Even though he’s barely been in Washington a month, Redskins defensive backs coach Raheem Morris has already proven that he’s a man of his word.
Appearing this morning on the AM 620 “Sports Animal” morning show out of Tampa, he explained how his coaching interests started and ended in Washington this offseason:
It was a no-brainer decision. I had a couple places that I could go, but those places didn’t fit as well for me. Obviously Washington offered me first and I gave them my commitment, and once I gave them my commitment–all you have in this game is your word and your tape, and I had to go with my word.
Morris initially left Washington to interview elsewhere for a defensive coordinator position, but elected to come back to a situation with the Redskins where he felt “as comfortable as you can feel”:
I didn’t really feel comfortable leaving them after I gave them my word, and they moved their staff around and finding a place to fit me in.
This is already a great staff, when you talk about a guy like Coach Haslett, when you talk about Coach Slowik, and when you talk about a guy like Jake Burney on defense. They finished last year in the Top-10, Top-11 on defense, and they’ve been doing it for the last couple of years on defense.
It was just a blessing for me to come out here and get with a new system, to learn something, sit back and have an opportunity to be my best self.
While the fundamentals will be the same, the Haslett defense will be a difference from the traditional Tampa 2 that Morris was accustomed to with the Bucs. In Washington, Morris will need to master the ins and outs of the 3-4 defense, which uses both zone and man-to-man.
From there, the conversation with the radio hosts turned to Morris’s strengths as a head coach, and where he will find success next. It was mentioned that many great coaches had rough starts to their careers before finding success elsewhere, including Belichick in Cleveland, Shula in Baltimore, and even Shanahan in Oakland.
Morris sounded flattered by the comparisons, but let it be known that he didn’t come to Washington in search of his next head coaching job:
We’ve been talking about the schemes and the things we wanna do. We’ve been talking about the future plans for guys like DeAngelo Hall, and what he can do for us and how much better we can make him.
I look forward to it, it’s another challenge for me, it’s another challenge for us to go out there and win a championship, and I can’t wait to get involved.
I am the defensive backs coach of the Washington Redskins, and it is my job to make these guys great.
Like many of the people brought in during the Shanahan administration, Morris has an audible chip on his shoulder and a desire to prove his doubters wrong. Even as he settles into the new defensive scheme, look for Morris to provide a lift to the Redskins secondary.