Raheem Morris vowed to create a winning culture with visions on a Super Bowl when he was introduced as the Atlanta Falcons head coach on Monday.
Morris was named to the position after three years as the defensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams, helping the team to a Super Bowl title to conclude the 2021 season.
It will be Morris’ second turn as a full-time head coach. He spent 2009-11 in charge of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who went 17-31 during his tenure. He was on the Buccaneers’ staff in 2002 when the team won a Bowl Bowl.
“It’s going to be a winning culture and we’re here to win football games,” Morris said. “At the end of the year, there is only one team that is happy. I’ve only been in that position twice in my career and I can’t wait to go back there again and I can’t wait to do it with you.”
Morris, 47, beat out the likes of Bill Belichick for the job. Atlanta interviewed 14 candidates in all, including Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh (now with the Los Angeles Chargers) and former Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel.
Belichick, Houston Texans offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik and Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero all had two interviews for the Falcons’ head post, along with Morris.
Morris also interviewed with the Chargers, Panthers, Washington Commanders and Seattle Seahawks for their vacancies.
“Through (our) search it was very clear that one person stood out and that was Raheem Morris,” Falcons general manager Terry Fontenot said. “It was his infectious energy, his natural leadership, his charisma, his football instincts and intelligence but also his collaborative mindset and the way he puts people around him and listens and empowers people.
“He has a clear vision of what we’re going to do here.”
Morris sold the Falcons, not only on his football acumen, but his mantra that he is not a one-man show. He is adamant that this run as a head coach needs to be a group effort.
“In my interview process I said, ‘Hey, I don’t need to be the smartest person in the building,’ ” Morris said. “I want to hire, I want to have, I want to contribute, I want to collaborate with all of the smart people assembled. … I want to collaborate with all of those guys, get in the building and do those things and find out the best way to move forward.”
And what does Morris like about the offense he is inheriting?
“That one is easy. Drake London. Bijan Robinson,” Morris said of his star wide receiver and star running back.
Morris previously worked for Atlanta from 2015-20. He began as the pass game coordinator, adding wide receivers coach to his job duties in 2016. He was promoted to defensive coordinator ahead of the 2020 season, and when the Falcons fired Dan Quinn after an 0-5 start, Morris was their interim head coach the rest of the way, helping them finish 4-12.
In three years as the Rams’ defensive coordinator, Morris guided his unit to finish 17th, 19th and 20th in total defense in the league. The Rams were not projected as a playoff team this season but advanced to the postseason behind a defense led by veteran Aaron Donald, along with standout rookies like edge rusher Byron Young and defensive tackle Kobie Turner.
“He’s been to three Super Bowls and has two rings and we’re going to get him another one,” Fontenot said. “That’s our charge.”
–Field Level Media
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