The Atlanta Falcons cast a wide net for their head coaching vacancy, and wound up hiring Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris. It’s not every day you get a peek behind the curtain of a team’s process beyond the boilerplate standard answers given at introductory press conferences.
Well, Falcons executive Brett Jewkes decided to take to X/Twitter to explain why Morris was Atlanta’s guy over the likes of Bill Belichick and other very qualified candidates.
Second interview: even better. Wow, so well prepared.
His time in LA has elevated him. Clearly gleaned a lot of learning and experience in an excellent Rams org.
He has a great plan and unbridled passion to work it.
Crazy takes on timing of interviews were laughable. First, new rules this year dictated a lot. Second, schedules (ours, candidates, other teams, etc.) dictated a lot. Third, we ran our process in spite of the noise. Some media did a really good job on this.
I’ve said this ad nauseam, but having a head coach who’s also capable of calling offensive plays is vital for continuity in the modern NFL. Otherwise, you risk a revolving door of play-callers for your quarterback, which only the truly great ones can overcome on an annual basis. While Morris isn’t that, he worked in Atlanta for several years as a wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator. Despite his dominant defensive background, Morris has real experience on both sides of the ball.
Thus, I totally get hiring him, not to mention all the program building, leadership and other relevant skills gassed up by the likes of Sean McVay, Mike Tomlin and many others across the league, as Jewkes alludes to here.
I am going to value Mike Tomlin’s opinion of Raheem Morris more than the opinion of some of you “fans.” Respectfully…. pic.twitter.com/254Ai6WJs5
Jewkes’ commentary on the wide array of candidates the Falcons interviewed and the timing of those talks was interesting, too. It wasn’t so much a blind dart board throw type of endeavor as it was a truly thorough exploration of what seemed like a viable vision for an organization, but perhaps more importantly, a process of elimination as to what wouldn’t be effective. Belichick’s history in New England is one where he has total power. That’s not the most collaborative, current approach to running a football operation.
You hear about coaching interviews, too, and it’s usually just, “Oh they’re meeting with this guy on Wednesday, and that guy on Thursday.” But damn. It’s a big decision to hire a head coach, and the 4.5 to six hours of meeting time reflects that. What a long time that is to fill the air. Coaches work their whole lives for these opportunities, I get that. Still, what a long time to be under the microscope with so much fierce competition. With all those candidates coming and going, the committee in charge of the search has to discern who’s for real, who isn’t and make a years-spanning decision in a matter of days. Quite the whirlwind.
With the understanding that Jewkes is going to skew everything positively, it’s clear that something special is brewing in Atlanta. Fired coach Arthur Smith seemed like such a prick who acted like he knew better amid dubious usage of immensely talented offensive personnel. Anyone who knows ball can see the Falcons are a QB and dynamic/more open-minded coach away from being a real threat in the NFC. Looks like Raheem Morris fulfills the latter objective, and I’m sure a big reason why he got the gig had to do with his vision for the quarterback position.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank strikes me as one of the select people of his ilk who truly care about winning and will do whatever it takes to get it done. Hanging onto Smith a year too long was a mistake. Morris feels like a far superior program builder, and the NFC South is a division wide-open for the taking, especially with the ripple effect of ex-Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales taking the Panthers’ head coaching job.
It’s very much on the table that Atlanta will have the best head coach in the division in Raheem Morris. His first order of business is finding a QB who can outshine the likes of Baker Mayfield, Derek Carr and Bryce Young. Doesn’t seem like the tallest order in the world. We’ll see what Morris and Atlanta have up their sleeve, but reading through Jewkes’ thread gives me confidence that the Falcons are back on course after three straight 7-10 seasons.