Raheem Morris Reflects on Falcons’ Problems


Getty Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons warms up with interim head coach Raheem Morris.

The Falcons had a bye week last week which gave interim coach Raheem Morris plenty of time to figure out how to fix Atlanta’s problems on both offense and defense.

Though, it’s obvious he was doing his homework before he took over Dan Quinn’s job. In four games as head coach, Morris has led his team 3-1, with one loss coming from Todd Gurley’s accidental touchdown. However, in two out of his three wins, Atlanta’s defense made plays late in the game to seal a victory. This is something fans didn’t see the first five weeks of the season.

Morris Reflects on Offense

While looking back over the past nine games, Atlanta has had plenty of leads and mostly blown them. Morris wants to change this.

“When your offense is as talented as the one that we have with Julio and Matt Ryan and Todd Gurley and Hayden Hurst and Calvin Ridley and all of the guys playing at a high level like they are, sometimes you’re going to get leads in this league,” Morris said via Atlanta Falcons website. “Sometimes you have to figure out how to keep those leads by not getting so confined into a box that you limit yourself. We’d like to come out and be more aggressive, come out in a personnel group that fits us best and do some of the things that we do better.”

In six of nine games, the Falcons held second-half leads which have them at just a 3-6 record. They’ve been competing each time, but can’t seem to finish.

Morris wants to hone in on this issue which is why he has preached to the Falcons players to “force their will” upon opponents.

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Morris Reflects on Defense

As a defensive coordinator for quite some time, Morris knows it takes two to tango and win.

“When you’re talking about defense, you just want to talk about how you get better at owning those moments in the two-minute, catch-up type of ball,” Morris said. “Those are the moments that have hurt us the most in the beginning half of the season, so those are the moments we want to improve on and get better at and getting after the passer. If we can get those things corrected in those two phases, that’s something we’d be really jacked up about.”

Morris plans to eliminate the moments where Falcons have struggled at the two-minute mark when trailing behind or letting opponents catch up to them.

For instance, Dallas scored 10 points with less than two minutes remaining to win. Chicago did it too and of course they gave the Lions enough time to score as well.

Morris Knows What Atlanta Can Do

In all nine matchups, the Falcons have been in a winning situation. Moving forward, they will need to push until the clock hits zero if they want to see the playoffs.

“You’ve got to find out what’s not up to snuff and you’ve got to be ready to correct and adjust on every side of the ball and every phase of it,” Morris said. “Obviously, we have an offense that’s going to go out there and score some points and put us in position to be in leads, so we’ve got to figure out a way to fill those needs on defense. And when you’re on offense, you’ve got to figure out a better way to maintain those in the second half without not becoming yourself.”

Morris certainly took advantage of the bye week, but we’ll see if it paid off when Atlanta takes on the Saints in New Orleans.

READ NEXT: Falcons Update on Calvin Ridley Injury

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