Atlanta Falcons Make Historic Hire, Bringing Raheem Morris Back as Head Coach

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The Atlanta Falcons have made history by hiring Raheem Morris as their head coach, marking the first time owner Arthur Blank has selected a former NFL head coach during his 20-plus-year tenure. Additionally, Morris becomes the first full-time Black head coach in the franchise’s history. The move is part of the team’s efforts to solidify its future by revisiting its past.

Blank expressed his excitement over the historic appointment, stating, “This is a historic day for the Atlanta Falcons.” He welcomed Morris back to Atlanta, highlighting Morris’s enhanced perspective gained during his time as the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams. Blank believes Morris’s leadership skills and understanding of building a collaborative team culture have reached new heights.

Morris’s hiring follows an extensive search process that included 14 candidates, among them notable figures like Bill Belichick, Mike Vrabel, and Jim Harbaugh. Morris had a second interview with the club, along with Belichick, Bobby Slowik, and Ejiro Evero. The Falcons ultimately decided to go in a different direction than Belichick and others, opting for Morris as their head coach.

This marks Morris’s second stint with the Falcons, having previously served as the interim head coach for 11 games in 2020 after Dan Quinn’s mid-season firing. Despite a 4-7 record, Morris was not given the full-time position at that time, with Arthur Smith being chosen instead. Now, following Smith’s dismissal on January 8, Morris has been appointed as the full-time head coach.

In his previous tenure, Morris served as the Falcons’ defensive coordinator in 2020 and was later promoted to interim head coach. His return to Flowery Branch, Georgia, is met with enthusiasm, as Morris expressed his joy for the opportunity to lead the Falcons. He acknowledged Atlanta’s status as a first-class organization and expressed gratitude to Blank for the trust placed in him.

Raheem Morris, 47, brings valuable experience to the role, having spent the last three seasons as the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams, culminating in a Super Bowl win in 2021. This will be his second stint as a full-time NFL head coach, having previously led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2009 to 2011.

The new head coach inherits a team with defensive standouts such as Jessie Bates III, A.J. Terrell, and Grady Jarrett. On the offensive side, Morris will work with talented players like tight end Kyle Pitts, receiver Drake London, and running backs Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier.

General Manager Terry Fontenot expressed excitement about working with Morris and emphasized the coach’s alignment with the team’s vision for success. Morris and Fontenot will report directly to Blank in the revised organizational structure, with CEO Rich McKay maintaining his position in AMB Sports & Entertainment.

 

As Raheem Morris settles into his role, his primary task will be addressing the quarterback situation. Blank criticized the team’s deficient quarterback play last season as one of the factors contributing to Smith’s firing. Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Robinson is a prime candidate for the offensive coordinator position in Atlanta, with Morris expected to explore multiple options for the role.

The historic hiring of Raheem Morris signifies a significant step forward for the Atlanta Falcons, showcasing the team’s commitment to diversity and a collaborative team culture. As Morris takes the helm, all eyes will be on the Falcons to see how they navigate the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead under their new head coach.

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