It took longer than expected, the Atlanta Falcons finally move on from Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff last Monday. To fill Quinn’s shoes, for the time being, CEO Rich McKay and President Arthur Blank decided to name Raheem Morris the interim head coach. Morris moves up from the defensive coordinator position.
While he’s happy to step up, he’s not focused on being interim coach, he’s focus on much more.
Falcons’ insider William McFadden shared what Morris told the local media on Wednesday:
“Raheem Morris says if his focus was on being the interim head coach, he wouldn’t be in the right mindset needed for this moment. He’s focused on being the head coach of the team and leading the Falcons to a 1-0 record each week.”
Raheem Morris says if his focus was on being the interim head coach, he wouldn't be in the right mindset needed for this moment. He's focused on being the head coach of the team and leading the Falcons to a 1-0 record each week.
— William McFadden (@willmcfadden) October 21, 2020
Atlanta announced the dismissal of Quinn and Dimitroff just a few hours after their loss to the Carolina Panthers, marking their 0-5 start to the season. The Falcons haven’t had a terrible 0-5 start since 1997.
Blank Says He Has Potential for Head Coaching Job
Morris, who switched from coaching the wide receivers to working with the defensive backs last season, was credited for the Falcons’ dramatic turnaround in 2019 after an awful 1-7 start. Atlanta ended up closing last season out with a 6-2 to finish 7-9, ultimately saving Dan Quinn’s job a bit longer.
While Blank and McKay will be actively searching for a new head coach, Blank said Morris isn’t ruled out, on one condition, he goes 11-0 for the remainder of the season.
“If Raheem ends up 11-0, he’s certainly going to be a candidate,” Blank said via Falcons’ official website. “I think it’s to Raheem’s advantage, I know his aspirations long-term is to be a head coach again. He’s learned a lot since his Tampa Bay days, he’s learned a lot with us. I think with 11 games he’ll have a chance to show his own capabilities and I think he’s looking forward to doing that.”
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Morris Gets Another Shot
Morris is filling Quinn’s dutied with plenty of experience under his belt, which began at such a young age.
He was named Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach when he was 32 years old, one of the youngest at the time.
He went 3-13 his first year but then lit a spark to go 10-6 in his second season, the same year quarterback Josh Freeman had his best career season.
In Morris’ third season in Tampa Bay, he went 4-12 and was let go. Morris had no choice but to start from the ground up. He was hired as Washington’s secondary coach and spent three seasons with them. He then went to the Falcons where he was coaching receivers and coordinating the passing game when Quinn reshuffled his staff last season after a 1-7 start.
Then, Quinn made a smart move and put Morris in charge of the defense where he led the infamous and impressive turnaround. Atlanta went 6-2 in the second half of the season. Ahead of the 2020 season, Quinn named Morris defensive coordinator.
Ready to Do Things Differently
Over the years climbing up and down the ladder, Morris learned a lot and is ready for some different results this time around.
“You learn things and you develop every day,” Morris told ESPN. “You learn from different people in your profession. … You take those things, every single day, and you throw it at the dartboard.
“You look at it and you find out what works for you and how you’re going to go about your business and how are you going to go about your preparation, your daily routine and what you want to do. What is your process to winning? Follow those things to the T and the results will happen. I’ve seen it happen before.”
Right now, his plan is to take things week-by-week and have the players’ minds set strictly on going 1-0.
It’s worked so far with Atlanta’s first win over the Vikings, but let’s see if they can go 1-0 again this week against the Detroit Lions.