Falcons interim coach Raheem Morris interviews for full-time job

Morris makes his case on Friday to be the Atlanta Falcons' full-time head coach


Editor's note: This story was updated at 5:28 p.m. ET confirming that Raheem Morris has interviewed with the Atlanta Falcons.

The Atlanta Falcons said they wanted to interview interim coach Raheem Morris for the head coaching vacancy back on Dec. 22. On Friday, Morris interviewed and officially made his case to the team.

ESPN's Adam Schefter was the first to report that Morris would interview when he tweeted Friday afternoon that the Falcons interim coach would meet with team officials. The Falcons later confirmed the report and have concluded their interview with Morris.

Falcons team president and CEO Rich McKay has gone on the record and said that the 44-year-old Morris would get a chance make his case for job.

"He will definitely, in the process, be interviewed," McKay said.


Morris took over as interim coach on Oct. 12, a day after the Falcons decided to part ways with general manager Thomas Dimitroff and head coach Dan Quinn. At the time, the Falcons were 0-5 and coming off a 23-16 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Since then, the Falcons have gone 4-6 under Morris and five of those losses were by five points or less.

"Every single day I communicate to Rich McKay," Morris said. "Twice a week, you communicate with Arthur Blank. All of those things are looked at as interviews. … Everything is going to be an interview, and it always will be, and it always has been. You've always got to remember that with everything you're doing."

Morris began the 2020 season as the Falcons defensive coordinator and split the play-calling duties with linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich. Once Morris took over as interim coach, Ulbrich was named the defensive coordinator.

Ulbrich recently endorsed Morris for the head coach position, saying that "there's not a better candidate in my opinion." Ulbrich added that Morris is "one of those rare guys that has that ability to create the environment that's necessary" for today's players to thrive in.

Following a 1-7 start in 2019, Morris moved over from coaching the receivers – a position he held since 2016 – to the defensive side of the ball where he coached the secondary. Quinn gave up the play-calling duties and assigned them to Morris and Ulbrich. Atlanta went 6-2 down the final stretch, including winning four straight games.


"I've been impressed with Raheem in his on-field coaching day-in and day-out," McKay said last December. "I don't even know what the phrase 'players coach' means. The nice thing about him is, if there is one, he is one. And the reason is because he's a communicator. He's out at practice every day communicating with all those players, rookies and veterans. And he's communicating in his own way to them. In other words, it's unique to them."

When he first arrived in Atlanta in 2015, Morris was in charge of the defensive passing game and named assistant head coach.

Prior to his Falcons coaching stint, Morris coached the defensive backs coach in Washington under Mike Shanahan from 2012-14. That followed his up-and-down run as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he compiled a 17-31 record from 2009-11.

At the time, the 32-year-old Morris was the youngest head coach in the NFL. After going 3-13 in his first year, Morris guided the Bucs to a 10-6 record. In 2011, Tampa lost its last 10 games and went 4-12. The Bucs decided to part ways with Morris after the season.


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