Ex-NFL star Matt Ryan: Falcons need to 'solidify the quarterback position,' Raheem Morris good hire

Former Atlanta Falcons star Matt Ryan said he wasn’t surprised the team decided to choose Raheem Morris as its next head coach and believes the team is just a quarterback away from reaching its potential.

Morris won the job over Bill Belichick, who was interviewed twice for the job. Morris served as the interim coach for the Falcons in 2019 before Arthur Smith was hired. He then served as the Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator from 2021 to 2023 before coming back to Atlanta.

Ryan, who talked to Fox News Digital in Las Vegas on behalf of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, had nothing but good things to say about Morris, especially from the time when the quarterback was with Atlanta.


Kyle Pitts (8) of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates a touchdown with Cordarrelle Patterson against the Indianapolis Colts at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Dec. 24, 2023. (Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

“I think there was consideration to what Bill could bring to the organization. But I’m not surprised that Raheem ended up back there. He was with us in Atlanta for six years. I always thought he was so good. He had coached all these different positions. He came in for us on the defensive side of the ball and switched to offense, came back to defense and became the interim head coach. So, I saw him in all of these different capacities. He was a guy that could coach anybody. He just knows how to get the best of the players.

Ryan said Morris also has an advantage in knowing the organization from his past experience with the Falcons.

“He also understands the organization,” the one-time MVP said. “Knows the inner-workings of the organization, which I think is helpful. He’s got a great relationship with Arthur Blank. I think he’s a good fit in Atlanta. I really believe that. I think that’s a good football team down there that needs to solidify the quarterback position, which I think they’ll do this offseason, and I’m rooting for them.”

The next step is the hardest part: trying to unlock the potential of their young players.

Kyle Pitts vs Bucs

Kyle Pitts of the Atlanta Falcons scores a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Dec. 10, 2023. (Alex Slitz/Getty Images)


The Falcons have budding stars on the offense with Bijan Robinson, Kyle Pitts and Drake London. But they have switched quarterbacks from Marcus Mariota to Desmond Ridder to Taylor Heinicke.

Ryan said the staff that Morris builds will be key. The team has named Zac Robinson its offensive coordinator.

“I think on the offensive side of the ball, you talk about the playmakers that they have on the outside: Drake London, Kyle Pitts, Bijan Robinson in the backfield,” Ryan said. “A really good offensive line, an offensive line that played well this past year. I think it comes down to the staff he’s putting together and what Zac Robinson can do with those guys on the offensive side of the ball.

“I know Raheem is fired up about Zac, and he has said multiple times he reminds him of a young Kyle Shanahan, and Raheem was around Kyle during his time in Washington and knows what it looks like. He’s really close with Kyle. He’s got a good understanding of what that process should look like. He feels confident in Zac. Again, I think it comes down to finding the guy who can distribute the ball and make it happen with all those guys.”

Drake London and the Falcons

Drake London of the Atlanta Falcons, center, celebrates with teammates during the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Dec. 3, 2023. (Al Pereira/Getty Images)


Atlanta has been 7-10 for the last three seasons. The Falcons narrowly missed a playoff berth in 2023.

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