Reports: Rams’ Raheem Morris to be Falcons’ new head coach

Raheem Morris is getting his second chance.

The Rams’ defensive coordinator is nearing a deal to become the next head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, according to multiple media reports on Thursday afternoon.

Morris, 47, spent the past three seasons as the Rams’ defensive coordinator, winning Super Bowl LVI with the team. This year, he helped turn a young, unproven defense into a unit that was capable of carrying the Rams’ offense in certain games, pitching five shutout halves (all in games the Rams won).

That success led to interviews with five teams about their head coaching vacancies. Morris had his second interview with the Falcons on Thursday morning and the sides appear to have moved quickly to get a deal done for Morris to return to the NFC South.

In 2009, Morris was named the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They won 10 games in his second season, a seven-win improvement, but a 4-12 campaign the following year spelled the end of his tenure in Tampa.

He spent the next three seasons with Washington, where he first worked with Rams head coach Sean McVay. Morris then coached for the Falcons from 2015-2020 and served as their interim head coach for the final 12 games of the 2020 season.

Now after his three years in Los Angeles, Morris returns to Atlanta with the full-time head job, a position that Bill Belichick and Mike Vrabel (and 11 others) interviewed for.

It’s a loss for the Rams, given Morris’ larger-than-life personality and his football acumen, but one the team will welcome. After Morris narrowly missed out on head coaching jobs with the Minnesota Vikings and Indianapolis Colts the past two years, coaches, players and executives with the Rams have come out publicly in support of Morris’ candidacy.

“The guy is coded to respect everyone, to build a relationship with everyone no matter where you’re at in the organization. What’s awesome is as he does that, you just see the respect flow back in his direction,” General Manager Les Snead said most recently. “It’s a superpower that I think would help any organization.”

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Shortly after news broke of Morris’ hiring by the Falcons, Rams linebacker Ernest Jones IV and former Rams defensive back Jalen Ramsey posted their support on X, formerly Twitter.

“Falcons got a great one,” Jones wrote, as Ramsey added, “Falcons got one of, if not the best coach in the NFL.”

The departure leaves the Rams with a vacancy to fill at DC, along with defensive line coach after Eric Henderson left for USC. McVay told reporters earlier this month that, should Morris leave, the plan would be to move slow and deliberate about finding his replacement, similar to how the Rams operated while filling several vacancies last offseason.

The Rams will receive third-round compensatory picks in 2024 and 2025 due to the Falcons hiring Morris.

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