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Raheem Morris taking lessons from Sean McVay-Les Snead relationship into HC-GM dynamic with Terry Fontenot 

Raheem Morris watched Sean McVay and Les Snead work together seamlessly for three years, including one Super Bowl title run duration.  

ATLANTA — For three years, Raheem Morris witnessed firsthand what he believes to be an ideal head coach-general manager relationship in action.

Morris worked as the Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator from 2021-23 under head coach Sean McVay and general manager Les Snead. The Rams won a Super Bowl in Morris' first season, missed the playoffs in his second but returned to the postseason field in his final. There were highs and lows during Morris' brief tenure in Los Angeles, and yet, the foundation remained steady.

"When I got there," Morris said, "one of the first things I told Sean — just noticing how we moved through daily rhythm and routine and things that we've done — was, 'Man, I am jealous of you and Les Snead's relationship.' I said, 'To watch you guys collaborate and move in silence, be able to have your communication ongoing, have your communication consistent, honest, open — all of those thing you guys do with each other — that is the next step."

And that is Morris' goal for 2024 and beyond.

Morris is now in position to possibly be a part of his own perfect pairing. He was officially introduced as the Atlanta Falcons' new head coach last Monday during a press conference in which Falcons general manager, Terry Fontenot, sat directly to his left. It was obvious the two are already comfortable around each other, cracking jokes and shaking hands. But this is just the beginning of a budding dynamic.

Fontenot is in his fourth season with the Falcons. Morris, obviously, is in his first in this role.

Snead has been the Rams general manager since 2012. McVay was hired in 2017. They're entering Year 8 together — and still clicking from Morris' perspective.

"To me, it was the shared vision that they had on the ultimate collaboration because of the communication," Morris told "No. 1 thing about those guys: They were good listeners, and they were good communicators. The communication has to be open, honest and ongoing.

"I think Terry and I are developing this relationship that we're trying to get right now, that's the most important part. It's not just the communication part. But it's also the listening part."

The word collaboration has already been used extensively, too, by both Morris and Fontenot. That's important because Morris and Fontenot have a 50-50 share in the decision-making process. They individually and collectively report to Falcons owner Arthur Blank, which is a change to the organizational structure this year. Before, Fontenot and former head coach Arthur Smith reported to CEO Rich McCay, who then reported to Blank.

Speaking of Blank, he also recognized how much the rapport between McVay and Snead in Los Angeles altered Morris' outlook on a head coach-general manager partnership. 

"I think the three years he had in L.A. -- where he worked with a different coaching environment, a different kind of setup (in) which Sean McVay operates differently than a lot of other coaches do (with) their coaching scheme, setup, how they promote from within, move coaches around in a much more lateral way -- was a learning experience for him," Blank said. "I think the collaboration that Sean McVay and Les Snead had -- a general manager who worked for us for many years -- was very, very close. I think there was a true definition of what a collaborative relationship is. 

"One of the things that Raheem said during his press conference, which I thought was right on: If you really have a great relationship, it's almost like you can speak without having to use words. People understand each other, et cetera. I think he saw that relationship there." 

Now the goal is to emulate it. 

Again, this is just the beginning of the Morris-Fontenot era. But at least Morris already has a clear vision of how the duo can be successful. He has seen it before, winning on the ultimate stage in the NFL.

"It was no more fun than helping one of your best friends in the world, one of the people you care about, win a championship with an organization," Morris said. "Having a chance to take all of those lessons learned, being able to listen, being able to communicate, and now bringing it back here to the Atlanta community to go out here and win, what we need to do, I've got a lot of confidence that we can do that with the people that we know are here."

Take a look as head coach Raheem Morris arrives in Atlanta.

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