Atlanta Falcons Expected to Make Los Angeles Rams Defensive Coordinator Raheem Morris Next Head Coach

The Atlanta Falcons have apparently chosen their next head coach. According to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, the team is "zeroing in" on Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris as their next face of the franchise.

The Falcons should know Morris well: he served in a variety of roles for the team from 2015 to 2020, including assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. He even ran the team as an interim head coach for 11 games in 2020 following the dismissal of Dan Quinn.

Way back in 2009, Morris was one of the youngest head coaches in NFL history. From ages 33 to 35, Morris led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to 17 wins and 31 losses before eventually being fired.

From a distance, Morris may strike fans as a peculiar hire: he's a defensive coach who hasn't coached great defenses. In seven seasons as a DC of HC, his defenses have never ranked better than 17th in yards allowed or ninth in points allowed.

Still, NFL coaching is a relationship business: Morris is clearly on good terms with the Falcons, and they're electing to go with the devil they know. To his credit, Morris was part of a Rams team that won a Super Bowl following the 2021 season, and branches in the Sean McVay coaching tree have found plenty of success around the league, from Matt LeFleur with the Green Bay Packers, to Kevin O'Connell with the Minnesota Vikings, to Zac Taylor with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Morris's hire is also notable because it appears to leave former New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick out in the cold: The six-time Super Bowl champion was reportedly the favorite to land the job last week. With the Los Angeles Chargers, Las Vegas Raiders, and Tennessee Titans already having filled their head coaching vacancies, Belichick's opportunities are growing scarce. He's even reportedly a long shot for the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Commanders. Unless more openings emerge in the coming weeks, Belichick may have no choice but to take a year off and try his luck again next year.

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