IRVINE, CA – With the last interview winding down, Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVeigh seemed eager to leave the field one afternoon during training camp in late July.
Who can blame him?
After rehearsing, McVeigh stood at a pulpit and answered faithfully every question put to him by a crowd of reporters. Then, over another long period, repeat the exercise in several individual exercises. Understandably, McVay was ready to return to training. But before he left, McVeigh paused, unwelcome, to give his high-profile opinion about defensive caller Ramez Rahim Morris, who was praising him for the journalist. And in all that would be written about Morris, McVeigh wanted to include the following.
“He’s going to be head coach again – there’s no doubt about that,” McVeigh told Andscape. “He’s an outstanding leader, such a special coach. And when you think about the things that a great coach does — having control of the game, control of a room, the ability to communicate with a bunch of different people — Raheem does it all. He just has a great ability to lead and teach. Motivation, inspiration. He checks every one of these boxes.”
McVeigh’s unequivocal assessment of Morris’ chances of captaining another team (Morris was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for three seasons) seemed more of an announcement than a prediction. And when the most successful young coach in NFL history speaks up, the team owners take notice. McVeigh’s strong endorsement numbers help Maurice, 46, immeasurably in his desire to occupy the office of head coach again someday. By any objective standards, Morris certainly got another chance.
But here’s the thing: The NFL has 32 teams and only three black coaches. The NFL is being sued by three black coaches who allege that the most powerful professional sports league commits widespread wrongdoing in hiring practices based on race; And, well, black Maurice. The commissioner’s office moved aggressively in an effort to alter the league’s terrible recruitment narrative, Executing programs abroad Ultimately, it intends to increase the pool of qualified candidates from minorities and women to senior positions in football operations.
Whether Morris is offered another major coaching position soon can be seen as a key test of the degree of progress in the field at club level.
Apparently, McVeigh’s verdict on Morris has already begun. To hear McVeigh say it, the Rams started the NFL regular season as the defending Super Bowl champion in large part because Morris made a major contribution in his first season with the franchise.
Morris is highly skilled in X and O matters in addition to being an inspiring leader and, perhaps most importantly, he also serves as a sound board for McVay. During the Rams’ three-game rough slip in November (the team’s average defeat margin was 13.7 points), McVeigh relied on Morris, who served with him on two NFL coaching teams when both were assists, for sound advice on and off the field.
McVeigh said Morris never disappointed him.
“It was huge, and I leaned on it like everyone else,” McVeigh recalls. “Our friendship goes back a long time… but it is so much more than that. Just to have another captain in his place, who experienced some of the things I went through in my seat… that was very important to me.
“But then also to be able to turn to him and talk to him, ‘Hey, how do we deal with this?'” What is the best way to get the real responses that we want from our players? Only his ability to stay on course, and stay independent, is also very important. He is very secure in himself. He loves it [the pursuit of victory] He is as committed as anyone else, but he doesn’t let that affect his ability to continue enjoying the process and enjoying life. Sometimes it’s good for me to see her and remember her.”
Back in those dark days of November, Morris understood the role he needed to fill McVeigh. Morris approached the task in a straightforward manner.
“First of all, no one is going to start pointing fingers. We’ll figure out how to fix it. That’s what I thought and that’s where I started,” Morris said. “You had a whole bunch of people just trying to figure out what to do, how to do it.” And what more could they do? I would just put myself in a position to always be one of those guys. Also, I always try to put myself in a position to be useful to the people I’ve done jobs before in this league.
“Whether I’m a coordinator, whether it’s a head coach, a job coach or a quality control coach, I always want to do my best to improve their jobs. I want it because I know how you feel in all those situations and all those levels. When you’re lucky enough and lucky enough For being in those places, you have to be the man who shines to help everyone I want to Be that guy. And that’s what I’m proud of myself.”
Morris was a rock of stability as the Rams turned around after their losing streak, and the team had been leading 9-1 (a 27-24 overtime loss for San Francisco 49ers was the only drawback) in their last 10 games including the playoffs. . In the Rams’ 23-20 win over the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl LVI, Morris’ plan helped Los Angeles to fire Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow seven times. The defense also made important fourth defenders near the midfield. One event early in the game resulted in the Rams landing for the first time. The other happened in the late fourth quarter, sealing the franchise’s first NFL title since the 1999 season.
It was Morris’ second Super Bowl title as an assistant, with Morris serving as a young QC coach for the Buccaneers when they won Super Bowl XXXVII after the 2002 season. At that point, just four years after graduating from Hofstra, Morris was widely seen as a One of the best coaching prospects in the league regardless of race.
In 2009, when the Buccaneers used him to lead them at just 32, Morris was the youngest coach in the NFL. However, Morris’ time at the helm of the Buccaneers did not last long: he went 21-38 in three seasons.
After being fired from his dream job, Morris resumed his steady climb up the coaching ladder.
After being fired by Tampa Bay, Morris joined the Washington Redskins’ crew under coach Mike Shanahan. Morris was the team’s secondary coach in 2012 when they won the NFC East title, their first Division I title since the 1999 season. Other notable assistants on this team include McVeigh; Shanahan’s son Kyle, who has been the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers since 2017; Matt LaFleur, who was appointed in 2019 to lead the Green Bay Packers; and Mike McDaniel, who became the head coach of the Miami Dolphins in February.
While in Washington, Morris became close to Mike Shanahan, who, like Morris, climbed to the top in coaching as a young man and fell very quickly. In 1988, the then Los Angeles Raiders hired Shanahan, who was only 35 years old, to be their field commander. Four games into Shanahan’s second season, the Raiders fired him. He left the franchise with a record 8-12.
It’s no surprise that Mike Shanahan and Morris have had some soul-searching after professional setbacks. While with Washington, Mike Shanahan shared his experience with Morris and encouraged him. Morris regained his footing and then continued his good career for six seasons as an assistant with the Atlanta Falcons.
After serving as Atlanta’s assistant coach and defensive passing coordinator for one season, Morris moved on to coaching wide receivers. In 2016, the Falcons led the league in scoring averaging 33.8 points and winning the NFC Championship (Atlanta suffered a historic meltdown by losing the Super Bowl LI to the New England Patriots 34-28 after leading 28-3).
For the 2020-21 season, the Hawks elevated Morris to defensive coordinator. The 0-5 start resulted in club owner Arthur Blank firing coach Dan Quinn and raising Morris to the interim role. Morris is interviewed to replace Quinn, but Plank hires Arthur Smith.
McVeigh had a huge gap to fill for the Rams for the 2020-21 season after defensive coordinator Brandon Staley was appointed by the Los Angeles Chargers as their head coach. In Morris’ first season with the Rams, the defense gave up an average of 103.2 streaming yards to sixth in the NFL. There was also the support Morris gave McVeigh during November and the defense role in the Rams’ Super Bowl victory. So overall, Morris could not have had a better appearance.
During the Rams’ long playoff last season, Morris went deep into the process to fill the vacant Minnesota Vikings coaching position. He interviewed twice for the position, but the Vikings eventually chose another coach from the Rams: offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell.
Morris is no longer a new, rising face in the NFL coaching ranks. He’s one of the best performers in business in every aspect of the job, yet he’s still trying to get a second chance at the top of the ladder.
Although Morris says he’s not frustrated when other former coaches receive second chances while he continues to wait for one, “because I enjoy what I’m doing so much now,” he also explains, “There’s no doubt he wants to be a head coach again.”
“Do I love being in a leadership position? Do I envy what Sean has here, from the perspective of who he works with in senior management and in ownership?” said Morris. no doubt. Do I envy who he works with, as far as some of our coaching staff and as much as some of the players we have? surely.
“But I look at everything and try to use these examples to get better and be more prepared for the next opportunity. There is no doubt about that either.”
On a subtle level, Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, is involved in every aspect of the league’s efforts to promote overall staffing from front office to field. In the next hiring cycle, Morris’ name should be on the shortlists of all franchisees looking for new master trainers.
“Coach Maurice is among the elite,” Vincent wrote to Andscape in a text message. “He has a coaching perspective from the offensive and defensive side of the ball. He has served as interim head coach, a two-time Super Bowl champion, who knows his body for his work, and has tremendous knowledge of football. He is a game manager who extracts the best talent available, whether they are superstars or underrated. They hold their position. We’ve seen Sean McVeigh’s coordinators become head coaches. Raheem Morris should be no exception.”
In the NFL today, there is no greater kingmaker than McVay.
Beginning only his sixth season as head coach, McVeigh led the Rams to four post-season games, three NFC West titles, two NFC Championships and one Super Bowl win. Currently, he is second to none in helping Assistant Coaches rise to the ranks of Head Coaches. Four of his former followers have moved on to run their own stores: LaFleur (Packers), O’Connell (Vikings), Staley (Chargers), and Zac Taylor (Bengals).
Rod Graves, CEO of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, which advises the NFL on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, strongly believes that Morris should be McVeigh’s next assistant to move up.
“Morris is one of the best coaches in the NFL,” Graves wrote to Andscape in a text message. “Few coaches are more skilled and attractive. He has been a major factor in the success of any team he has been a part of.”
Although McVeigh is counting on Morris this season to help keep the Rams in terror, he’s also determined to help his friend make a comeback. If any of the team owners still have questions about Morris, they should just reach out to McVay.
Gladly, he’ll stop and talk.
“There’s nothing better in it,” McVeigh said. “He’s just one of the best coaches I’ve ever had.”