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Dan Quinn moves Raheem Morris from offense to defense to fix Falcons’ secondary


Goober Pyle
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https://theathletic.com/1357321/2019/11/06/dan-quinn-moves-raheem-morris-from-offense-to-defense-to-fix-falcons-secondary/

Raheem Morris had a feeling Dan Quinn was going to ask him to switch coaching positions. Morris has known Quinn for far too long to where he has a general sense of where Quinn is leaning in certain situations.

And the brutal truth is quite clear. The Falcons’ defensive backs have not been able to consistently stop opposing teams. This inability to cover has led to big plays through the air. It has also subsequently affected the pass rush as quarterbacks have been able to get rid of the ball quickly.

Needing some sort of spark out of the bye week, Quinn decided to move Morris, who has been Atlanta’s receivers coach since 2016, to the secondary. The hope is for Morris to spark the defensive backs to improve in two areas — technique and communication.

Through eight games, those have not been strengths for a Falcons secondary that ranks 23rd in the NFL with an average of 261.1 passing yards allowed per outing.

“When you have a record like we had and you go into the bye week, you want to make some changes, you want to do some different things,” Morris said. “As close of a relationship as we have — you have to remember, coach Quinn coached me when I was a junior in college (at Hofstra). We know each other as well as anybody. When he came to me to bring me back from a spot he took me from before, it wasn’t shocking news to me.”

Said Quinn, “He knew it before I did.”

Quinn revealed the coaching change to the players in a meeting Monday. With Morris moving to the secondary, Dave Brock moved from running backs coach to receivers and Bernie Parmalee transitioned from being an offensive assistant to running backs coach — a position he actually held in 2018.

When he announced the move for the first time publicly, Quinn didn’t want to put a title on Morris’ new position. But the remaining unanswered question is what this means for secondary coach Doug Mallory now that Morris has been moved to his specific unit.

For many of the Atlanta defensive backs, Morris’ move was met with approval.

“He’s really good about finding out what you do really well as a player,” safety Ricardo Allen said. “He’ll find out your strengths and weaknesses by studying you. He makes you (work) on a different level. Yeah, he’s going to focus on your weaknesses to help you get better. But at the beginning he’s going to always focus on your strengths and what you do the best and make sure that it’s showing.”

Said second-year cornerback Isaiah Oliver: “He’s got a lot of knowledge for the back end guys that he’s able to spread to us in terms of making things a lot easier, whether it be more detailed in our technique or just real simple communication, which should help us play faster.”

Said rookie cornerback Jordan Miller: “I liked it for me personally because I’m a high-energy guy. He’s going to talk and he’s going to say something, whether you did it right or wrong. It’s nice to hear his voice. It’s good, it excites me.”

When it comes to improving the secondary’s technique and communication, Morris offered a lengthy response about the cornerbacks’ shortcomings this season. After all, not much has gone right when it comes to coverage. And the fact the same players are having the same miscommunication errors at the midway point signals there has been some sort of disconnect from the coaching staff to this particular position group.

“Particularly with our corners, it’s getting them to play with some confidence, getting them playing down at the line of scrimmage, some of those techniques,” Morris said. “The other thing is dealing with our communication. We got a young safety — (Damontae) Kazee, he’s still young. He’s playing with (Ricardo Allen), who is a very good communicator. And Kazee, we want him to be able to communicate better. We know what Kazee can do really well. He got the ball in his hand last year and we want to get him back to doing that.

“If we can clean up some of the communication, through the linebackers, through our D-line, throughout our defense, and we’re all speaking the same language and doing the same things as fast as we can do it and as hard as we can do it, and attacking the football — it’ll give us a better chance.”
When Morris met Quinn, he was a college defensive back. Morris eventually entered the coaching ranks as a graduate assistant at Hofstra in 1998 and saw his first NFL break come in 2002 as a quality control assistant with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For 11 years, Morris stayed on the defensive side of the ball, either as a position coach or a defensive coordinator.

After three years as the head coach of the Buccaneers from 2009-11, Morris became a defensive backs coach again with the Washington Redskins. When Quinn got the head coaching job in Atlanta, he hired Morris to coach the secondary. But only a year later, and notably after it was reported that former Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Matt Ryan feuded during the 2015 season, Quinn moved his former player and close friend to the offense to coach receivers. That spot opened up after Terry Robiskie left to become the offensive coordinator with the Tennessee Titans.

And since that 2016 offseason, that’s a position Morris has kept until this week. Quinn said he moved Morris to the offense in 2016 because of how he teaches the game to a large group of people. And Quinn felt like Morris did a good job during the time he spent in the receivers room. Even so, there was a point a year ago when Quinn felt like he might want to move Morris back to the defense.

“He developed into the role and he did well with it,” Quinn said. “There wasn’t a thought right away to move him back. I did think of it last year but we didn’t do it at that time. I’m glad he’s doing it and that we have the versatility to do it.”

As it stands, there are now three coaches associated with the secondary — Morris, Mallory and defensive passing game coordinator Jerome Henderson. Henderson said he likes the move due to the fact Morris has been on both sides of the ball. Henderson noted how Morris has tried to slow down offenses as a defensive coach while learning how to attack defenses as an offensive assistant.

“The thing I like is getting his fresh perspective, his fresh eyes and his offensive knowledge now with routes, whys and hows,” Henderson said. “A lot of times on defense, you’re looking at what happened and he said, ‘That happened because of this,’ and it takes it an extra level. And then again, his energy is ridiculous and I think it’s good for us.”

At 1-7, the Falcons are simply searching for a win. If it works and the secondary improves during the next month, people will wonder why Morris spent as much time as he did on the offensive side of the ball, considering the plethora of issues Atlanta’s back end has endured.

But for Morris, he long has felt loyal to Quinn. Whatever has been asked, he has done without hesitation.

“If Coach brought me over I knew it was for a reason,” Morris said. “Dan Quinn is very easy to please. He’s one of those people you want to help as much as you can.”

 

 

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39 minutes ago, VTCrunkler said:

....where he should have been all this time 

 

39 minutes ago, TheUsualStuff said:

Just thinking about this makes me more pissed at DQ than I already was.

DQ even seems to know this was a no-brainer move....

 

yeah, it was so no-brainer you never should have had him as receivers coach anyway you blockheaded dingus.

He used to have Marquand as a secondary guy...but threw him under the bus and seemingly forgot his value...

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13 hours ago, Goober Pyle said:

After three years as the head coach of the Buccaneers from 2009-11, Morris became a defensive backs coach again with the Washington Redskins. When Quinn got the head coaching job in Atlanta, he hired Morris to coach the secondary. But only a year later, and notably after it was reported that former Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Matt Ryan feuded during the 2015 season, Quinn moved his former player and close friend to the offense to coach receivers.

I think this explains why Quinn moved Morris to the offensive side of the ball.

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16 hours ago, Goober Pyle said:

“He’s really good about finding out what you do really well as a player,” safety Ricardo Allen said. “He’ll find out your strengths and weaknesses by studying you. He makes you (work) on a different level. Yeah, he’s going to focus on your weaknesses to help you get better. But at the beginning he’s going to always focus on your strengths and what you do the best and make sure that it’s showing.”

So what y’all been doing over there all year?

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DQ simply needs yet another scapegoat. He passes the blame around pretty well. I wonder what he sees when he looks in the mirror. I bet he thinks, "Bald man, you are brilliant. You suck at this job so much, yet the front office clowns haven't fired you yet. Brilliant, I tell you. Brilliant!"

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