Raheem 2.0

October 13th, 2020

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Good for Rah.

The 2011 Bucs quit on Raheem Morris, but the Falcons just gave him a second chance. He has 11 games to prove he’s a different head coach the second time around.

Morris was only 32 when the Glazers tabbed him to replace Jon Gruden in 2009. Morris and GM Mark Dominik took their lumps that first season with rookie quarterback Josh Freeman, but Year 2 was a thrill ride.

The Falcons get a shot of energy and an experienced head coach.

Although a 10-6 record fell short of a postseason berth, the Glazers were absolutely floored by the job Morris turned in with the NFL’s youngest team.

The 2011 Bucs were supposed to be “youngry” and highly motivated. A 4-2 start had Buc Nation excited before the bottom dropped out. Nine years later, it’s still painful to remember how a football team quit
midway through the season.

Ten consecutive losses got Morris run out of town, starting with a 24-18 setback against the Bears in London as Freeman threw four picks. Two games later, the Texans thumped Tampa Bay 37-9 as Matt Schaub threw scoring passes of 80 and 78 yards. Yes, Matt Schaub. On both plays, Buc defenders appeared to treat tackling as a lost art form.

When the end finally came in Week 17, the Bucs trailed 42-0 late in the opening half at the Georgia Dome.

“We feel like we didn’t come out and compete,” said Bucs safety Sean Jones. “It’s embarrassing.”

Yes, it was. Morris should have jumped on a Delta flight back home during the halftime break, getting a head start in cleaning out his office.

He was toast, so he took his talents to the nation’s capital and then Atlanta, where he was named interim coach Monday by Rich McKay. After years of working the business side for Arthur Blank and nailing down that new stadium, McKay is back in football operations — for now.

That could be a short-term move because Blank is likely to start over in January with a new head coach and GM. But Blank said yesterday Morris is a candidate for 2021 and will have ample time to prove his value in the top job.

Suppose the Falcons go 8-3 down the stretch? Morris is 44 now, not 32, and he’s patiently waited his turn for another chance.

“You went into (the position), and there was no manual for that job,” Morris said in the offseason, referring to his Tampa Bay experience. “You go into it and how you feel like you learned from the people  you’ve been around. I’d been around some really good people in a limited amount of places because I was so young at 32.”

Not To Be Underestimated

Morris was 17-31 with the Buccaneers. The start was bad and the finish was awful, but in between there were some bravura moments, including a 16-9 stretch. To this day, no one knows how the 2010 Bucs won 10 games. Four coaches later, they have yet to reach that mark again.

Ronde Barber has been a vocal advocate for Raheem Morris getting a second head coaching gig

Morris relates to players well and that’s why it was so stunning that the 2011 Bucs didn’t play hard in those final 10 games, ushering in a hard-ass like Greg Schiano. Freeman regressed that season with 22 interceptions, but it was the defense that collapsed under a defensive head coach.

The Falcons considered two former Buc coaches as potential replacements for Dan Quinn. And although Atlanta’s defense has been brutal, Morris got the nod over Dirk Koetter.

Good call. He’s waited longer and he’s got the bigger upside.

The odds are stacked against Morris. His 35-year-old quarterback, Matt Ryan, has lost 22 of his last 36 starts and Atlanta’s defense lacks playmakers. The odds are that Blank has someone else in mind to run this ship in 2021, perhaps KC offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who will be in high demand.

If Morris likes a challenge, he’s got one. Poor drafts have caught up with the Falcons since they represented the NFC in the Super Bowl.

Still, don’t sell this guy short. For one brief shining moment, he had it going at One Buc Place … until he didn’t.

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11 Responses to “Raheem 2.0”

  1. KnoxvilleBuc Says:

    Great article as always. Morris has all the potential. Being able to learn, coach, and evaluate on both sides of the ball will be beneficial to him. I’m excited to see what his future holds. I just hope his permanent gig is outside the division!

  2. Bird Says:

    Yungry turned out to be yitty

  3. orlbucfan Says:

    I have always though Raheem Morris got a raw deal here. He was an excellent asst. under Dungy and Monte Kiffin. When Gruden was let go, the Glazer Boys gave him an either/or coach/see ya according to reports. I wish him the best in Hotlanta.

  4. D-Rome Says:

    I’m very happy for Radio Raheem. He lead an underpaid and under talented team to ten wins. Jason Licht can only dream of putting together a roster and coaching staff that could earn ten wins on a budget. This year’s Bucs team are going to struggle to earn ten wins.

  5. August 1976 Buc Says:

    Raheem is a good guy, glad he is getting a shot, albeit a long shot, but a chance none the less. Hope the youngry man does well, just not against the Bucs. lol In 2016 I ran into Raheem in Tampa, and I just had to ask him if he would have drafted Suh instead of McCoy, and without hesitating he said yes. But as we all know, that was not possible becuase Suh went to Lions 1 pick before McCoy.I wanted to see what he would say. It just confirmed what alot of us Buc fans believed all along. GO BUCS!!!!

  6. Mike Johnson Says:

    I always likedRah. I wish hime well except when he plays us. He is taking a bad spot. But I would never count him out.

  7. Buc1987 Says:


  8. Fernando Diaz Says:

    atlanta lacks playmakers????
    on defense maybe
    Jones, Gurley, Ridley

  9. Topdoggie Says:

    After the miracle the GM futher gutted the team and tossed him to the wolves. No one can tell me the Glazers weren’t in a liquidity crises from the real estate bond market collapsing. They put their limited liquid assets into a kickball club with a rebelling fan base. Dominic gutted the team because the check book was closed.
    I made massive money on General growth property who had tens of billions of equity but forced into bankruptcy because of said liquidity crisis.

  10. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:

    Topdoggie Says:
    “No one can tell me the Glazers weren’t in a liquidity crises from the real estate bond market collapsing.”
    Is it possible that the NFL helps owners stay liquid during crises? Would we know if this took place?

  11. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:

    “Morris relates to players well and that’s why it was so stunning that the 2011 Bucs didn’t play hard in those final 10 games…”

    “Relating well to the players” is riding a fine line between being a peer and being a manager, especially when you are as young as he was with the Bucs. You cannot be both, and Raheem found out the hard way. There is a reason why the military has such strict rules concerning fraternization.

    I have always been an advocate for Raheem getting a second opportunity as a head coach, because it’s obvious that he is smart enough to learn from experience. Plus, he’s a rare coach who is equally proficient in teaching offense and defense. I wish him the best!