Georgia on My Mind: New Falcons head coach aiming to emulate Kirby Smart

Raheem Morris can learn a thing or two from how Kirby Smart runs his football team up in Athens.

Raheem Morris, Atlanta Falcons
Raheem Morris, Atlanta Falcons / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

While the Georgia Bulldogs are one of the very best programs in college football, the Atlanta Falcons have not made the NFC playoffs in six years. Despite being around throughout the entire Super Bowl era, the Dirty Birds have only won the NFC twice. They are one of 12 NFL franchises to never hoist the Lombardi. In fact, the Falcons are the oldest team in the four big sports leagues to never win a title.

Now that he is back in Flowery Branch, new Falcons head coach Raheem Morris wants to change that. He was there for 28-3 very early in his tenure on Dan Quinn's Atlanta staff. He took over for the ineffective head coach after an 0-5 start in 2020. While going 4-7 in the final 11 games of the season was certainly commendable, it was not enough to get the gig full-time. Morris had to wait until 2024...

While at the NFL Scouting Combine, Morris mentioned that he is certainly jealous of Kirby Smart.

“Jealously is my relationship with Kirby Smart. Let’s go win some championships like that guy. They’ve done nothing but formulate a great program.”

There is nothing wrong with this, as many coaches would love to have the successes of Coach Smart.

“Again, it starts with the people. Just watching him win championships, it’s been fun to see. Fun to see the acquisition of great talent coming out of Georgia.”

The best thing to come out of these quotes from Morris is that he does not want to lead mediocre.

Raheem Morris to emulate Kirby Smart's Georgia program with Falcons

As a die-hard fan of both of these teams, a Falcons fan since 1998 and a Dawgs fan since fall semester of my freshman year at the University of Georgia in 2008, it is simply beyond me how little crossover exists between both of these teams. While there is downside to drafting from the college program of note down the street, Georgia knows what it is doing, while the Falcons mostly have not.

Even though Smart and Quinn both served under Nick Saban in Miami, there wasn't always the best relationship between these two teams. It improved a good bit under the previous regime, but to think you can't learn anything from a college football power in-state is kind of pathetic. There is a reason why the two most loved teams in Georgia are the Atlanta Braves and the Dawgs, and not the Falcons.

They win, and win prolifically. While Arthur Blank is one of the most well-known and respected owners in the NFL, there is always a disconnect between what made him successful in building The Home Depot and why his Falcons underperform. It was Rich McKay, but now that he is doing very important AMB soccer things, maybe Blank can do what is necessary to give Morris his best shot at success?

Overall, I really appreciate Morris' candidness at the podium since taking over for Arthur Smith. He said quarterback play in Atlanta was not good enough over the last few years. Now he just pointed out the elephant in the room. This is a Georgia state, and the Falcons have to earn its keep by playing better football. Once again, this is yet another reason Morris is going to get it right this time around.

As long as he empowers his staff and drafts well alongside Terry Fontenot, Morris can be great, too.

Next. Georgia NFL alumni. 10 best University of Georgia alumni in NFL history. dark