The Atlanta Falcons have had a few weeks to look at their organization, and have made a few perplexing moves. The front office was kept predominately intact, with only Lionel Vital involuntarily moving on from the organization. The coaching staff was left predominately intact, with only Terry Robiskie voluntarily move on from the organization.
Robiskie's replacement? Defensive backs coach and assistant head coach Raheem Morris. Morris is being replaced by the highly regarded Jerome Henderson. Henderson is considered a great defensive backs coach, but so is Morris. If that move is confusing, join the club. The Atlanta Falcons officially announced the move on Monday, and Quinn tried to explain the move.
"I am excited about these moves and what they will do for our coaching staff," said Head Coach Dan Quinn. "I have known Raheem for over 19 years and I have no doubt his extensive background in the passing game will prove to be a tremendous asset to our offensive coaching staff. His experience, combined with his personality, makes him the perfect fit to take over this role. Coach Henderson brings an excellent understanding of the passing game in the NFL, and has proven his ability to develop players over his time in this league. He will be a great addition to our staff and I am looking forward to getting to work with both of these men in their new positions."
It is pretty rare to see a coach switch sides, especially after being so successful on one side of the ball. I can't help but to feel uneasy moving from one of the most experienced wide receiver coaches in the league, to someone who has no experience coaching wide receivers.
Will it work?
That is hard to say. While Robiskie was very well respected, his success in Atlanta is pretty impressive. Roddy White turned it around one year before Robiskie arrived. Julio Jones was almost certainly going to become a great player regardless of coaching. So we are perhaps looking at Harry Douglas as Robiskie's best work? Not that Robiskie was ever given much more than a group of undrafted free agents to coach up, but drops have been a big problem more often than not.
My point here: how much worse could Morris possibly be? Additionally, Morris must have supported the move, if not suggested it. At the very least he is confident he can work with the wide receivers. Considering his quality work with the defensive backs, it is a very risky career move for Morris.
One possibility is that Quinn is looking to add a close friend and veteran coach to balance out Kyle Shanahan's uneven offense. One criticism of Shanahan's time in Washington was he brought on a number of inexperienced coaches that would not challenge his authority. Shanahan brought a number of those same coaches to Atlanta.
Can Morris help improve the offense, and give Quinn better insight to the problems that plagued the passing game last year? It is a big risk for Quinn, who cannot afford to have another year of a middling offense.