Falcons hire Rams DC Raheem Morris as head coach

Falcons hire Rams DC Raheem Morris as head coach
Courtesy: NFL

The Falcons are attempting to fortify their future by looking back at their history.

Raheem Morris, the first former NFL head coach owner Arthur Blank has hired in his more than 20 years in Atlanta, was named the team’s coach on Thursday. In the history of the team, he is also the first Black head coach to work full-time.

In a statement, Blank remarked, “This is a historic day for the Atlanta Falcons.” We are overjoyed to have Raheem Morris rejoin the Atlanta Falcons as head coach. Raheem is the ideal leader to guide our team into the future, having emerged from a pool of outstanding applicants.

He’s become an even better-prepared coach in every facet of the game because of his experience in Los Angeles, where he gained a fresh perspective on personnel, team operations, game preparation, working with a superb offensive staff, and many other topics. His grasp of what it takes to establish a highly collaborative one-team culture has advanced, and I think that his leadership abilities have improved.

Following a thorough search that yielded 14 candidates, including former Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who was hired by the Los Angeles Chargers on Wednesday, former New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick and former Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel, Morris was hired.

Morris had a second interview with the club, along with four other coaches. Belichick, Bobby Slowik, the offensive coordinator for the Houston Texans, and Ejiro Evero, the defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers, were the others. The only team that Belichick is known to have interviewed with is the Falcons, and they have chosen to take a different approach.

Morris, who served as Atlanta’s interim coach for 11 games in 2020 after Dan Quinn was fired midway through the season, is making a return to Flowery Branch, Georgia, with this. Morris worked from 4 to 7 but was not offered a full-time position. Arthur Smith was hired by the Falcons instead.

Now that Smith was let go on January 8th, following three seasons of 21–30 results, the team has chosen to choose Morris as its permanent coach.

Morris released a statement saying, “I am overjoyed for the opportunity for my family and I to return to Atlanta as the Falcons head coach.” We have firsthand knowledge of Atlanta’s exceptional organization and the significance of this team to the community and its supporters. I am immensely grateful to Arthur Blank for his guidance and to the entire corporation for entrusting me with the responsibility of leading this team.

Morris, 47, won a Super Bowl in 2021 while serving as the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams for the previous three seasons.

His first full-time NFL head coaching position was with Tampa Bay from 2009 to 2011, during which time the team finished 17-31. This will be his second such position.

Following his initial stint with the Falcons in 2015 as defensive pass game coordinator, Morris then moved to Washington as the defensive backs coach from 2012 to 2014. From 2016 to 2019, Morris also served as Atlanta’s associate head coach.

After Quinn was fired, he was elevated to the position of interim head coach and became the Falcons’ defensive coordinator in 2020.

I adore it! I have nothing but pleasant memories with Rah leading the way, Falcons wide receiver Keith Smith texted ESPN. “Think his rapport with the org is an advantage to plug and play.”

Morris takes over a defense that includes defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, cornerback A.J. Terrell, and second-team All-Pro safety Jessie Bates III. Along with these skillful players, he gains running backs Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier, tight end Kyle Pitts, receiver Drake London, and two offensive lineman from his previous Atlanta stint: left tackle Jake Matthews and right guard Chris Lindstrom.

General manager Terry Fontenot released a statement saying, “I’m beyond excited to work side-by-side with Raheem in bringing a championship to Atlanta.” “… Raheem is the right fit for our team, culture, and shared vision for success in Atlanta, and I cannot wait to start working with him and have his energy in our building.”

As opposed to under the previous arrangement, where Fontenot and Morris reported to CEO Rich McKay, they will now report directly to Blank. McKay will continue to serve as the team’s representative on the NFL competition committee and in league affairs as an employee of AMB Sports & Entertainment. As the team president, Greg Beadles continues to be in charge of day-to-day operations.

Although many believed he no longer had any influence, McKay was said to have contributed on a daily basis during the press conference held on January 8th to announce Smith’s firing. Smith and Fontenot were reportedly spoken to by McKay “25 times a week.”

Although McKay will “no longer be involved in day-to-day football operations,” according to Blank on Thursday, his role within Blank’s broader enterprises will grow, and he will join the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation board as an associate director.

Morris began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York, where he played collegiate football after growing up in New Jersey. After serving as the defensive backs coach at Cornell in 1999, he returned to Hofstra in 2000 and served as the position’s coach there until 2001. He then had his first NFL experience as a defensive assistant with the Buccaneers.

Morris’s first priority once he appoints his staff will be to assess the quarterback situation. Blank described the team’s quarterback play from the previous season as “deficient,” which was one of the factors that led to Smith’s departure. However, Taylor Heinicke and Desmond Ridder are still on the roster.

Zac Robinson, the pass-game coordinator and coach of the Rams quarterbacks, is a strong contender to take over as Morris’ offensive coordinator in Atlanta, league sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Robinson will be a formidable contender for the O-coordinator position, but Morris likely wants to talk to several coaches about it.

Credits: ESPN

Read more at News Intercept:

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