Falcons’ New Head Coach Morris Meets The Press (UPDATED)

“It’s going to be a winning culture.”

-Falcons head coach Raheem Morris

Atlanta Falcons’ new head coach Raheem Morris re-introduced himself to the local sports press today as the man with the mission to cure the long-struggling team of its recurring “7-10 again” blues.

The team’s press conference at Mercedes Benz Stadium showcased Morris, who appeared with general manager Terry Fontenot and president Greg Beadles (owner Arthur Blank could not attend because he was recovering from a weekend medical issue.) Morris was elated to take questions from the reporters on hand, and shared his excitement about taking the helm of a team he once coached on a temporary basis.

He answered questions about his return to Atlanta (“Coming back home, this is certainly the best feeling in the world”), making history as the first African-American head coach in Falcons franchise history (“l do understand the importance of being the first Black Coach in Atlanta history without an interim title.”) and his mission to turn the Falcons losing fortunes around.

He praised the Falcons’ top brass for putting together a “tightly knitted team.”

“I can’t wait to be a part of and add to (the team) and I just think that was a really important factor for me to come back and a really important factor of allowing me to come back and be a part of that,” said Morris.

Morris stated that the goal going forward is to make the Falcons a competitive team again and end a string of recent disappointing seasons.

“Make no mistake about it. The community supports us on Sundays to go out and win a game and it’s our job to support this community in a bigger way than you can imagine,” he said. “It’s going to be a winning culture and we are here to win football games. At the end of the year, there’s only one team that’s happy.” He noted his two Super Bowl victories with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and L.A. Rams and said he wants to win another championship with the Falcons.

Acknowledging he was a Falcons head coach before in an interim capacity between Dan Quinn’s departure and Arthur Smith’s arrival in 2020-21, he stressed he is ready to lead now that he’s a full coach.

“I’ve been preparing for this since the last day when I was in Tampa,” Morris said. “You spend the rest of your time and the rest of your coaching career you finished up figuring out when you’re going to be ready for that moment and this is the moment.”

With fan flustration and growing pressure on the team’s brass to produce results on the field, Morris knows he has a mandate to get the Falcons on the winning track. And he knows the pressure is on him to win now.

“This job comes with pressure and it comes with pressure that we’re all built for, and you got to embrace that,” said Morris.

Fontenot said he had not met Morris before their first interview, but he was impressed by his first Zoom interview, and he got feedback from staff members and the coaching staff who wanted to stay with the Falcons due to Morris’s possible arrival at Flowery Branch.

“Raheem went through that process and did that and guys were really excited about being here,” he said.Β  “They turned down other opportunities to come back and he was willing to listen to our opinions and then spend time with them.”

Fontenot said the search was a “collaborative” process between him and Blank.Β  Fontenot said Blank “empowered ” him to lead the search process. Fontenot said Morris stood out because of “his infectious energy, his natural leadership, and his charisma,” said Fontenot. He added that his football instincts, intelligence, and collaborative mindset set him above the other 13 candidates the team interviewed.Β 

As the Falcons move toward the next part of their rebuilding process, finding the right quarterback, Morris was asked about new offensive coordinator Zack Robinson and his ability to work with the incoming quarterback. “His ability to connect with the quarterback and what they do and how they do it and how they go about their process you know how do they get the point to be ready to play at the highest level you need to play in this league I thought stood out to me,” he said.

Morris said there had been “limited conversations ” about the starting QB position, which has already seen rampant speculation in local and national media. Morris said he will continue conversations about the teams’ next passer as his staff fills out.

“Why not us?” he asked. “Why not?”

See the press conference here.Β 

Image sources: Atlanta Falcons