Falcons To Hire Raheem Morris, Richard Smith

FEBRUARY 2, 4:26pm: According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network (Twitter links), Smith will indeed have the defensive coordinator title in Atlanta. The Falcons also plan to hire a secondary coach separate of Morris and a linebackers coach separate of Smith, with the intention of building a big staff like Pete Carroll‘s in Seattle.

JANUARY 26, 1:18pm: While the team has yet to formally announce anything yet, Morris and Smith have both accepted positions with the Falcons, per reports from Mike Jones of the Washington Post (via Twitter) and Mike Klis of the Denver Post. Klis says Smith will have a “senior defensive position” in Atlanta, so it’s still not entirely clear whether he’ll have the DC title.

9:48am: The only team in the NFL without a head coach officially in place is expected to formally install Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn in that role a week from now, and is already moving toward putting together its staff. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter), the Falcons intend to hire Washington secondary coach Raheem Morris and Broncos linebackers coach Richard Smith.

While multiple reports over the weekend indicated that Morris was expected to land with the Falcons, the team’s interest in Smith is new information, and is corroborated by Albert Breer of the NFL Network (all Twitter links). According to Breer, Smith will likely handle the run defense in Atlanta, while Morris will be in charge of the pass defense. Breer adds that Morris’ title is expected to be assistant head coach, which should mean that Smith will be named the club’s defensive coordinator.

With Quinn still focused on preparing Seattle’s defense for this Sunday’s game against the Patriots, neither Morris’ deal nor Smith’s has been finalized yet, but it appears they’ll both join a staff that’s expected to be a “big one in numbers,” per Breer, who notes that Quinn also figures to bring a Seahawks assistant or two with him to Atlanta. We heard on Friday that Seattle defensive backs coach Kris Richard was a good bet to land a defensive coordinator job with either the Falcons or Seahawks, so perhaps with Morris and Smith expected to lead Atlanta’s unit, Seattle will promote Richard to replace Quinn.

Until the Falcons officially name Quinn their new head coach, there will be several moving parts in play here, so we likely won’t get any resolution until next week. Still, it appears that the staff in Atlanta is starting to come together.

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