Who becomes the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator in 2024 will likely be the most important first decision for new head coach Raheem Morris. But hiring a defensive coordinator will obviously be key too.
That’s especially true with the Falcons needing to replace Ryan Nielsen, who did an admirable job as Atlanta DC in 2023.
But similar to the situation at offensive coordinator, Morris may have an edge in hiring one of the most sought-after defensive coordinators currently on the market — Ejiro Evero.
Morris and Evero crossed paths with the Los Angeles Rams during the 2020 season. Evero served as Rams safeties coach from 2017-20. Then when Morris joined the staff as defensive coordinator in 2021, Evero received a promotion to secondary coach and passing game coordinator.
Evero left the following season to become Denver Broncos defensive coordinator. He’s been part of two bad teams the past two years, but his defenses in Denver and with the Carolina Panthers have played well.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Saturday morning that Evero will receive a second interview for the head coach opening with the Seattle Seahawks. So, there’s still a chance Evero won’t be looking for a defensive coordinator role.
But he’s hardly the only candidate in Seattle, and there’s only two head coach openings remaining.
If the Seahawks choose another candidate over Evero, he will be looking for a defensive coordinator job. Atlanta will be a natural fit because of Evero’s prior experience with Morris.
The Morris-Evero relationship actually dates back to 2007. In his first NFL coaching job, Evero served as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive quality control coach from 2007-09.
Morris was Tampa Bay’s defensive backs coach from 2007-08. Then, he became the Buccaneers head coach in 2009.
Evero’s defenses the past two seasons have finished top 10 in yards allowed. Incredibly, the Panthers finished fourth in yards allowed despite yielding the 29th-most points.
Under Evero, Carolina’s defense was particularly stout against the pass. The Panthers ended 2023 ranked third in passing yards allowed.
Interestingly, the Falcons interviewed Evero twice for their head coach opening. If Evero holds a grudge for not getting the Atlanta head job, perhaps he will go coach elsewhere in 2024.
But his relationship with Morris could trump any grudge. If he’s available, he’s a slam dunk choice for Falcons defensive coordinator.