Cover 9@9: Adam Schefter likes Falcons’ hires of Morris, signing of Cousins

Atlanta Falcons new head football coach Raheem Morris speaks to members of the media during his introductory press conference at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Monday, February 5, 2024, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz /



Atlanta Falcons new head football coach Raheem Morris speaks to members of the media during his introductory press conference at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Monday, February 5, 2024, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz /

1. The no-spin zone: ESPN analyst Adam Schefter came on The Bow Tie Chronicles podcast to discuss some football and spread the word about folks getting screened for Type 1 diabetes, that his wife, Sharri, suffers from.

“It can’t be prevented,” Schefter said. “It can’t be cured, but it can be detected. So, the idea here is to be ahead of the game to have that information and to meet with your doctor to go get those blood tests. And obviously, again, just one more time you go and get more information at the one”

Here’s what Schefter had to say:

2. ON THE DRAFT: “Well, I always like to say there are a few things that are really interesting about it. No. 1, it’s the moment when teams get to put their cards on the table, and we get to find out what every team really thinks and really believes, right? We hear a lot of noise, a lot of speculation about what teams are thinking they might do about what people think they might do. But on that particular weekend that Thursday, Friday, Saturday, oh, they like this player or that player or they don’t believe as much in this player where they want to move back in the draft, whatever it may be. ...

“It’s a chance for the (players) to go make a name for themselves in a new franchise or a new city with a new franchise and to take the next steps that they have to take to become a great NFL player. Some will do it, some won’t. But everybody will have that opportunity. And if you’re drafted, that means that somebody believed in you, and it’s your chance to go reward them for the belief that they had in you.”

2A. ON THE QB CLASS AND J.J. McCarthy: “Well, last year, I believe Georgia had 15 players drafted and this year, Michigan sent 18 players to the (NFL Scouting Combine) no school, with all due respect to Georgia, ever had said that many players to the combine. And I would think that all 18 players will get drafted.

“So, Michigan will have three more players drafted and the great Georgia teams in the last couple of years did last year. Right. And that speaks to how much talent Michigan has had, how much talent it’s produced.

“J.J. McCarthy will be the first Michigan player picked in this draft. The question is how high he’s going to go. It sounds like his ceiling could be anywhere from say three to his floor being maybe 12 or 13. But he’s going to go somewhere between picks three and 13, we believe. The question is where, and I think he’s already risen up to an area where he is in a spot that is really, his stock is very high right now. And let’s just see how high it is on draft night.”

2C. ON JAYDEN DANIELS GOING NO. 2 OVERALL: “You know what I think? Everybody’s got their own preference of how the quarterbacks rank. We’re going to find that out on draft night. If I was going to handicap it today, to me, I think that Jayden Daniels will wind up going No. 2. That’s just the way I feel better right now.

“We’ll see if anything changes between now and then certainly things can. I handicap Jayden Daniels at two right now. And then the question is New England at three, do they do Drake Maye or do they do J,J. McCarthy or does some team that make a big bold move up to go trade for one of the quarterbacks ... (that’s) part of the great intrigue of draft night.

“We all reserve the right to change your mind. I would handicap Jayden two and Drake Maye three, but let’s see if J.J. can somehow unseat one of these guys.”

3. KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR CHOP ROBINSON: “I remember being at the combine in February, and I remember being with the general manager, and that general manager told me he said, don’t be surprised … this is what he said in February, if Chop Robinson goes ahead of Dallas Turner. Now, I find that hard to believe today. I don’t know that that’s going to happen, but I’m just telling you that there are people out there that felt that that Chop Robinson had a chance to go ahead of Dallas Turner. Now, we’ll see. I, if I had to bet, I would say Dallas Turner is going to go ahead of Chop Robinson. But I just say that to point out that there are Chop Robinson fans out there, and he probably will go a little bit higher than people think.”

4. ON RAHEEM MORRIS: “Well, it’s amazing to me how popular Raheem Morris is. And he is so charismatic. I had a chance to sit with him at the owners meetings, and when we got done after a 15-or-so-minute interview, I said to him and I really meant this, I think he missed his calling by going to become a coach. He could have gone into television and become an analyst and been great at that because he’s just got a way of words. You got a way about him. He’s a really charming guy. I mean, the Falcons posted that video of his first team meeting, and you can see how he had the room captivated. There were so many people that supported him and believed in him and we’re pulling for him. It’s hard not to root for Raheem Morris to succeed in Atlanta. I think that he’s got a chance to be a great head coach.

“When he became a head coach in Tampa, I remember the Buccaneers telling me that they had what they thought at that time, was a great young coach. They were hiring him a little bit before he was ready. I think that was the issue. He just probably wasn’t ready. He needed a little bit more seasoning, needed to be exposed to a few more things. And now that he’s gotten that experience, I think he’s got the chance to be a really effective NFL head coach.”

5A. ON SIGNING OF KIRK COUSINS: “Love it. Love it. I don’t think you could put a price on a top-10 quarterback that you can just go get basically without having to give up compensation to another team. Did they pay a lot of money? Absolutely. Is it costly? Yes. Does it hurt their salary cap? Yes. Again, that’s the price you have to pay to get a top quarterback and that you don’t have to give up any draft-pick compensation involved. Just think about what Denver gave up to get Russell Wilson. Just think about what some of these teams have given up to trade up like Carolina to go get Bryce Young. Just think about some of these moves that these teams make for quarterbacks. All Atlanta had to do was write a check and it was a big check. But that’s all the Falcons had to do.

“And Kirk Cousins to me, when he’s healthy, is a top-10 quarterback. ... So, you get a quarterback who’s really good. Get a coach who people believe in and are pulling for and those are the types of combinations that you want and you need to have a chance to succeed in this league.”

5B. ON ARTHUR SMITH FITTING IN AS OC IN PITTSBURGH: “Well, I see him fitting in as well as the starting quarterback plays. If the starting quarterback plays really well in Pittsburgh, and we do think it’ll be Russell to start the season, then Arthur will do great. If they struggle, and Russell doesn’t play as well as they want and Justin Fields isn’t the answer, then Arthur is going to struggle, right.

“I think Arthur Smith is a great coach. He’s got a very imaginative mind, but you still need a quarterback to execute your offense. If you don’t have that, then your abilities to succeed as a coach are going to be compromised. And if the quarterbacks play well then you’re going to do great as a coach or as an offensive coordinator in this particular case. By the way, if he does well as an offensive coordinator, they’ll probably get a chance to be a head coach again like Raheem Morris.”

Sports media figure Adam Schefter attends the Annual Charity Day Hosted By Cantor Fitzgerald And BGC at the Cantor Fitzgerald Office on Sept. 11, 2013, in New York. (Mike McGregor/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald/TNS)

Credit: TNS

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Credit: TNS

5C. ON IF THE SIGNING OF KIRK COUSINS TILTED THE BALANCE IN THE NFC SOUTH IN FAVOR OF THE FALCONS: “You know, here’s what I would say. I think the Buccaneers have been better than people realized. If you look back over recent years, they have one of the (best) winning records in the National Football League, and people don’t give them the credit they deserve. Saying all that, I love what Atlanta did. I think Atlanta becomes the favorite right now to win that division. Will I be surprised if Tampa wins, no. But Atlanta did everything it could to give the Falcons the best chance to be competitive in the NFC South and to have the kind of seasons that Falcons’ fans want. So, I’m in awe of what the Falcons have done. But the Buccaneers have had a sustained record in recent seasons of succeeding.”

5D. A LEAGUE, B LEAGUE. IF THE FALCONS HAVE A CHANCE TO MOVE UP TO THE A LEAGUE IN THE NFL: “Yeah, I think they absolutely do. Now, it’s going to take staying healthy. It’s going to take some breaks along the way, but I think they have a real chance to win the division. I think they have a real chance of snapping that streak of six straight losing seasons. I think they have a real chance to make the jump from B to A, in your words, and in the phrase of your source. ... Look, if I could buy stock in a team this season, I’m buying the Falcons.

“You know what else, when the NFL schedule comes out in May next month, I’ll bet you the league is buying stock in the Falcons. Watch how many times they were in prime-time games or an afternoon slots. I’ll bet you the Falcons have played an awful lot of one o’clock games the last six years, right? I’ll bet you this year there are going to be some four o’clock games, some night games. Some Monday night games. They’re going to be sprinkled across the schedule like I don’t remember as part of the Monday night crew making a trip to Atlanta in any time in the last six years. I’ll bet you this year there’s a Monday night game in Atlanta at the very least and maybe a couple of them.”

5E. MORE ON THE ONE PLEDGE : “Thank you very much for having me. Thank you for allowing me to spread the message about the one pledge movement and again, one more time for the people. It’s the one They can go there and get the information.”

6. Tampering case: The review of the Falcons’ case of tampering in the signing of quarterback Kirk Cousins is ongoing.

As of Monday afternoon, there was no update and no timeline for the review had been set, according to the NFL office.

Last season’s tampering case between the Eagles and Cardinals was settled before the start of the 2023 draft. The current draft is set to start April 25.

In 2023, the Eagles accused the Cardinals of tampering with defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. The Cardinals eventually hired him as their head coach. The two teams agreed to a settlement that called for the Eagles to trade the No. 94 pick in the 2023 draft and a 2024 fifth-round pick for the 66th pick in 2023 before the start of the draft.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank, in his first comments to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution since the signing of Cousins, denied that the team tampered in violation of league rules recently at the league meetings in Orlando.

“The tampering deal, we obviously don’t believe we tampered,” Blank said. “We shared all of the information with the league. They’ll review the process and the facts. They are in the middle of doing that. Whatever the result is, we’ll deal with it.”

The Falcons signed Cousins to a four-year contract worth up to $180 million March 13. The NFL is reviewing the signing for possible tampering violations.

The Falcons initially issued a statement that said, “Due to the NFL’s review, we are unable to provide information or have additional comment.”

Blank was the first team official to comment on the matter.

The Falcons were eager to sign the veteran quarterback after not making the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year. He is slated to replace Desmond Ridder.

The Eagles are also being investigated for alleged tampering in the signing of running back Saquon Barkley. They have also denied any violations.

Tampering violations are considered serious by the league.

The Chiefs, for tampering with wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, were stripped of their third-round pick in 2016, their sixth-round pick in 2017 and fined $250,000. Chiefs coach Andy Reid was also fined $50,000 and then general manager John Dorsey fined $25,000.

The Chiefs were cited for “improper contact” before the start of free agency. Maclin played in Philadelphia for Reid before signing a five-year, $55 million deal with the Chiefs.

Minnesota did not file a complaint against the Falcons.

During Cousins’ introductory press conference March 13, he seem to intimate that he spoke with the team’s athletic trainer and the head of public relations before signing with the club. He also discussed talking with team executive Ryan Pace and then admitted to helping to recruit wide receiver Darnell Mooney from the Bears.

Also, there was matter of tight end Kyle Pitts helping to recruit Cousins to the Falcons and if he was directed by team officials.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins answers questions during his introductory press conference at the Falcons practice facility in Flowery Branch on Wednesday, March 13, 2024.
Miguel Martinez/

Credit: Miguel Martinez

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Credit: Miguel Martinez

7. Offseason dates: The NFL released the dates for the Falcons’ voluntary offseason workout programs Friday.

The offseason program started Tuesday.

The Falcons can have two minicamps because they have a new coach in Raheem Morris.

The voluntary minicamp is April 22-24, right before the NFL draft, which is set for April 25-27.

The team’s OTAs dates: May 13-14, May 16, May 20-21, May 23, June 3-4 and June 6.

The mandatory minicamp is set for June 10-12.

The dates are subject to change at the discretion of the Falcons.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

The quarterback is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft in April.

8. Position by position series: The AJC’s 2024 position-by-position series is set to start on Wednesday. Here’s a look back at last season’s 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


SAFETIES -- Friday.

SPECIAL TEAMS -- Saturday.


WIDE RECEIVERS Past few drafts have spoiled NFL teams looking for wide receivers | Top 10 WRs

RUNNING BACKS Running backs Bijan Robinson, Jahmyr Gibbs may have to wait to hear their names called | Top 10 RBs

TIGHT ENDS Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer heads a dee TE class | Top 10 TEs

QUARTERBACKS Bryce Young’s small stature no longer an issue in the NFL | Top 10 QBs

OFFENSIVE LINESkoronski’s short arm length being scrutinized for left tackle | Top 5 C,G, &OTs

DEFENSIVE LINE Is Jalen Carter the real deal or a potential bust? | Top 5 DTs, DEs

LINEBACKERS Dutchtown’s Will Anderson expected to go in the top 5 of NFL draft | Top LBs

CORNERBACKS Former Georgia standout Kelee Ringo one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL draft | Top CBs

SAFETIES Alabama’s Brian Branch, Jordan Battle are top safeties in the NFL draft | Top FS/SS

SPECIAL TEAMS Michigan’s Jake Moody hopes to kick way to NFL draft | Top STs

9. Offseason depth chart: Here’s the offseason depth chart heading into the draft.


QB – Kirk Cousins, Taylor Heinicke

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

FB – Tucker Fisk, Robert Burns

WR – Drake London, Josh Ali, Austin Mack

Slot WR – Rondale Moore, Ray-Ray McCloud

TE – Kyle Pitts, Charlie Woerner, John FitzPatrick

LT – Jake Matthews, Tyler Vrabel, Barry Wesley

LG – Matthew Bergeron, John Leglue

C – Drew Dalman, Ryan Neuzil, Jovaughn Gwyn

RG – Chris Lindstrom, Kyle Hinton

RT – Kaleb McGary, Storm Norton, Ryan Swoboda

WR – Darnell Mooney, KhaDarel Hodge, Chris Blair

DEFENSE 3-4 alignment

DE – Zach Harrison, Kentavius Street, Demone Harris, James Smith-Williams

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

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

LOLB – Arnold Ebiketie, Ade Ogundeji

LILB – Kaden Elliss, Donavan Mutin, Milo Eifler

RILB – Troy Andersen, Nate Landman

ROLB – Lorenzo Carter, DeAngelo Malone

CB – A.J. Terrell, Antonio Hamilton

Nickel CB – Mike Hughes, Dee Alford

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

SS – DeMarcco Hellams, Richie Grant, Lukas Denis

CB – Clark Phillips III, Natrone Brooks, Kevin King


K – Younghoe Koo

P/H – Bradley Pinion

LS – Liam McCullough

PR – Ray-Ray McCloud or Avery Williams

KOR – Ray-Ray McCloud or Avery Williams

The Bow Tie Chronicles