Falcons coach Raheem Morris likes how Kirk Cousins has taken charge

1. The no-spin zone: For the first three years of quarterback Kirk Cousins’ NFL career, Raheem Morris had a chance to watch him on a daily basis while he was an assistant coach in Washington.

Fast forward to 2024 and Morris is now his head coach. After a few weeks in the offseason program and organized team activities, Morris has the unique vantage point of comparing young Cousins with the mature 35-year-old Cousins, who’ll be asked to lead the team after signing a four-year contract worth up to $180 million in free agency.

“Really, for him as a teacher is really the exciting part right now,” Morris said. “When he goes out through his progressions and he’s able to throw the ball. He’s able to coach somebody to the left side after he might have let something go to the right. Just on how it should look and how we want it to look. Those small details are what we are seeing right now.”

Morris was Washington’s defensive backs coach, but used to visit the quarterbacks meeting room.

“I (don’t) want to say that he’s the same guy because he’s matured and grown so much,” Morris said. “He’s very similar when it comes to attention to detail and his application to his work ethic and what he’s going to do every single day. So, I’ve still see that. We get a chance to get that back in the building, but I see the confidence now.”

Cousins played with Washington until 2017, before signing with Minnesota. Morris joined the Falcons staff in 2015 under former coach Dan Quinn.

“He is so comfortable in himself and he’s so comfortable being himself that it just really attracts his teammates and his leadership style,” Morris said. “So, I really think the best part for me to see is the maturity, the comfort, the human being and him being the guy. Him being the person that’s able to use his voice. All of those things, really factored in for me.”

2. Pitts likes the scheme: Tight end Kyle Pitts is hoping to have a big season after the team picked up his $10.8 million fifth-year option.

“New offense, a new foundation,” Pitts said. “A new quarterback. A new coaching staff and a new offensive coordinator. It’s just everybody being able to grow and evolve. We’ll see what is to come.”

3. Orhorhoro on the tackles: Rookie defensive tackle Ruke Orhorhoro figures that he can learn different techniques from veterans Grady Jarrett and David Onyemata.

“They both have similar, but different play styles,” Orhorhoro said. “Everybody is different. When you have different body types, you have to play different ways. I’m going to still be my own person, but I’m going to take bits and pieces from them and try to implement them into my game.”

Jarrett turned 31 in April, and Onyemata will turn 32 in November.

“It’s amazing because they are just not regular vets,” Orhorhoro said. “These (are) dudes. We are talking about some real deal dudes. Just having the opportunity to be behind those guys and shadow them would be great so that I can give this play my all.”

4. Clemson connection: Orhorhoro is proud of his time at Clemson and hopes to join cornerback A.J. Terrell and Jarrett as former Tigers on the defense for the Falcons.

“That grit,” Orhoroho said about what he learned at Clemson. “Just that grit. I’m a guy that had to just climb the charts from the bottom up. It taught me perseverance, because at Clemson you do have to persevere.”

Orhorhoro, who was late to the game and has a brief high school career, had to wait his turn at Clemson.

“You are not just about to go out there and play,” Orhorhoro said. “You have got guys like Brian Bresee (and) Tyler Davis, I can name them all day. So, you have to find a way to get on the field with guys like that. Just taught me how to be tought. Taught me how to compete.”

5. Rookie minicamp went well: Orhorhoro thought he had a good showing at the rookie minicamp.

“I feel like I did pretty good,” Orhorhoro said. “Still some stuff to tweak and learn from. I’ve got a great coach in (defensive line coach) Jay Rodgers. I can tell that he’s already dialed in. … He’s very excited.”

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Falcons' second-round draft pick Ruke Orhorhoro took part in rookie minicamp on Friday.

6. The trio: In addition to Orhorhoro, the Falcons drafted defensive lineman Brandon Dorlus and former Georgia Bulldog Zion Logue.

“I met those guys at the (NFL Scouting Combine),” Orhorhoro said. “We were together the whole time in Group 1. So, when I saw them get drafted, I was shoot, it’s a party again. We are here now.”

7. Logue on the locker room: Logue had to pinch himself when he saw his Falcons jersey in his locker.

“When I walked in there and looked at my locker and I saw my number,” Logue said. “I was like dang, I’m actually in the NFL now. I’m just trying to get that aspect out of my head and still remember that it’s just football. It’s a game that I’ve been playing since I was a child. Just go out and give it everything that I have.”

8. Depth chart: Here’s the updated Falcons depth chart as they reached the 90-man roster limit by signing four players after the rookie minicamp:


QB – Kirk Cousins, Taylor Heinicke, Michael Penix, John Paddock

RB – Bijan Robinson, Tyler Allgeier, Avery Williams, Carlos Washington Jr., Jase McClellan

FB – Tucker Fisk, Robert Burns

WR – Drake London, Josh Ali, Austin Mack, Greg Washington, JaQuae Jackson, Dylan Drummond

Slot WR – Rondale Moore, Ray-Ray McCloud

TE – Kyle Pitts, Charlie Woerner, John FitzPatrick, Austin Stogner, Ross Dwelley

LT – Jake Matthews, Tyler Vrabel, Barry Wesley

LG – Matthew Bergeron, John Leglue, Ryan Coll

C – Drew Dalman, Ryan Neuzil, Jovaughn Gwyn

RG – Chris Lindstrom, Kyle Hinton, Nolan Potter

RT – Kaleb McGary, Storm Norton

WR – Darnell Mooney, KhaDarel Hodge, Chris Blair, Isaiah Wooden

DEFENSE 3-4 alignment

DE – Zach Harrison, Kentavius Street, Bradlee Anae, Demone Harris, James Smith-Williams, Brandon Dorlus

NT – David Onyemata, LaCale London, Tommy Togiai, Eddie Goldman, Zion Logue

DT – Grady Jarrett, Kentavius Street, Ta’Quon Graham, Willington Previlon, Ruke Orhorhoro

LOLB – Arnold Ebiketie, Ade Ogundeji, Kehinde Oginni

LILB – Kaden Elliss, Donavan Mutin, Milo Eifler

RILB – Troy Andersen, Nate Landman, JD Bertrand

ROLB – Lorenzo Carter, DeAngelo Malone, Bralen Trice

CB – A.J. Terrell, Antonio Hamilton, Jayden Price, Anthony Sao

Nickel CB – Mike Hughes, Dee Alford, Trey Vaval

FS – Jessie Bates III, Micah Abernathy, Tre Tarpley III

SS – DeMarcco Hellams, Richie Grant, Lukas Denis, Dane Cruikshank

CB – Clark Phillips III, Natrone Brooks, Kevin King


K – Younghoe Koo

P/H – Bradley Pinion, Ryan Sanborn

LS – Liam McCullough

PR – Ray-Ray McCloud or Avery Williams

KOR – Ray-Ray McCloud or Avery Williams

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Falcons’ JD Bertrand on rookie minicamp

9. Draft position by position series:


WIDE RECEIVERS -- Don’t sleep on Washington’s Rome Odunze among talented wide receivers | Top 10 WRs

RUNNING BACKS -- ‘Day two is going to be the running back day,’ an analyst says | Top 10 RBs

TIGHT ENDS -- Ex-Georgia standout Brock Bowers is the top tight end | Top 10 TEs

QUARTERBACKS -- After Caleb Williams, is Jayden Daniels or Drake Maye the next quarterback? | Top 10 QBs

OFFENSIVE LINE -- Mims, Van Pran-Granger could help NFL teams in the trenches | Top 5 C, OG, OTs

DEFENSIVE LINE -- T’Vondre Sweat’s recent arrest will impact his status | Top 5 DTs, DEs

LINEBACKERS -- Dallas Turner likes to hit quarterbacks | Top 10 LBs

CORNERBACKS -- Alabama cornerbacks Arnold, McKinstry ready for next level | Top CBs

SAFETIES --Javon Bullard’s instinctive play style should translate well in NFL | Top 10 safeties

SPECIAL TEAMS -- NFL draft: New kickoff return rules to boost special-teams players | Top 10 special

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