The Atlanta Falcons hired Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris as their next head coach, the team announced Thursday.
“I am overjoyed for the opportunity for my family and I to return to Atlanta as the Falcons head coach,” Morris said in a statement.
“We know from firsthand experience what a first-class organization Atlanta is and what this team means to its city and its fans. I am incredibly appreciative of Arthur Blank for his leadership and for this entire organization for putting its trust in me to help lead this team.”
Los Angeles allowed 337.9 yards and 22.2 points per contest with 15 takeaways under Morris in 2023. The team also accumulated 41 sacks despite using just 20.78% of its cap space on the defense, according to Spotrac. Only the Las Vegas Raiders (19.62%) and Tennessee Titans (15.54%) spent less on their respective defenses.
Morris’ unit in Los Angeles garnered league attention: Defensive tackle Aaron Donald was a first-team All-Pro selection for the eighth time, and fellow interior lineman Kobie Turner was named a Defensive Rookie of the Year finalist on Thursday. The latter totaled nine sacks, eight tackles for loss, and 16 quarterback hits this season.
The Falcons, meanwhile, allowed 321.1 yards and 21.9 points per game this season while racking up 16 takeaways and 42 sacks. Safety Jessie Bates III earned a second-team All-Pro selection after hauling in six interceptions.
Atlanta interviewed 14 candidates before landing on Morris, who served as the club’s interim head coach for 11 games in 2020. The 47-year-old’s first stint in that position was from 2009-11 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Morris owns a 21-38 record, including his interim run.
One of those interviewees was Bill Belichick, who met with Atlanta twice. The Falcons are the only franchise the New England Patriots legend has been linked to since he parted ways with the club earlier in January.
Morris has made coaching stops with the Washington Commanders franchise, Kansas State, Cornell, and Hofstra. He’s also served as a defensive backs coach, assistant head coach, and pass game coordinator.