Since being fired as a head coach at the conclusion of the 2011 season, it’s been a long road back for Raheem Morris and he’s not even back yet. The L.A. Rams defensive coordinator who has been a part of three Super Bowl appearances and two championships, coached offense and defense, and worked for some of the best coaching staffs in this century has been fighting his way back to the top for over a decade.
But despite interview requests from at least five different teams with a head coach opening this year, will Morris be left out again?
Morris has been requested by the team that plays in the same stadium as the Rams, but his chances of going to the Chargers seem nil. Not only have the Chargers requested 14 names that we know about, including 10 of those being completed before they’ve talked to Morris, but it would be shocking if they hired a Rams defensive coordinator weeks after firing a head coach who had previously been the Rams defensive coordinator.
How do you justify to fans that you fired Brandon Staley for the guy who replaced Brandon Staley?
No, the Chargers fired Staley so that they could go “big” on their next hire, which most people expect to be Jim Harbaugh. Maybe L.A. doesn’t land Harbaugh, who has also met with the Falcons and who could still go back to Michigan, but the Chargers also have a meeting scheduled with Mike Vrabel.
Among retread hires, the Chargers have also met with Steve Wilks and have requested Dan Quinn. Among the top coordinators, the Chargers have completed interviews with Mike Macdonald, Todd Monken, Brian Callahan, and their own Kellen Moore. They have also requested Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, the most popular name on the coordinator market.
Of all the teams to request an interview with Morris, the Chargers and Falcons seem to be the least likely to follow through with their interest.
The Falcons are going to go back and re-hire the interim head coach who they didn’t retain after firing Quinn in 2020? I doubt that.
Atlanta has a second interview scheduled with Bill Belichick and they’ve managed to also get an interview with Harbaugh. They’re going to hire a big name and even if Morris was the fourth-biggest name on their list, the Falcons will still hire someone on their top-2 wishlist.
The Panthers have completed an interview with Morris, but will they hire a different Sean McVay assistant coach after previously employing two as their coordinators this past disastrous season: Thomas Brown at OC and Ejiro Evero at DC.
Carolina interviewed Evero for the position, so if they’re going to hire a defensive coordinator who has worked with McVay, why not just stay in-house? The Panthers have been heavily linked to Ben Johnson since last year when he rejected their advances, but they’ve also got Callahan, Macdonald, Monken, Quinn, Frank Smith, and Bobby Slowik on their list.
Coming off of a 2-15 season and with no first round pick, the Panthers may struggle to attract any of the top names on the coaching market. But no matter who they land, Carolina is thought to want an offensive coach who will help develop Bryce Young after a difficult rookie season.
Nobody seems quite sure of what the Commanders want to accomplish in this search, but they are completing an interview with Raheem Morris on Thursday.
Commanders are interviewing Rams’ DC Raheem Morris for their head coaching job today.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 18, 2024
One name that keeps coming up for Washington is Ben Johnson. If the Chargers hire Harbaugh, the Falcons hire Belichick, and Johnson rejects the Panthers again, he might end up “falling” to the Commanders, a team with a new owner who is probably hungry for power and wants to leave this interview cycle with his top choice for the job.
Since Washington also owns the number two pick in the draft and is highly expected to draft a quarterback, the Commanders probably want to make sure that first and foremost they have someone who will be able to address the offense. That could be what leaves Morris behind other candidates. Even though he has some offensive background, he’s coached defense for most of his career and isn’t going to catch up to names like Johnson, Frank Smith, Monken, Slowik, or Callahan.
If there is perhaps one sleeper on this list to hire Morris, it’s the Seahawks. We know that Seattle has invested a lot into fixing their defense, whether that be drafting Devon Witherspoon fifth overall or trading a second round pick for Leonard Williams and signing Dre’Mont Jones in free agency. The Seahawks have one of the worst defenses in the NFL and they may lean on hiring someone who addresses that and hires a good offensive coordinator.
With Morris, the Seahawks would be killing three birds with one stone: A) He addresses the defense, B) He works for the team that Seattle simply can’t beat, C) He knows a lot of good assistant coaches from his time working with McVay and previous to that, Kyle Shanahan.
Still, if the Seahawks want a defensive coach, they might rather just go back to Dan Quinn, their former defensive coordinator. He also knows a lot of good assistants. Or Seattle might want to get someone who can address an offense that can’t run the ball and won’t keep up with the Rams or 49ers in the division, in which case the Seahawks might hire Slowik, Johnson, or Frank Smith.
As far as we know, the Titans haven’t requested Raheem Morris, while the Raiders plans are being kept under lock and key. Many have said that Las Vegas should just hire interim head coach Antonio Pierce, so that may end up being what they do.
The Cowboys retained Mike McCarthy, while the Eagles haven’t publicly announced anything with Nick Sirianni. Maybe another job will still open up. For now, it seems like Raheem Morris’s best opportunity might be with the Seahawks, which is a different can of worms for the Rams.