The Atlanta Falcons have named Raheem Morris as the team’s interim head coach.
Both head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff were fired on Monday as a consequence of the team’s 0-5 start to the 2020 season.
Morris had been serving as the the Falcons’ defensive coordinator, though he’s worked on both sides of the ball for the Falcons. He coached wide receivers in 2019 before switching back to the other side of the ball to coach the team’s defensive backs. The switch helped Atlanta finish the season 6-2 after a 1-7 start.
“I think Raheem is a very fine coach,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said. “He’s been coaching for 17 years now. I think he was part of the reason for our success in the second half of last year.”
Morris, 44, had a 17-31 record as head coach of the the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2009-2011. He was likely to get head coaching consideration in the upcoming offseason.
Atlanta fell to the Carolina Panthers at home, 23-16, on Sunday. Improbably, the team blew two 15+ point fourth-quarter leads in back-to-back weeks earlier in the season — provoking disturbing memories of Super Bowl LI for Falcons fans. They’ve struggled mightily in all three phases of the game through five weeks of the 2020 campaign.
At time of writing, it’s unclear whether Morris will continue as defensive coordinator. Assistant head coach/linebackers Jeff Ulbrich shared defensive play-calling duties with Morris for the latter half of 2019.
Team president and CEO Rich McKay will take over for Dimitroff in running day-to-day football operations on an interim basis. He will assist Blank in the search for a new GM and head coach.