ASHBURN, Va. (CBSDC) — If you ask DeAngelo Hall, Brandon Meriweather, Tanard Jackson and others, Raheem Morris is the only man who can coach the self-anointed band of misfits that make up the Washington Redskins secondary.
Morris sat down for an exclusive one-on-one interview with 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen on Monday — just a few days prior to making his preseason coaching debut as an assistant on Mike Shanahan’s squad.
For Morris it feels like home. He’s grateful to be surrounded by familiar faces following a frustrating finish to his stint as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Morris has ties to the Shanahans as well as General Manager Bruce Allen from his time in Florida.
Perhaps it’s that familiarity that enabled him to immediately get to work and solidify what was a weak link on last year’s vastly improved defense.
The 28-year-old Hall received some criticism last season after his interception total was half of what it was in 2010. However, Morris was unconcerned with the numbers.
As the former Bucs coach sees it, Hall was still very much an active player. Confirming his suspicions, Hall registered just five fewer tackles last season (90) compared to the year prior.
“You’re talking about putting a guy in a nickel. You’re talking about a physical football player — a guy who you feel is dynamic enough that can blitz, that can play the run, that can play the pass, that can line up on any slot receiver and do different things for you,” Morris gushed. “He has the ability to play dime because he is so smart and knows the system. He can do anything we want to do inside.”
Morris says it’s that versatility that will enable Hall and Josh Wilson to create ideal matchups on a weekly basis.
Morris is also high on offseason acquisition Brandon Meriweather.
The former standout with the New England Patriots failed live up to expectations with the Chicago Bears. Meriweather said it was a bad fit for him in Chicago, but Washington has more of a New England feel to it.
Morris said he’s not willing to give him that excuse, but has been impressed with his work ethic thus far in Ashburn.