Rams agree to terms with Raheem Morris to become defensive coordinator
The Rams defense finished the season ranked No. 1 in the NFL in several categories. Maintaining that standard will be the challenge for Raheem Morris.
Morris agreed to terms to become the Rams defensive coordinator, the team announced Thursday. He replaces Brandon Staley, who left the Rams after one season to become coach of the Chargers.
The Rams also announced they had agreed to terms with Joe DeCamillis to become special teams coordinator, with John Bonamego remaining on the staff as a senior assistant.
Morris, 44, has coached in the NFL since 2002, when he joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff as a defensive quality control coach. He was the Buccaneers’ head coach from 2009 to 2011, and served as wide receivers coach for the Atlanta Falcons in 2016 to 2018.
This season, Morris’ sixth with the Falcons, he was the defensive coordinator. He became interim head coach when Dan Quinn was fired after an 0-5 start.
Rams coach Sean McVay worked with Morris in Tampa Bay in 2008, and on Washington’s staff from 2012 to 2014.
As the Rams prepare for an offseason and to regroup for another Super Bowl run next season, veteran Andrew Whitworth says Cam Akers is a great piece to lead the team’s future.
“Not only is Raheem a great communicator, he is also an excellent teacher,” McVay said in a statement. “Raheem’s background coaching both offense and defense gives him a unique perspective which allows him to see the field from a 22-man perspective.”
This will be Morris’ fourth stint as a defensive coordinator. He worked one season in the role at Kansas State in 2006, and served as the Buccaneers’ coordinator for part of 2009 season and all of the 2010 and 2011 seasons while he was head coach.
This season, the Falcons ranked 29th in total defense, sixth in rushing defense and last in passing defense. They were 23rd in sacks and 19th in scoring defense.
Morris inherits a Rams defense that features All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald and All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The unit helped the Rams finish 10-6 and advance to the divisional round of the NFC playoffs before losing to the Green Bay Packers.
Under Staley, the Rams ran a hybrid 3-4 scheme that utilized multiple defensive backs. Morris ran a 4-3 defense with the Falcons, so it remains to be seen if he will do the same with the Rams.
Edge rusher Leonard Floyd, who had a career-best 10½ sacks, safety John Johnson and cornerback Troy Hill are among the Rams’ unrestricted free agents. Cornerback Darious Williams is a restricted free agent.
Morris and McVay will have to fill at least one more spot on the defensive staff.
Rams coach Sean McVay was noncommittal about starting quarterback Jared Goff’s future with the team following Saturday’s playoff loss to the Packers.
Joe Barry, the Rams’ linebackers coach and assistant head coach for the last four seasons, joined the Chargers as linebackers coach and defensive passing game coordinator, people with knowledge of the situation said.
Staley also sought to interview Kevin O’Connell, the Rams’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, but McVay declined the request. Coaches can block requests if the assistant is under contract and the move to another staff would be lateral.
DeCamillis, 55, was the Jacksonville Jaguars’ special teams coordinator for the last four seasons under coach Doug Marrone, who was fired and replaced by Urban Meyer. DeCamillis has coached in the NFL since 2008 and has worked for six teams.
“Joe brings a track record of efficient special teams and player development,” McVay said in a statement. “What Joe has been able to do consistently with the punter and kicker positions speaks for itself, and his return teams have been excellent in gaining great field position and explosive runs.”
McVay hired Bonamego, 57, before last season to replace John Fassel, who left to join Mike McCarthy’s Dallas Cowboys staff.
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