One of the things that definitely made Buccaneers fans go “hmmmm’’ before the start of the 2016 season was the decision the Falcons made to make former Bucs head coach Raheem Morris their wide receivers coach.
As Bucs fans well know, Morris had spent his entire 13-year NFL coaching career working on the other side of the ball, first as a defensive assistant, then as a defensive backs coach and finally as a coordinator before becoming a head coach.
Well, just look at Morris now.
When the Falcons beat the living beejeezus out of the Packers 44-21 to win the NFC Championship on Sunday, Morris joined Richard Williamson and Tony Dungy as the third former Bucs head coach to reach the Super Bowl afterwards with another team.
When you consider that, his personality and the responsibility he was given coaching up the Falcons receivers, Morris could become a popular figure with the media in the days leading up to Super Bowl LI.
His story, from hot-shot young assistant to humbled and unemployed former head coach to wide receiver coach is quite a story after all, and you can argue the Falcons might not be in the Super Bowl without his position group.
Julio Jones is widely regarded as the best receiver in football and comes off another massive performance Sunday against the Packers. Jones caught nine passes for 180 yds and two TD’s, including a 73 yard “Beast Mode” catch and run, where he plastered two Green Bay defenders to the turf along the way. And, the Falcons also got productive years from Mohamed Sanu (five catches 52 yards and a TD) and Taylor Gabriel (two receptions for 24 yards) and with their Sunday numbers.
Morris, though, is just one of several former Buccaneers headed back to the Super Bowl, as members of the Falcons. Former Bucs general manager Rich McKay, the architect of the Bucs Super Bowl team, is now the Falcons president and CEO and former front-office executive Ruston Webster, formerly the GM of the Titans, is one of the team’s national scouts.
And those are just the former Bucs working mostly off the field. Former Bucs kicker Matt Bryant and former first-round draft pick Adrian Clayborn (who’s now out with an injury) are part of a Super Bowl, too.
All are good stories, but as we suggested earlier, Morris’s story and how it was that Falcons coach Dan Quinn decided to put him in charge the second most important group of players on his team may be the most interesting.