Since his arrival in 2015, Raheem Morris has worn several different hats within the Atlanta Falcons' organization. From defensive backs/assistant head coach and passing game coordinator (2015) to wide receivers coach (2016-19) and defensive coordinator (2020), Morris knows the team inside and out.
After starting the 2019 season 1-7, Morris was moved from the offensive side of the ball to oversee the defense. The changes Morris made during Atlanta's 6-2 run to close out the season earned the respect of everyone in the building, including Blank. Morris was promoted to defensive coordinator immediately following the season.
So, when Blank relieved Dan Quinn of his head coaching duties on Sunday night, he knew he had a coach in house that could step in and hopefully spark a turnaround. The Falcons are 0-5 for the first time since 1997, when they started the year off with five straight losses in Dan Reeves's first year.
"He understands our systems which helps," Blank said. "He has the right kind of enthusiasm to lead the players in a positive way. He's worked with our receivers; he understands that side of the ball well. He's been a defensive coordinator. He's very positive, he's ready to go. I know we made the right choice with Raheem and we'll see where he takes us. The players will definitely be supportive of him."
Morris' experience as a former head coach was also a reason behind the move. While as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2009-11), Morris held a 17-31 overall record.
Blank believes Morris has the capabilities to get the Falcons season back on track and he'll have every opportunity to do so over the next 11 games. If he's able to have success during that time, Blank said Morris will earn the right to be candidate when they begin their search for the next head coach.
"If Raheem ends up 11-0, he's certainly going to be a candidate," Blank said. "I think it's to Raheem's advantage, I know his aspirations long-term is to be a head coach again. He's learned a lot since his Tampa Bay days, he's learned a lot with us. I think with 11 games he'll have a chance to show his own capabilities and I think he's looking forward to doing that."
The Atlanta Falcons have announced Raheem Morris as interim head coach.