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Falcons hire Raheem Morris as head coach

Morris is coming back to Atlanta, this time as head coach.

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We have some breaking news on this somewhat quiet Thursday afternoon, as the Atlanta Falcons are officially hiring Raheem Morris as their next head coach. This ends a lengthy search after the team fired Arthur Smith, and it brings Morris back to a place he’s very familiar with.

After an extensive head coaching search which consisted of 14 different candidates being interviewed, including huge names in Bill Belichick and Jim Harbaugh, the Falcons have decided to bring back a very familiar face in Morris. Morris, now 47 years old, is the first Black non-interim head coach in team history, and had spent several years previously in Atlanta. Morris served as assistant head coach and wide receivers coach from 2015-2019 and in 2020 was the team’s defensive coordinator and eventually interim head coach once Dan Quinn was let go.

After leaving Atlanta, Morris joined the Los Angeles Rams and served as their defensive coordinator until today. Overall, Morris has won two Super Bowls: 2002 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and 2021 with the Rams. Speaking of the Buccaneers, this will mark Morris’s second stint as a head coach, as he coached in Tampa from 2009-2011 and piloting them to a 21-38 record over those three seasons.

This is a hire that addresses the team’s desire for more experience balanced against the franchise’s clear wish for a big, splashy name that indicated they were serious about winning. Morris has been coaching in the NFL since 2002, mostly on the defensive side of the ball, but has been both a head coach and assistant head coach in his career with three years of passing game coordination and wide receivers coaching from his last stint in Atlanta. That experience—and that experience in the Falcons franchise—likely played a major role in the hire, as well as Morris’s willingness to do what many suspected Bill Belichick would not do and work within the team’s current power structure.

Morris also has a strong reputation as a coach players love, something cornerback Jalen Ramsey affirmed on Thursday evening.

There’s already been talk of who he may bring in as offensive coordinator. Jonathan Jones of CBS Sports mentioned current Rams passing game coordinator/QBs coach Zac Robinson being a strong candidate for the job, and given that he’s a member of Sean McVay’s coaching tree and a fairly hot name out there for other offensive coordinator openings, it seems like it would be a good hire.

How do you feel about the hire?