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Falcons assistant Morris returns to defensive roots

Raheem Morris is returning to his roots as a defensive trainer.

The Atlanta Falcons hope the transfer will lend a hand save their season.

After 3½ seasons running with the receivers at the offensive facet, Morris is now accountable for the suffering secondary.

“You do no matter is needed for the group,'” he mentioned. “Put some new eyes and viewpoint, some method and basics, some issues that we would have liked to scrub up.”

The protection is hardly ever unfamiliar territory for the 43-year-old trainer.

Morris began out as a defensive backs assistant at Cornell. He coached the secondary at Tampa Bay earlier than transferring as much as turn into the Buccaneers head trainer for 3 seasons. Upon getting fired from that process, he spent 3 extra seasons as a defensive backs trainer in Washington earlier than assuming that very same function with the Falcons when Dan Quinn used to be employed as head trainer in 2015.

In Quinn’s 2nd season, he shifted Morris to the offense for the 1st time, believing he may just deliver a brand new viewpoint to a receiving corps led through Julio Jones — a transfer that obviously paid dividends on a record-setting offense that helped propel Atlanta to the Tremendous Bowl.

However, with those Falcons (1-7) mired in a six-game dropping streak that has raised questions on Quinn’s long run with the group, the training group of workers were given a shake-up all the way through the bye week.

Morris used to be now not stunned when Quinn requested him to transport again to protection.

“No matter I am required to do, I will leap in and do and feel free about it,” Morris mentioned.

Quinn has now not but surrendered the defensive coordinator function that he assumed this season, however he is obviously given up some keep watch over in an try to flip issues round.

“I assumed at this level bringing some contemporary eyes onto some issues could be what used to be important,” the top trainer mentioned. “It is the proper factor to do. I should not have made this giant a shift if I did not assume it will make an affect.”

Morris takes over a unit that ranks 23rd within the league in passing yards allowed (261.1 in keeping with recreation) and is tied for ultimate with handiest two interceptions. 2d-year cornerback Isaiah Oliver has struggled mightily in his first 12 months as a starter, failing to jam receivers at line and getting misplaced in protection a ways too incessantly. Desmond Trufant, who has been out with a toe harm, may just go back for Sunday’s recreation at New Orleans. If this is the case, rookie Kendall Sheffield would possibly transfer over to interchange Oliver at the proper facet.

The go protection struggles don’t seem to be totally the secondary’s fault. The Falcons additionally rank ultimate within the league with simply seven sacks.

Morris is aware of there may be handiest such a lot an assistant trainer can do.

“I have no idea if it is a saving factor. It is extra of an all-hands-on-deck mentality,” he mentioned. “There may be numerous proficient coaches on our group of workers. There may be numerous proficient gamers in our development. We ask folks to do various things each and every unmarried week.”

Morris’ speedy objective is locate techniques to create extra turnovers. Atlanta is 31st in takeaway margin at minus-11.

“Our group is 100% in regards to the ball,” he mentioned. “For no matter explanation why, we’ve not gotten ’em. We now have knocked some balls out. We have not been lucky sufficient to get on the ones balls. Your turnover margin for sure impacts your win percentages. We’re the place we’re on account of that at the moment.”

Morris’ new staff faces a stout problem protecting the first-place Saints (7-1). Drew Brees is all healed up, returning to guide a potent offense that has in most cases had its method with the Falcons through the years.

Stepped forward communique is one part.

Self belief is some other.

“In particular with our corners, getting them enjoying with some self assurance, getting us enjoying down at the line of scrimmage,” Morris mentioned. “If we will be able to blank up one of the most communique … all talking the similar language and doing the similar issues as speedy as we will be able to do it, as exhausting as we will be able to do it, whilst attacking the soccer, you give your self a greater probability.”


Related Press Creator George Henry contributed to this document.


Extra AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP—NFL


Apply Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 His paintings may also be discovered at https://apnews.com


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