HC Raheem Morris bolsters Falcons new regime

Photo by Kara Durrette | Atlanta Falcons

After a three year stint as Los Angeles Rams DC, former Falcons interim HC Raheem Morris is returning to Atlanta. Owner Arthur Blank was quick to strike, hiring Morris just 12 days after the Rams loss to the Lions in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. The two-time Super Bowl champion is widely-regarded as one of the top defensive coaches in the NFL, and has a coaching career spanning 25 years


Alongside Head Coach Morris, the Falcons have also brought in Offensive Coordinator Zac Robinson who coached with Morris in Los Angeles.


Following his signing to the Falcons, Morris received praise from many of his former players on social media. Dolphins star CB Jalen Ramsey praised Coach Morris as “one of, if not the best coach in the NFL,” citing their two seasons together, during which Ramsey earned honors as an All-Pro selection in 2021 and Pro Bowl selection in both seasons.


In 2022, Morris’ defense brought the Rams a Super Bowl win, allowing just 20 points to a thriving Bengals offense, slowing the previously unstoppable connection between Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase.


This past season, Morris coached the Rams defense to win their way into a 10-7 record, earning a sixth seed playoff spot. The Rams offense was plagued by injuries, putting immense pressure on Morris and the defense to dial up pressure in the frequent pass-rush situations. Aging defensive tackle Aaron Donald was often double teamed forcing Morris to make hefty substitutions and creative pass-rush stunts on the defensive line.


With Morris at the helm, the Falcons aim to make significant changes on both sides of the ball, with a particular focus on addressing the quarterback situation as soon as possible. Having failed to draft a quarterback to replace Ridder before his sophomore season, Falcons fans voiced their frustrations with former Head Coach Arthur Smith.


Again this season, they missed the playoffs and possess a top 10 pick; however, if the Falcons want their choice rookie QB in the draft, Morris and Blank will have to negotiate possible trades to move up. The problem is the Falcons haven’t traded up in the first round since selecting Kaleb McGary in 2019, and getting high draft capital is especially challenging in this year’s draft due to an abundance of rookie talent and at least five teams in need of a starting-quality quarterback.


Another approach Morris could take in addressing the quarterback situation is through free agency acquisition or trading for a QB with an expiring contract. The pool of talent is quite shallow, with Kirk Cousins and Baker Mayfield headlining the free-agent market. If Mayfield re-signs with the Buccaneers, the Falcons might be left with Cousins or a trade target like the young and unproven QB in Justin Fields.


Morris has experience in coaching both offense and defense. Falcons fans should be particularly excited about his complex attacking style pass-rush, a culture he successfully implemented both in Los Angeles and during his previous tenure in Atlanta.


Similar to the 2023 Rams, the Falcons currently have multiple veteran defensive linemen (Calais Campbell and Grady Jarrett), giving Morris the task to get creative on the defensive line. The Falcons may look to sign/draft for depth on the D-line, but the aging talent is very promising with the help of a great coach like Morris.