THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – The Los Angeles Rams announced they have agreed to terms with Raheem Morris to be their new defensive coordinator. Morris replaces Brandon Staley, who was named the Chargers' new head coach last Sunday.
Morris, 44, brings 19 years of NFL coaching experience on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball to the Rams. He most recently served as interim head coach of the Atlanta Falcons for their final 11 games of the 2020 season after spending the first five as their defensive coordinator. The 2020 season was Morris' sixth with Atlanta and first as its defensive coordinator.
In 2019, Morris began the season on the offensive side of the ball coaching wide receivers before taking over as the Falcons' secondary coach. Following that midseason switch, he helped Atlanta finish 6-2 over the final eight games, and its defense went from having the fewest takeaways in the first half of the season (4) to finishing with the second-most in the NFL (16) after Week 9. The Falcons' defense also improved from 32nd to 10th in sacks, 32nd to ninth in scoring efficiency, and 31st to sixth in redzone efficiency over the final eight weeks of the season.
Morris first joined the Falcons in 2015 as assistant head coach/defensive passing game coordinator. During that first season in Atlanta, Morris helped the Falcons defense allow the third-fewest total passing touchdowns in the NFL that season (19). He then transitioned over to the offensive side of the ball and served as assistant head coach/wide receivers coach for the next three and a half seasons.
Prior to joining the Falcons in 2015, Morris spent the 2012-14 seasons on the Washington Football Team's coaching staff as its defensive backs coach. Washington's defense finished tied for fifth in the NFL in takeaways with 31 in his first season. It also tied a league-high with 94 passes defensed and ranked fifth in the NFC with a 3.3 interception rate.
Before arriving in Washington, Morris spent three seasons as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2009-11). He was the youngest head coach in the NFL in 2009. In 2010, Tampa Bay finished 10-6, marking the best turnaround in franchise history after going 3-13 the previous season.
Morris began his NFL coaching career as a defensive quality control coach for the Buccaneers in 2002, becoming a defensive assistant in 2003 before being promoted to assistant defensive backs coach (2004-05). After one season as Kansas State University's defensive coordinator (2006), he returned to Tampa Bay for the beginning of his second stint with the Bucs, starting out as their defensive backs coach (2007-08) before becoming their head coach. During that two-year span, Tampa Bay allowed the second-fewest passing yards per game in the NFL (170.5) and also ranked among the league leaders with 22 interceptions.
Morris is well-acquainted with Rams head coach Sean McVay, having previously worked together with Washington and the Buccaneers for a combined four seasons. Morris' second and final season as the Bucs defensive backs coach was the same year McVay was an offensive assistant for Tampa Bay (2008). The two also worked together for three seasons with the Washington Football Team from 2012-14 – McVay was in his second and third seasons coaching Washington's tight ends (2012 and 2013) and first as its offensive coordinator (2014) while Morris was Washington's defensive backs coach for each of those three seasons.