With Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots mutually parting ways, it makes for eight open head coach positions in the NFL. Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris has already been requested for interviews by four of those teams. Morris is a hot candidate given what he’s done with the Rams defense this season. This might finally be the time that Morris gets his second shot. Taking each head coach opening into account, here are the best team-fits for Morris.
1. Washington Commanders
The Commanders are without question the best fit for Raheem Morris. This is a franchise that’s entering a new era. It’s hard to believe that this might actually be one of the most attractive positions on the market. They have the number two overall pick and will have a chance to draft Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, or Marvin Harrison Jr. Dan Snyder is out in favor of new ownership that wants to win.
Josh Harris and co. will be making their first hire and its an ownership group that wants to win. They need a coach who can help develop the young players that will be coming in over the next year or two. On top of that, they’ll be looking for someone who can instill a high culture and will share their vision for the future. As Ben Standig from The Athletic wrote,
“Morris has a strong case if there’s a compelling need to state a big three among the coaching candidates. No coordinator has made more with less this season than the man whose first head-coaching gig came as a 33-year-old with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Aaron Donald is not having his typically outrageous season, and much of the remaining personnel is composed of young players and random parts. Yet the defense has stepped up significantly during the Los Angeles Rams’ current 6-1 stretch over their last seven games that thrust them back into the playoff race. Some people have wondered when Morris, 47, would garner another full-time head-coaching chance. This seems like the year.
Morris is a defensive coach, but has an offensive background and should be able to bring a strong offensive staff with him. Those qualities will make him an attractive hire for Washington and is why he’s on their short-list. Morris also has a history in Washington as he coached defensive backs there from 2012 to 2014.
2. Carolina Panthers
The Panthers are another team that asked to interview Morris. This is a fit for Morris for a few reasons, but the elephant in the room remains David Tepper. The Panthers may want to keep coaches like Ejiro Evero and Thomas Brown on staff. These are two coaches that Morris will have familiarity with. Evero was the secondary coach in 2021 under Morris while Brown worked on Rams offensive staff during that same time period.
If the Panthers are looking to keep those two coaches on staff, Morris makes a lot of sense. The issue here aside from Tepper is that the Panthers are coming off of the NFL’s worst record and don't have draft picks. They have some cap space, but this may be a full rebuild. The question is whether or not Tepper will be patient through that process.
3. Atlanta Falcons
Morris may be exactly what the Falcons need in the building. He’s an experienced coach that can bring the players together and limit some of the mistakes. It’s possible that he could bring an offensive staff to utilize the talent that includes Drake London, Kyle Pitts, and Bijan Robinson. They are another team that requested to interview Morris.
There’s also a history here. Morris was the assistant head coach for the Falcons from 2015 to 2019. He was the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach. In 2020, he moved back to become the defensive coordinator and then was the interim head coach when Dan Quinn was fired. Morris provides some familiarity which might be what Arthur Smith is looking for as he tries to get the Falcons into a winning position.
4. Seattle Seahawks
In all likelihood, the Seahawks will be hiring someone with some familiarity or who has worked with Pete Carroll. Those options would be either Dan Quinn or Dave Canales. Quinn looks to be the early favorite, but like all teams, the Seahawks will have to go through the process.
If the Seahawks are looking for someone who brings some of the same qualities as Carroll, Morris does make a lot of sense. Carroll wasn’t some offensive guru and had a defensive background. However, the most important thing was that he was someone that the players respected and was a leader of men. Morris also brings a defensive background from several coaching trees and has also proven to be a leader of men. The Seahawks have some young defensive talent for Morris to work with. The question will be how he builds the offensive side of the ball.
There could be some flashbacks here of Morris’ stint in Tampa Bay taking over for a legendary coach in Jon Gruden. However, the Seahawks have an ownership group willing to spend and one of the best general managers in the NFL. This feels like a job that will be filled by someone with familiarity to the Seahawks’ culture.
5. New England Patriots
This position feels like a Mike Vrabel or Jerod Mayo hire to help keep “The Patriot Way” alive in New England. Morris may not be what the Patriots are looking for, but he is the type of person and leader that Robert Kraft would respect. At the end of the day, however, nobody wants to be the coach that follows Bill Belichick.
It’s hard to know exactly what type of coach Kraft will be looking for with his next hire. He hasn’t had to hire anybody since 2000. Morris is a high-culture guy and may be able to bring an offensive coaching staff with him to help re-build that side of the ball while also remaining strong on defense.
6. Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders should look at keeping Antonio Pierce who had the players performing well for him at the end of the season. However, in standard Raiders fashion, Mark Davis will go for the big hire. Don’t be surprised if the Raiders make a run at Bill Belichick and Jim Harbaugh. Tashan Reed from The Athletic noted Morris as a potential replacement for Josh McDaniels saying,
“Morris helped the Rams beat Anarumo’s Bengals in Super Bowl LVI, and his resume is even stronger. He posted a 17-31 record in his three-year run as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach from 2009 to 2011, but he has redeemed himself and done more than enough to earn a second chance. The Rams defense has declined since its Super Bowl win, but it remains a solid group despite losing much of its personnel.”
This isn’t necessarily a position that Morris should take. The Raiders have kept one head coach longer than three years on two occasions since 2000. Both times that coach was named Jon Gruden. If Davis is looking for a more experienced coach who brings some of the same qualities as Pierce, Morris might make some sense. With that said, the fit is slim at best.
7. Los Angeles Chargers
No team likes to try and be the Rams more than the Chargers. They hired the Rams’ old defensive coordinator in Brandon Staley and have requested to interview Morris. Still, the Chargers may look to make a “splash” hire and that could lead to someone like Belichick or Harbaugh. Daniel Popper of The Athletic wrote about Morris’ fit with the Chargers,
“Morris took over as Rams DC after the Chargers hired Staley in 2021. He kept the bones of Staley’s defense in place despite not having much experience with the system. The Rams won the Super Bowl in Morris’ first season. He would be able to talk the language of Staley’s defense without being married to it philosophically. That would matter as the Chargers transition.”
Much like the Raiders, this may not be an attractive position either. Dean Spanos isn’t seen as a good owner. The Chargers do have Justin Herbert, but this is a defense that needs new pieces and rebuilt. That may make Morris the perfect fit. At the same time, this is a team in transition with a lot of issues at the top of the organization.
8. Tennessee Titans
The Titans fired one of the better coaches in the NFL in Vrabel. It’s possible they were looking for something different as they enter a new era of Titans football. Still, it feels like an odd decision. The Titans are in a weird spot at the quarterback position and are a team likely staring at a multi-year re-build.
Up to this point, the Titans have requested to interview nine coaches and none of those were Morris. This doesn’t feel like a fit for either side.