Browns defensive coordinator candidate Rahim Morris boasts youth and NFL head coach experience, but his 2012 team got torched by many opposing quarterbacks.
Raheem Morris, who might be in charge of the Browns’ defense soon, was the head coach who put the Eric Mangini regime on the road to ruin.
Mangini had kept the Browns’ head coaching job on the strength of four straight wins to close out a 5-11 season in 2009. He had high hopes for 2010 after new quarterback Jake Delhomme sparkled in the preseason, compiling a 110.5 passer rating.
The season opener was at Tampa Bay, whose second-year head coach, Morris, seemed overmatched as a 33-year-old head coach in 2009. Jon Gruden had been fired after posting a 9-7 record in 2008. Morris put up a 3-13 mark in 2009.
In that 2010 opener, Delhomme was sharp early, leading the Browns to a 14-3 lead and operating near midfield with a minute left in the first half. Arguably the biggest play in Mangini’s demise came next. Morris’ defense got pressure on Delhomme, who threw as he was hit and was intercepted by Ronde Barber.
Barber’s long return set up a touchdown that triggered a 17-14 Buccaneers win. It became part of a 1-5 Browns start that rendered wins over New Orleans and New England too little to save Mangini.
It catapulted Morris’ team to a 10-6 season, which was remarkable in that 10 rookies started at one time or another. It was a 2010 Browns rookie, Joe Haden, who got beat for a 33-yard touchdown by Micheal Spurlock that decided the game in the fourth quarter.
The 2013 Browns figure to be attracted by Morris’ deep background in working with defensive backs, seeing him as a help to Haden and safety T.J. Ward. But then, Morris would replace a former NFL defensive back, Dick Jauron, if he becomes the coordinator.
Morris is available because he lost his head coaching job after a 4-12 finish in 2011. His Buccaneers lost their last 10 games by a combined 409-174 score.
Morris was defensive backs coach for Washington in 2011 under coordinator Jim Haslett. The Redskins intercepted Brandon Weeden twice in a 38-21 win at Cleveland last month.
On the flip side, Morris was part of a Redskins pass defense that gave up 281.9 yards a game. Only the Buccaneers (297.4) and Saints (292.6) allowed more.
The Browns have declined to say how involved Michael Lombardi has been in informing their decisions, but for what it’s worth, both Lombardi and Morris are former defensive players at Hofstra.
Multiple reports indicate Morris will be interviewed by the Browns on Friday.