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New Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Raheem Morris - What Now Falcons?

Where does Bill Belichick go now? He goes home. His Atlanta Falcons staff has convinced Arthur Blank to go collaborative with Los Angeles Rams Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris versus handing Bill the keys to the Toyota. Scratch that, a Toyota has been reliable for 20 years.

Morris familiarly interim coached the Falcons between the Dan Quinn and Arthur Smith regimes in 2020, going 4-7 during that tenure after a 0-5 start to the year.

Let’s look at a simple resume for Morris: 

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002) Defensive Quality Control

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2003) Defensive Assistant

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2004-2005) Assistant Defensive Backs Coach

  • Kansas State (2006) Defensive Coordinator

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2007-2008) Defensive Backs Coach

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2009-2011) Head Coach

  • Washington Redskins (2012-2014) Defensive backs coach

  • Atlanta Falcons (2015-2019) Assistant Head Coach & Pass Game Coordinator

  • Atlanta Falcons (2016-2019) Wide Receivers Coach

  • Atlanta Falcons (2020) Defensive Coordinator/Interim Head Coach

  • Los Angeles Rams (2021 – 2023) Defensive Coordinator

Morris wins the most extensive Head Coaching search the NFL has seen in years, landing the job among 14 interviewed candidates, four of whom got a second interview (Morris, Belichick, Houston Texans OC Bobby Slowik, and Carolina Panthers DC Ejiro Evero.) At 47 years old, Morris is in a position to be in Atlanta for the long haul should this pairing click.

What else comes with this? Defined roles. Owner Arthur Blank made a statement defining that Morris and General Manager Terry Fontenot report to Blank and Blank only. CEO Rich McKay is no longer involved with football operations. So what is the next step? Fill out the staff. Everyone’s eyes are on the offensive playcaller first. Rams Passing Game Coordinator and QB Coach Zac Robinson looks to be the early favorite.

Why not just retain Morris after the 2020 season? Arthur Blank thankfully addressed that today (and will assuredly at the Introductory Press Conference TBD), “His time in LA has given him an enhanced perspective on everything from personnel, team operations, game planning, working with an outstanding offensive staff and many other things that has helped him develop into an even more prepared coach in all aspects of the game. I believe his leadership skills have grown and his understanding of what it takes to have a highly collaborative one-team culture are now at a much higher level." 

Another big question looms for the Morris regime: Who’s the quarterback? Draft or Trade? The Falcons haven’t had even close to average caliber play at the position in the last few years, let alone good. Is Justin Fields coming to town? Do the Chicago Bears hold the cards for Atlanta with the #1 pick and Washington and New England also need quarterbacks at #2 and #3? One thing feels certain, aim is going to be taken for a quarterback who can go the long haul with Raheem. He’s 47, this isn’t a 3-4-year expected window like Belichick would have been.

So what does Raheem inherit from a general personnel perspective with years ahead? Emphasis on years ahead.  A legit WR1, an athletic freak at TE1, a solved offensive interior, an elite running back room, an All-Pro Safety, a Pro Bowl-caliber CB1, a productive starting-caliber linebacker unit, and secondary depth. This team is ready to win in 2024.

What does Raheem need now to win in 2024 beyond a QB and make real playoff noise? WR2-4 upgrades, youth developmental depth at Tackle, defensive interior, pass rush on the edge, and potentially a CB2. The Draft holds picks #8, 43, 74, 79, 109, 141, and 198. The 79th can become the 48th if Jacksonville extends Calvin Ridley. Whether capital is used to trade up for a QB or to trade, Morris and Fontenot have options and resources.

No excuse for this Raheem Morris/Terry Fontenot regime to not work. Morris has led a Super Bowl-winning defense and has head coaching experience. Morris is possibly the most-liked coach in the league by coaching peers and players. His endorsements from the likes of Mike Tomlin, Sean McVay, Les Snead, and Jalen Ramsey, among others have been unmatched and infinite. Morris acts as if this is his dream job. He wants to be here for the long haul. Fontenot and Morris have clearly defined authority and roles. The NFC South is for the taking with respect to Tampa’s great efforts down the stretch. If Tampa can win a playoff game….

Read more NFL news from Stadium Rant here: NFL News


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