Early Bird Report: Raheem Morris's key for defensive success

After helping lead a dramatic defensive turnaround that played a key role in the Falcons finishing the 2019 season with six wins in their final eight games, Raheem Morris has earned the role of defensive coordinator moving forward. A former head coach in this league, Morris' ability to communicate with Falcons players was apparent.


Morris spoke with the Atlanta media recently and discussed the importance of finding a defensive identity. First and foremost, the Falcons know they need to find ways to generate more pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

"To have a successful defense, you guys know, is affecting the quarterback, whatever that means," Morris said, according to ESPN's Vaughn McClure. "A lot of people, when you say affect the quarterback, they automatically go right to sacks. But you've got to get him off the spot. You've got to fool him with disguise. You've got to get those guys to think a little bit."

McClure wrote more about Morris's ascent within the Falcons' ranks and the possibility that sustained success could once again lead to the ultimate opportunity within the NFL. To read McClure's piece, click here.

Here are some other articles for Falcons fans to check out today:

AJC: Falcons receive no compensatory picks

According to D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlanta Falcons were not among the teams the NFL announced would receive compensatory picks in this year's NFL Draft. Compensatory picks are given to teams based on the quantity or quality of players it loses in free agency the previous year.

"With the Falcons set to lose tight end Austin Hooper, linebacker De'Vondre Campbell and backup guard Wes Schweitzer to free agency, they could be in line for compensatory picks in the 2021 draft," Ledbetter writes.

To read the rest of Ledbetter's report on compensatory picks, click here.

ESPN: Best and worst recent FA signings

While the draft is still the most cost-effective way to build a championship team in the NFL, free agency is undoubtedly important in helping accomplish that goal. Like any team, the Falcons have had their share of hits and misses in free agency over the years. ESPN took a look at the best and worst signings over recent seasons for each team, and the Falcons did hit the jackpot just a few years ago by signing center Alex Mack.

"The former Cleveland Brown brought immediate stability to the offensive line and played a big role in helping the Falcons to Super Bowl LI," ESPN's Vaughn McClure writes. "Mack's intelligence and ability to block into the second level helped establish him as the anchor of the line."

To see the Falcons' worst free agent signing, click here.

Tampa Bay Times: Bucs "all in" on Tom Brady

The G.O.A.T appears all set to hit free agency next week, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are intent on signing Tom Brady this offseason, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. Stroud reports that the Bucs still aren't sold on Winston, who is also set to become a free agent, as the franchise quarterback, and Brady could be the most accomplished quarterback to ever hit the open market.

"It's true," Stroud writes. "The franchise that has not reached the postseason in 12 years will do almost anything to land the quarterback who has been to the playoffs for 11 straight seasons and won six Super Bowls. … This is not hype. It's hope. This is fact, not fantasy. This is the plan. This is the Bucs' play."

To read the rest of Stroud's report on the Bucs' interest in Brady, click here.

Before heading into the 2020 NFL year, we are going to look back at the best images from players on the active roster. Take a look at the best of center Alex Mack.

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