LA Rams News: DC search may reportedly end with hire of Raheem Morris
By Bret Stuter
A defensive savant
He knows all defensive strategies. But he knows the path to success is steady improvement. He doesn’t believe that free agents will save a team. He doesn’t expect rookies, no matter where they are drafted, to show up and lead the team. His philosophy is the blend of old-school and new-age. Under Morris, the Falcons showed a mastery of the cover-one defense (man coverage with one deep safety) and cover-three defense (defense introduced by Seahawks Pete Carroll, with three safeties playing zone on the back half of the defense). Of course, Morris first learned the Tampa-2 defense from his early days of coaching in the NFL.
Raheem Morris knows defense. He knows all aspects of the defense and uses that knowledge to put his own spin to base defensive coverages. At Atlanta, he flipped that strong knowledge base to help their receivers develop as well. All the while, he knows that the key to a successful defense is not quarterback sacks, but rather making the quarterback uncomfortable. One interview says it best, a March 2020 interview with ESPN Staff Writer Vaughn McClure:
"‘To have a successful defense, you guys know, is affecting the quarterback, whatever that means,” Morris said. “A lot of people, when you say affect the quarterback, they automatically go right to sacks. But you’ve got to get him off the spot. You’ve got to fool him with disguise. You’ve got to get those guys to think a little bit. People ask about identity all the time. Coach Quinn talks about identity all the time. I think you’ve got to go out there and put it on tape. And you are what your tape says you are.’ – Coach Raheem Morris"
That same statement could just have easily been made by Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley. It tells the tale of Morris’ mindset. He knows that the key to defense is not the chalkboard or whiteboard or graphic display, but what transpires on the football field.