Falcons promote Morris as their interim coach

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Falcons promote Morris as their interim coach




FILE - In this Aug. 19, 2019 file photo, then-Atlanta Falcons assistant coach Raheem Morris follows the action during an NFL preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, Florida. (AP Photo / Phelan M. Ebenhack, file)


© Provided by Associated Press
FILE – In this Aug. 19, 2019 file photo, then-Atlanta Falcons assistant coach Raheem Morris follows the action during an NFL preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, Florida. (AP Photo / Phelan M. Ebenhack, file)


ATLANTA (AP) – The dismal performance of Atlanta’s defense under Raheem Morris will not be a factor if he finds a way to score victories now from his role as interim coach of the Falcons.

The more he wins, the better his chances are that Falcons owner Arthur Blank will consider him more than a temporary replacement for the fired Dan Quinn. With 11 games remaining, Blank sees this as a perfect opportunity for Morris.

But can Morris, promoted to interim coach Monday, be a full-time candidate for the job?

“Absolutely,” said a smiling Blank. “If Raheem goes 11-0, he will certainly be a candidate.”

Morris is in his sixth season with the Falcons and it was his first as defensive coordinator. His previous experience as a head coach helped him receive the endorsement of Blank and team president Rich McKay as the one chosen to guide the team for the remainder of the season.

The Falcons fired Quinn Sunday night, hours after the team fell to a 0-5 record for the first time since 1997, losing 23-16 to the Carolina Panthers. Blank also fired general manager Thomas Dimitroff.

“This was not an answer to the 0-5,” Blank said Monday, referring to the Falcons’ record of 14-23 under Quinn since the start of the 2018 season.

Blank said Quinn and Dimitroff accepted that it was imperative to advance to the playoffs “or die” this season after two straight 7-9 years.

“It’s pretty obvious when you go 0-5 that it’s not going to happen,” Blank stressed.

The Falcons named linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich the new defensive coordinator. Blank and McKay said Morris had the option to maintain control of the defense.

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