Maybe a lot of them.
Morris, 46, and former head coach of the Bucs and Falcons (in an interim role) will reportedly interview with the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts for their head coaching vacancy.
But that might not be all.
Albert Breer of the MMQB wrote in his football mailbag Wednesday that Morris was in line to take the head coaching job of the Rams last year if McVay had decided to pack up then. Breer also wrote that he thought McVay would return.
“I think he stays – mostly I think out of loyalty to the Rams core four (Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey) and to all the coaches he’s brought aboard.”
Take that for what it’s worth.
McVay made news Wednesday when it was announced that the Rams would allow all their assistant coaches to seek other NFL opportunities. This rule changed recently where NFL teams could deny assistants from seeking jobs that were lateral moves (like position coach to position coach), but with McVay in limbo, he was giving his coaches a chance to move on. That’s another sign that McVay isn’t coming back, but we’ll see.
So where does that leave Morris? And what does he bring to the table?
The Raheem Morris File
Morris got his start as a football coach at Hofstra (which doesn’t even have football anymore). He’s a New Jersey native. He got connected with Jon Gruden and the Bucs in 2002 and slowly moved up the ranks as an assistant.
He took a one-year scenery change to become defensive coordinator at Kansas State in 2006. (Coaches do this to get DC or OC on their resume to make them more attractive head coaching candidates). He came back to Tampa for two years as defensive backs coach. Then when Gruden got fired in 2009, Morris, just 33, was the Bucs pick. He was the youngest coach in the NFL.
The Bucs Days
Morris took over a team in decline. Josh Freeman, who was a Cam Newton Lite, was the quarterback. He threw 18 interceptions and the team started 0-7, before finishing 4-12.
Year two (2010) was the golden year for Morris and the Bucs. LeGarrette Blount ran for over 1,000 yards, Freeman was good (the only year you can say that). The Bucs went 10-6 but didn’t make the playoffs in a loaded NFC South.
In 2011, the Bucs were a hot pre-season pick. They started 3-1, and then had one of those franchise-changing losses. They went out to San Francisco and got destroyed by Jim Harbaugh and Alex Smith, 48-3. It matched the Bucs worst loss ever. The Bucs confidence was shattered.
They went on to lose 10 in a row, the defense allowed 494 points and Morris was shown the exit.
Sprucing Up The Resume
Morris bounced back with Washington (they were the Redskins then) in 2012 again as defensive backs coach, then jumped to Atlanta in 2015. He was defensive coordinator in 2019 and when the Falcons fired Dan Quinn after an 0-5 start in 2020, Morris became interim head coach. They won four out of six to get to 4-7, but then cratered losing their last five. That was it for Morris in Atlanta.
Now A Ram
Brandon Staley leaves the Rams to become head coach of the LA Chargers and McVay brings Morris on board as defensive coordinator in 2021.
The Rams win Super Bowl LVI and the defense is good. They allowed 21.3 points a game, ninth in the NFL, they had 46 sacks, second most in the NFL and 19 interceptions, third in the league.
Morris gets an interview with the Vikings for their head coaching job but comes back to the Rams and the 2022 defense is…not as good.
The Rams allowed 22.6 points a game this past season, they were 22nd against the run and 13th against the pass. They only had 35 sacks. Yes, they had injuries, but they had injuries in 2021 too.
So Where Does Morris Fit?
Let’s look at the two places where Morris will interview.
The Colts just finished 4-12-1, third in the AFC South. They have no quarterback, Matt Ryan (who Morris coached in Atlanta) looks done. Nick Foles has lost his big d*ck magic. The Colts fired Frank Reich after a 3-5-1 start, and owner Jim Irsay likes to get involved, maybe too much. It’s hard to see Morris there.
Denver canned first-year coach Nathaniel Hackett after the Christmas smackdown by the Rams. They finished 5-12, but have big questions at quarterback with Russell Wilson and his tired shtick. In August, the Broncos were bought by heirs to the Walton fortune, Wal-Mart fame. They are hitting reset. This is a better fit for Morris than Indianapolis, but I still don’t see it.
Morris’ Best Spot Is LA
We’re still only on the tip of the NFL coaching carousel iceberg. There are five openings now. I’m kind of surprised Houston hasn’t shown interest in Morris, but you never know what other jobs may open and cause a domino effect, like if Dallas loses Monday and fires Mike McCarthy, is that where Sean Payton goes? And if Payton doesn’t go to Denver, does that make Morris a prime candidate there?
But reading between the lines, it looks like if/when McVay decides to leave, Morris is 1A for the job in Los Angeles. It makes sense. The Rams are only one year removed from the Super Bowl. This is still a team with a good defense. Keeping Morris would establish some continuity and hopefully lead to greater success for the Rams.