We all have to start somewhere in life.
Rarely do you go from zero to hero so quickly and that is especially true in the NFL. Everyone has to earn their battle scars along the way to have a chance to rise up the corporate ladder.
Well that Hollywood script became a reality for one former New York Jets intern this week as he landed an NFL head coaching interview.
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A Second Chance at the Big Time
A former Jets intern and longtime coaching assistant, Raheem Morris, interviewed with the Minnesota Vikings for their vacant head coaching position the team announced.
Morris is a New Jersey boy, born and raised, back in Newark. After his high school career, he played safety for the Hofstra football program from 1994 through 1997 and immediately transitioned into the coaching world after that.
He honed his craft locally at Hofstra and Cornell before getting his first taste of the NFL in 2001 with the green and white as a defensive minority intern.
That concept was first brought up by former San Francisco 49ers head coach Bill Walsh who wanted to help provide opportunities for minorities to make their way into the NFL. That program has helped over 1,300 minority coaches get into NFL training camps and Morris is a shining example of what you can do with that chance.
After that internship, Morris’ NFL career took off as he rose up the ranks with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2002 through 2005. He started off as a quality control coach and ultimately became the assistant’s DB coach.
Morris then had a quick detour in college for a season (Kansas State in 2006) before returning to the Bucs as their defensive backs coach and then eventually became the head coach. He became one of the youngest head coaches in NFL history at that time and went through some rough times.
After that failed opportunity he bounced around the league as an assistant with the Washington Football Team, the Atlanta Falcons, and most recently with the Los Angeles Rams as their defensive coordinator.
Now it seems like the 45-year-old is destined for another opportunity as a head coach over a decade later. He got a chance to learn from his mistakes as a younger coach and will bring that new mentality, if and when, he gets another chance as the top dog.
Defensive Coordinator Is a Position to Watch
Although if the defense continues to dwell around the bottom of the league in most of the defensive categories, his seat is going to start to get hot in 2022.
This past year he got a lot of excuses built-in with the array of injuries, the first year in the scheme, and also coaching one of the youngest rosters in the league. All of those are fair points, but the NFL is ultimately a results-oriented business.
It won’t be acceptable for Saleh to sit idly by while this thing implodes, like what transpired in 2021. If things stink again, Ulbrich will likely be out of a job and Saleh may be forced to call defensive plays for the first time in his Jets career.
That isn’t something he is unfamiliar with as he held those responsibilities when he was the defensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers.