New secondary coach livens up the practices
ASHBURN -- He needles everyone, pricking the competitive desires of anyone in his path. Or, better yet, on the other side. So if the defense tops the offense in a drill, Raheem Morris lets the offensive coaches know. Then he'll probably remind them once more.
And if one of his players messes up, Morris lets him -- and anyone else in the vicinity -- know he disapproved. Of course, he also shouts out his approval if they do well.
The bottom line: Morris' presence is felt no matter what happens. What impact he'll have in terms of strategy is uncertain, but the new secondary coach certainly will be heard.
"I'm a very opinionated person," he said.
And a loud one. But that hasn't caused any harsh feelings. On the contrary, others say Morris' vocal chords liven up practices. Even at the Senior Bowl he found time to tweak his fellow Redskins assistants.
"Yeah, he gets on my nerves a little bit," offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said, laughing.
The two worked together in Tampa Bay.
"He's one of my boys," Shanahan said. "He's funny. We go back and forth, and he's a little louder out there than myself, but I'm very used to it. I think it's fun. It adds competition. It makes us enjoy practice a little bit more, and not to mention he's as good a coach as I've been around."
Morris replaced Bob Slowik as the secondary coach. Slowik now coaches the linebackers. It's a drastic change because of Morris' personality.
"I love Slow to death," corner DeAngelo Hall said. "I still talk to him and pick his brain. But Raheem sees it from our perspective a little better than Slow did. Slow saw it as a football coach. Raheem sees it as a player.
"He's over there yapping it up so I can sit back and play football. I can let Raheem do all the talking."
One thing Morris, 35, didn't have to do: Talk himself back into coaching this season. That was a no-brainer after getting fired following three years as Tampa Bay's coach.
"Don't want to do years off in coaching," he said. "I enjoy what I do way too much, having that ability to come out here and teach younger guys and teach guys to come together as a unit. ... Coaching is coaching. There's 32 people that do what I do in the world. That's it."
Maybe that explains his enthusiasm on the field. It's not just about needling others, either. He'll ping a defensive back when he messes up a play -- he colorfully rode second-year DeJon Gomes for a botched coverage against a tight end. He'll shout praise when it's deserved, too, as he did with Madieu Williams earlier this week for a pass breakup.
"I had Raheem in the Senior Bowl and he was crazy then," corner Josh Wilson said. "He's hyped, but he gets you better."
That's the point, Morris said.
"We enjoy ourselves," Morris said. "To create that competitive environment, it's like going out and playing a pickup basketball game sometimes. In fact, you get a chance to talk a little trash to each other and go out there and really have fun while you get your job done. It keeps people alive. It keeps people coming back to work. These guys have bought right in. It's been a lot of fun."