Falcons: Expectations rise exponentially for Raheem Morris

NFL: JAN 23 NFC Divisional Round Rams at Buccaneers

When Raheem Morris was hired, the expectations for his first season in Atlanta were unknown. Mostly, because nobody knew who was going to be under center in 2024. With that question now answered in the form of the #1 free agent quarterback on the market, Kirk Cousins, the pressure is on for Morris to win right away, and win big.

Simply competing for the NFC South, arguably the weakest division in all of football, is no longer the goal. Fair or not, the Falcons went all in by handing Cousins a $180 million contract, and the expectations are to seriously contend for a Super Bowl.

At worst, Kirk Cousins was a top-three quarterback in the NFC before his injury last year, and one could make the argument he was the best. That’s a far cry from what Arthur Smith was working with, and he was still able to squeeze out seven wins because the roster around Cousins has more than enough talent to compete.

On the offensive side of the ball, Bijan Robinson, Kyle Pitts, Drake London, and Tyler Allgeier have been joined by wide receivers Darnell Mooney and Rondale Moore. With no more significant additions, it’s already one of the better skill position groups in the league, and there’s still a lot more free agency left as well as the draft.

Cousins will also be working behind arguably the best offensive line of his career, a unit that is set to return all five starters, which is critical for a quarterback who prefers to stand in the pocket. Throw in a bright offensive mind in Zac Robinson as the offensive coordinator, and there’s no reason the Falcons offense shouldn’t be one of the top units in the league.

Defensively, there are many more holes, but this is a group that was significantly improved a year ago under Ryan Nielsen, and it’s also where Raheem Morris’ specialty lies. It will be primarily on his shoulders to ensure this unit doesn’t take a step back in 2024.

With continued improvement on the defensive side of the ball, the Falcons will have one of the most complete teams they’ve had in a long time, including the entire length of Matt Ryan‘s career. This was a team fully capable of winning the division a year ago, but dismal quarterback play squandered several golden opportunities. With arguably the best signal caller in the conference on their side, they should be able to compete with the best of the best in the NFC on any given Sunday.

Raheem Morris hasn’t shied away from expectations since taking the Falcons job, constantly referring to the team as being a quarterback away.

“This team is ready to win. And you know, let’s not kid it. We’re a quarterback away. I don’t think that’s a secret,” Morris told All Facts No Brakes hosts on Fox Sports.

Now the Falcons have their quarterback, and anything less than contending for, at the very least, NFC Championships should be considered a failure.

Photo: Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire

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