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The Atlanta Falcons Have Found Their Next Head Coach in Raheem Morris

It only took 14 interviews from a wide variety of NFL coaches for the Atlanta Falcons to find their next head coach, but it has officially been announced that Raheem Morris will be the next football coach of the Atlanta Falcons!

The Falcons pulled a good one on us, as it seemed that Bill Belichick would be the next Falcons HC after he was the candidate to complete two interviews first, it also seemed from the beginning Atlanta was the favorite to sign the veteran head coach. But, after his second interview, it seemed any interest between the two parties went cold. The Falcons then lost interest, which shifted their priority to other candidates including Morris.

Atlanta first requested to interview Morris on January 11th and then was brought back in for a second interview, completed on January 24th. The interesting to note is that the Falcons still had second interviews scheduled with at least four other coaches (Ben Johnson and Bobby Slowik included). So, it seems Atlanta was "all in" on Morris after his second interview.

Now, getting into Morris, who spent his last three years with the Los Angeles Rams as their defensive coordinator where he also won a Super Bowl in 2021. But, that's not how Falcons fans find the name familiar, as Morris spent six seasons in Atlanta from the years 2015 to the end of the 2020 season. Morris was the assistant head coach till 2019, while he was the assistant head coach, he held other positions like defensive pass game coordinator, WR coach for four seasons, and passing game coordinator for three seasons. As a Matt Ryan fanatic, Morris was the passing game coordinator during Ryan's best year, so I had to throw in what he could potentially do with Atlanta’s future quarterback.

In 2020, Morris's final year in Atlanta, he was moved to defensive coordinator, which was short-lived due to the firing of Dan Quinn after the team started the season 0-5. Morris took over as the Interim head coach and finished with a record of 4-12. That wasn't the only head coaching experience that Morris has had. The 47-year-old was also the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2009-2011 where he finished with a record of 17-31. Morris had one season over .500 in 2010 where he and the Buccaneers finished 10-6 but didn't make the playoffs.

This hire has received highly positive reviews from Falcons players and other coaches/executives from around the NFL. Morris is highly liked around the NFL, his former boss (Sean McVay) believes "Raheem has a charisma, presence, and ability to communicate and connect with players and coaches that's truly unmatched. "Atlanta hired an incredibly special coach, but an even more exceptional person who will lead the right way." Mike Tomlin seems to have a similar view as well.

I'll have a more in-depth piece next week on Morris and how I think his coaching tree will take place, but a name to know right now is Rams passing game coordinator/QB coach Zac Robinson who could potentially be the next Falcons offensive coordinator. But, the question remains, was the right hire for the Falcons?

I love to see the praise that Morris has gotten from around the league. It must feel good as a player to know your next head coach is very respected in the NFL. He has a very good personality that involves humility and confidence. I also think Morris isn't the same coach when he left Atlanta after 2020; spending three years under McVay has evolved him as head coach, and it's nice to see Atlanta take a second chance on Morris. Morris also has experience of coaching on both sides of the ball, something that can't be taken for granted in today's NFL.

However, the outlook for the 2024 season is to win. In my opinion, this hire by Arthur Blank is saying, "Raheem Morris gives us the best chance to win than any other candidate does," and it's not just because you were impressed by what he's done in his interviews or what he did in his first stint in Atlanta. The hesitation is the 21-38 record as an NFL head coach, and while being a defensive-minded individual, his defenses haven't found success other than the Super Bowl season and a couple of years while in Tampa. But, I remain optimistic as he gets to build his staff, and has the opportunity to coach a very talented Falcons roster that is just missing a QB and some pass rush talent. Again, a more in-depth article to come right here on TDT!

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