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What Raheem Morris is looking for at 2024 NFL Combine 

The Falcons head coach's responsibilities at the combine are twofold in his mind: providing support and finding prospects of good body and mind.  

INDIANAPOLIS -- Raheem Morris has been around the game too long to give away any state secrets at the NFL Combine. So, it came as no surprise when he held his Falcons cards close to his chest throughout his media availability tour in Indianapolis on Tuesday.

He wasn't there to make a bold declaration on the Falcons plans for a starting quarterback. He wasn't there to sell himself on being the Falcons' next head coach. He already has the job. What he was there for, he said, was to be general manager Terry Fontenot's right-hand man and closest confidant.

The combine is a general manager's show. Morris wanted to be his general manager's best stage hand.

"I think people lose sight when you get caught up in the moment that you don't really support the other person enough," Morris said. "This is a big event, when you're talking about the general manager, when acquiring talent and how you want to go about your business. So, whatever he needs from me is what I want to be able to support him."

This support takes various forms, Morris said. Most notably, though, is the notion of providing clarity and confirmation to Fontenot about what the coaching staff values.

"(It's about) me being able to give him more information that we can give him from my side, whether that be the coaches or myself, to allow us to make decisions when we have to make those decisions down the road," Morris said. "So, the biggest part of the combine for me is giving the ultimate support for him."

The Falcons chose not to travel majority of the coaching staff to Indianapolis this year, with offensive coordinator Zac Robinson and defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake among those staying home in Atlanta this week. So, the main voice of the coaching staff in these meetings with Fontenot and the Falcons scouting staff in Indianapolis is Morris.

This bears the question: What does Morris value through the combine process of on-field workouts, formal and informal interviews and everything that comes with the week? His answer is more straightforward than many coaches are with a camera in their face at the combine. Morris values finding prospects who display a certain health of body and mind.

For the body, Morris said he puts a lot of weight in the information he gets from the medical evaluations performed on every player at the combine.

"The medical (reports) either breaks your hearts," Morris said, "or makes you excited."

From a coaching standpoint, Morris and his staff can get a lot from the film they watch on prospects, provided by the scouts. The tape "lights you up," Morris said, but that excitement has to be tapered until the medical evaluations come in at the combine. It's only at that point that real projections can be made.

"That's a major part of it," Morris said.


Then, there's the health of mind, and what Morris means by this is: Does the player's character makeup match what the Falcons organization values? In other words: What's their ethos? Yep, ethos. The word Fontenot has used for years throughout player evaluations in the offseason. It's a word Morris has now inserted into his talking points, too.

So, when it comes to ethos, what's a nonnegotiable?

"In nonnegotiables, we will obviously talk about ethos, but we also talk about the people that I want to bring around you two," Morris said, turning to the female team reporters of in an exclusive interview on Radio Row. "That's a major part of it for me as well. It's not just a player, but it's about: Do I feel comfortable bringing them in our building, around people that I care about? ... That's how you establish your nonnegotiables at the end of the day."

It's those nonnegotiables, those medical reports that Morris ultimately values at the NFL Combine. It's the information he ranks high on his list of combine priorities.

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