“WAY too much of a players coach”: Will Raheem Morris Be Successful in Atlanta?

Snehith Vemuri
|Published 12/10/2020

Earlier today, the Falcons named their defensive coordinator Raheem Morris as the interim head coach after Dan Quinn was fired.

The firing of Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff doesn’t come as much of a surprise. The Falcons are sitting at 0-5 despite having one of the most talented offenses in football.

This year they’ve shown glimpses of quality but have fallen back to their habit of blowing late leads. Inevitably, when a team drastically underperforms it’s normally the head coach who gets the boot.

It was perhaps a bit harsh for Quinn who led the Falcons to Super Bowl appearance and 5 playoff games in his 5 years. However, he has a mediocre 43-42 regular season record and his late game decision making has been questionable to say the least.

The Falcons decided to go with DC Raheem Morris as the interim, taking over duties until the end of the season.

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Who Is Raheem Morris?

After graduating from Hofstra University, Morris had brief stints coaching there and at Cornell. He got his first job in the pros 4 years later when the Bucs hired him as a defensive quality control coach.

He stuck with Tampa Bay for a few years before returning to college football to work with Kansas State. However, just a year later, Morris rejoined the Buccaneers and eventually climbed the ladder all the way till the head coach position.

In 2009 when Tampa fired Jon Gruden, they named Morris as head coach. Unfortunately for him, it was a rough spell. In his 3 years as head coach, he had just one winning record (10-6) and still missed the playoffs that year. After going 4-12 in the 2011 season, the Bucs asked Morris to pack up.

He landed with Washington as a DBs coach and eventually made his way to Atlanta in 2015, where he has worked on both sides of the ball. Most recently, he worked as the defensive coordinator before earning his promotion today.

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Can Morris Solve Atlanta’s Problems?

Morris may not be the most exciting replacement if you’re a Falcons fan given his head coaching track record. Nevertheless, here’s an interesting take from NFL analyst Michael Schottey which may give you a new perspective.

Schottey makes an excellent point. When Morris got his first shot in 2009, he was just 33 and did not boast the experience he can today. Even now at 44 years old, Morris still comes in on the young side for an NFL head coach.

Morris does have 18 years of coaching experience, however, and actually won a Super Bowl in his first year in Tampa. The Falcons can’t be sure how the decision will pan out, but they’re definitely welcome to some change.

Here’s what Falcons president Rich McKay had to say about Morris:

“Raheem is a strong leader and a talented coach that has adapted to a variety of roles since joining the Falcons in 2015. He has experience as a head coach and has worked on both sides of the ball.”

“We felt that combined with his connection to the players and coaching staff, which will be an important factor as we move forward in 2020, he was the right person to give this responsibility to.”

More than 10 years since his first debut, Morris will have a second shot as an NFL head coach against the Vikings in week 6.

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