On Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons play host to the Las Vegas Raiders which means Raheem Morris and Jon Gruden match up for the first time as a head coach against each other.
Morris wouldn’t be where he is today, however, if it wasn’t for Gruden. When Morris was 26-years-old, Gruden was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccanneers at the time and took Morris under his wing. Now, 18 years later, Morris takes on the one he learned from.
“He was one of the first people that taught me how to work, how to put time into it, how to come into work and absolutely beat people to work and thrive in that environment,” Morris said via AtlantaFalcons.com. “The work ethic he brought to the game, how much he loved football, his care for his coaching staff, and everyone around him.”
Gruden Is A Huge Fan of Morris
Under Raheem Morris, the Falcons are now 3-2 after starting the season at 0-5 which led to Dan Quinn’s dismissal as head coach.
Morris doesn’t look at his role as just a temporary coach, he is looking for a more permanent role and Gruden admitted he’s a big fan of Morris and rooting for him all the way…but there is one exception.
“Raheem is a heck of a coach,” Gruden said with a smile on his face. “He’s a great guy and he knows the game inside out. I pull for him every week, except this week. I can’t wait to see him, can’t wait to compete against him and I know he’s going to have those guys ready.”
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Morris Has Big Plans for Atlanta
While Morris is happy to be stepping up at head coach, he’s not focused on being interim coach, he’s focused on something much bigger.
Falcons’ insider William McFadden shared what Morris told the local media a month ago:
“Raheem Morris says if his focus was on being the interim head coach, he wouldn’t be in the right mindset needed for this moment. He’s focused on being the head coach of the team and leading the Falcons to a 1-0 record each week.”
Morris switched from coaching wide receivers to working with the defensive backs last season. He played a huge role in Atlanta’s dramatic turnaround in 2019 after a disappointing 1-7 start. The Falcons ended up closing last season 6-2 to finish 7-9, ultimately saving Quinn’s job a bit longer.
Morris is on a mission to turn this year’s steam around too and he’ll be doing so with Gruden in the back of his mind.
“His love for football is just contagious,” Morris said. “You can’t help but be around him and find ways to love football. He’s always big into personnel and people and his ability to go out and identify exactly what he wants in positions and to be able to evaluate those guys and get everybody around him to love football as much as he does is just something that is infectious.”
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