Arthur Blank and Atlanta’s search committee landed on Raheem Morris, passing over Bill Belichick, to be the Falcons head coach.
We’ve heard from the owner about what led the club away from Belichick, and it has nothing to do with internal dynamics, at least in Blank’s words. What led the Falcons away from Belichick was Morris.
In a sit down with Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, Arthur Blank spoke about what made Morris stand above the other dozen head coaching candidates.
“The experience we had with him in Atlanta was great. It was six years, obviously a lot of success during that time, didn’t end that way, but a lot of success during that time,” Blank said.
Familiarity doesn’t just exist between Blank and Morris. A lot of Falcons personnel is familiar with the club’s new head coach; in fact, he even stated this was the fourth time that Rich McKay hired him.
“Spent a lot of time on offense, defense, great leader. Coaches loved him, players loved him,” Blank continued.
In his first stint with the Falcons, Morris spent time as a receiver and secondary coach, defensive coordinator, and interim head coach. That’s a lot of hats and valuable experience floating around like a CEO would.
One of the hallmarks of his candidacy was Raheem Morris’ ability to connect with anyone. Coaches and players alike rejoiced when news broke of his hiring, and he immediately leveraged those relationships to lure Zac Robinson to Atlanta instead of the other half of a dozen teams with openings at offensive coordinator.
“What I saw in the three years he was in L.A. is I think he grew a lot professionally from his relationship with coach [Sean] McVay, their coaching style, their coaching structure, organizationally, as well as working with Les [Snead],” Blank continued. “The level of collaboration that I think’s unique between Les and Sean and building their roster.”
I don’t think it’s crazy to say that Raheem Morris’ three years in Los Angeles as Rams defensive coordinator were more valuable than the three years he spent in Tampa Bay as Buccaneers head coach.
Sean McVay and Les Snead are one of the best head coach-general manager duos in the NFL. To not envy that dynamic would be strange. The Falcons seemingly have some version of that with Raheem Morris and Terry Fontenot, but an introductory press conference is much different than an entire offseason and season.
“I think he learned skills that weren’t fully developed when he left us in Atlanta. I could see that during the interview process, just thinking about how to build a coaching staff that would be sustainable if we were losing coaches in the future because of success. I’m excited about him,” Blank finished.
The Falcons owner is clearly high on Raheem Morris, and he should be. Without even being in the room, I felt energized and hopeful while watching Morris’ press conference.
This is a results oriented business, though. If the Falcons fail to reach the postseason in 2024, the same questions that arose around Arthur Smith will begin to be raised for Morris.
Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire