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Analysis: Clock starts now to find 2024 starting quarterback

The Falcons have their head coach. They're filling out their coaching staff. The next domino to fall? QB1. 


ATLANTA -- Tick. Tock. The Falcons needed to hire a new head coach. Tick. Tock. They found one, hiring Raheem Morris as the 19th head coach in Atlanta Falcons history.

Tick. Tock. Morris needed to build out his staff. Tick. Tock. That's a venture actively wrapping up with the Falcons retaining a group of assistants from the previous staff and bringing in a whole crop of new guys.

Tick. Tock. The Falcons need to find QB1. Tick... Tick... Tick...

Finding -- and naming -- a starting quarterback in 2024 is the next major decision of this organization.

They have their leader (Morris). They have a majority of their coaching staff (with Zac Robinson as offensive coordinator and Jimmy Lake calling plays for the defense).

Now, they need a quarterback, and in Morris' introductory press conference Monday, there was plenty of quarterback talk. It took about 20 minutes to get that particular question, but what Morris said was important.

The Falcons new head coach was honest in answering that his recent conversations about the quarterback have been limited at this point with general manager Terry Fontenot, specifically. Monday marked Morris's 10th day on the job, and those last 10 days have been solely focused on formulating a coaching staff. So, the conversations about the quarterback position between the new head coach/general manager duo have been "brief" and in passing.

That doesn't mean they're not important. That doesn't mean they won't happen. It's just that it's the next domino to fall.

"We have some (ideas) about where we can go about getting (a quarterback)," Morris said. "Obviously, in free agency, a trade, the draft. And those communications -- with me just landing (in Atlanta) the other day -- are going to continue to happen."

Morris did say, though, that there are certain qualities in a quarterback that the Falcons will be looking for, wherever they decide to look (because yes, they will be looking).

In Atlanta, Morris said, there is a clear understanding of what good quarterback play can look like.

"We're used to a very high level," Morris said, referring back to former Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who Morris coached during his entire time as a Falcons assistant and interim head coach in 2020. Morris added that he saw that same high level of impact with Matthew Stafford in his most recent three years with the Los Angeles Rams.

"When you get those guys who are elite processors, when you get those guys who are decision-makers, when you get those guys who can just cut it loose and play ball and also play together with those fundamental techniques: The base, the balance, the short hitch in the pockets, some of those things," Morris said, "it makes you excited to go out there and find those things."

That doesn't mean the search will be easy, he added. But he -- and Fontenot -- are leaving every door open and they have an optimism about what they'll find.

"Sometimes you have to look at the college tape, you can see it a little bit in free agency, you can visualize how you can trade (for someone)," Morris said. "You have all those windows out there. You have all those avenues, but I have a lot of confidence in the people who are going to be able to help me be a part of finding our next quarterback to move forward."

Finally, Morris said it does fill him with a certain sense of excitement that the quarterback position is, essentially, a blank page in Atlanta. He commended Fontenot and the rest of the front office for putting the Falcons in the position in 2024 to go get QB1.

The clock to find that guy? To get him to Atlanta? The time officially starts now.

Ahead of his arrival in Atlanta, we take a look back at Raheem Morris' previous tenure with the Falcons.

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