhinweg kept seeing improvement, and by April the Eagles had decided to bring Vick back, partly because no team was willing to trade for him.
At that point, McNabb had been traded and Kolb named his successor. But Mornhinweg kept privately telling people that Vick was playing as well as either. No one believed him.
"They've given him discipline, but they haven't taken away his need and want to be athletic," said Kolb, who lost the starting job by Week 3. "That's a fine line because a lot of guys, if they would have got Mike, they would want him to be this prototypical [quarterback]. Being athletic is his best attribute, so they found a way to harness it back to where it's playing in the system but at the same time [letting] it go.
"Obviously, he's letting it go."
The right place
There's a certain cachet that goes with having the NFL's top-rated passer. And with the Eagles among the league leaders in almost every major offensive category, it's easy to see why Mornhinweg is once again being mentioned as a head-coaching candidate.
"I think he would be a great head coach in this league again," Reid said.
If any other coordinator had put up the numbers Mornhinweg's offenses have over the last several seasons he probably would have gotten a top job at this point. The franchise's three highest totals in yardage have come with Mornhinweg in charge of the offense.
In each of the last two seasons, the Eagles set franchise scoring records, and they're on pace to do it again this year. In fact, if the Eagles maintain their current rate they will set team marks in total yards, touchdowns, and scoring.
But Mornhinweg has had a hard time living down his stint in lowly Detroit, where his decision to take the wind instead of the ball in overtime still provokes derision. He said he does not doubt, nor did he ever, that he can still be a winning NFL coach.
"I have confidence in that," Mornhinweg said. "But at the right place now. I made a mistake last time because of talent. If you don't have the talent, you can't coach the way you want to."
All he needs is a second chance, his supporters say. Bill Belichek, Mike Shanahan, and Tom Coughlin, after difficult first jobs, just needed that second opportunity to put it all together and win Super Bowls.
Mornhinweg said he's not thinking that far ahead. He is concerned with maximizing Vick's second chance first. And the affinity each has for one another was apparent as the clock ticked down on the Eagles' victory over the Indianapolis Colts two weeks ago. With the win in hand, Vick turned to Mornhinweg, and the two embraced, the image caught on TV.
"We work so hard every day, and Marty stays on top of me," Vick said. "He expects so much out of his quarterbacks. And when we put it all together and won, that was a period of jubilation."
Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Jeff_McLane