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Cowboys Nation, Enough With the “Bring Back Kris Richard” Campaign

The Dallas Cowboys have had arguably the NFL’s worst defense in 2020 under new Coordinator Mike Nolan. It’s already been reported that Nolan won’t be back next year and many are suggesting that Dallas bring back former Defensive Backs Coach Kris Richard to take over the job. But despite some fans’ superficial fondness for Richard, there is plenty of evidence that he wouldn’t help the Cowboys progress.

Richard joined Dallas in 2018 as the DB coach after eight seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. He spent the first five years as an assistant and position coach and then took over as defensive coordinator from 2015-2017. He was fired in 2017 after Seattle’s defense fell from its “Legion of Boom” grace and became a liability.

The decline of that Seahawks defense probably had more to do with aging and injured players and some salary cap issues than anything Kris was or wasn’t doing. But still, Seattle decided that Richard wasn’t the man to help build a new Legion.

For whatever reasons Kris didn’t move into a DC position with a new team, either. He ended up with the Cowboys as the defensive backs coach under Rod Marinelli, but with a thought that he would be groomed to take over as coordinator with Marinelli nearing retirement age.

Richard’s presence was felt immediately that offseason thanks to his charismatic personality. His sound bytes and quotes from offseason practices had the fire that Cowboys fans had longed to see from Head Coach Jason Garrett. That contrast created an immediate cult following from part of Cowboys Nation.

But while Kris was good on the mic the on-field impact was more of a mixed bag.

The decision to move Byron Jones back to CB in 2018 was credited to Richard and it certainly was the right decision; Jones went to the Pro Bowl and eventually earned a megadeal from the Miami Dolphins. We also saw nice development from Xavier Woods, a former 6th-round pick, into a starting safety.

At the same time, after encouraging rookie seasons in 2017, neither Chidobe Awuzie or Jourdan Lewis showed progress once Richard arrived. In fact, the stubborn refusal to give Lewis a larger role in the secondary seemed to come from Kris’ dogmatic views about his corners being of a certain size and physical makeup.

Lewis eventually forced his way into a larger role in 2019 with highlight plays in limited opportunities.

Another change in 2019 was Kris Richard taking over the defensive play-calling duties from Marinelli. But despite having many young players in their prime, or at least entering their second and third seasons, the group regressed from 6th to 11th in total defense from the year before.

For the second time, Richard essentially took over a defense and didn’t make it better.

Kris Richard
Former Cowboys DB Coach Kris Richard

Now if you want to make the case that Richard would be an upgrade over Mike Nolan then you won’t get any argument from me. A wax sculpture of Rob Ryan (if you can find that much wax) would probably be an improvement from this 2020 debacle.

But one of the Cowboys’ biggest problems for a long time now has been the lack of adventurous, risk-taking hires with its coaches. That’s been especially true on defense as Ryan, Monte Kiffin, Marinelli, Richard, and now Nolan have all been retreads.

Again, consider Richard’s resume. He may only be 41 but he’s already been fired from one defensive coordinator job and wasn’t even considered for the Cowboys’ opening in 2020. He had to take a demotion back to a DB Coach role with Dallas in 2018, wasn’t hired for a head-coaching role in 2019 despite multiple interviews with other teams, and is currently unemployed after not being offered any HC or DC roles this year.

While he may have helped build the Legion of Boom in Seattle, the bloom seems to be completely off Richard’s rose.

Sure, there are stories of coaches who had early failures but eventually became legends. The greatest example of this is Bill Belichick, who was becoming an NFL laughing stock with the Browns in his early 40s before building a potential G.O.A.T. legacy with New England.

I know I just said Dallas needs to take more risks with its coaching hires, but bringing Kris Richard back in 2020 would be like buying stock in retail clothing stores. There’s just no good reason to think they’re going to come back up.

Richard reminds me a lot of former 49ers’ head coach Mike Singletary; a former player (and Richard wasn’t 1/1000th the player that Singletary was) with a huge personality but not much apparent substance as a coach. Kris could certainly churn out the viral video clips like Singletary did but those aren’t getting the Cowboys back to being a competitive team.

The Dallas Cowboys need a true fresh start on defense. Mike Nolan was a huge mistake with a resume even less inspiring than Richard’s, but you don’t fix that with the “it can’t be worse” mentality. Change can’t just be for the sake of change.

Just see what happened in going from Garrett to Mike McCarthy. Remember when you thought “anyone” could do better than Jason?

There should be many options this offseason when the Cowboys begin looking for Nolan’s replacement. Sure, Kris Richard might be one of them. But Dallas needs to get off the retread treadmill and make a bolder hire with less baggage.

What do you think?

Jess Haynie

Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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  1. I’m sure we all remember saying anybody would be better than Jason Garrett…. And just because the record don’t show it right now it doesn’t mean Mccarthy isn’t better than Garrett!! As a matter of fact, if it wasn’t for Mike Nolan, this team would be sitting in a better position with a better record right now!! Let’s not forget that our offense wasn’t the reason we kept losing games…. That was Mike Nolan and the defense!! I really don’t care what anybody says, I still think Mike Mccarthy is better than Jason Garrett!! Just wait till he gets a full training camp and preseason to do what he didn’t get to do this past offseason, and let’s not forget he had to go through this whole season without all of his starters on the offensive line, and then he had to go through half of the season without his top QB too!! And wait till we get a better defense and defensive coordinator and you’ll see that he’s definitely better than Jason Garrett!! And I really wasn’t a fan of bringing back Kris Richard, but after reading this article, I can see that you have no idea what your talking about when it comes to coaches, so I can truly say, it mite not be that bad of an idea to bring Kris Richard back as the defensive coordinator!! There’s definitely better options out there, but Kris Richard really isn’t that bad either!!

  2. Haha, Cowboys fan seems a little triggered. Just so you know not everyone wanted Garrett to leave. You talk about this offense but it was way better under Garrett and so was the defense. You say wait till we get another defensive coordinator and watch us be better but we could have said the same thing every year about Garretts teams. We also could have said the same thing when it came to injuries because we went through all that with Garrett. Difference is you never heard players talk about coaches not coaching or being prepared. You never saw players give up or not fight all the way through on Garretts team and every season except for one that I can remember we had a chance to win the division all the way up to the end. Regardless of injuries or anything else our players played good enough to reach the pro bowl and Garretts win loss record is second to only Landry himself. You cant say that if it werent for flagrant calls and what seemed like obvious disdain by the league itself to keep the team down that Garrett wouldnt have a superbowl championship himself. This defense and its coaching is a straight reflection of McCarthy because he hand picked these people. At this point he hasnt been nothing but a disappointment and a set back from what we had and what was being put together. As a fan I hope hes able to get ot together but until he proves he can, he will never be the coach Garrett was for this team.

  3. WEll we need to move on from the whole regime Mike McCarthy was a bad move he had Aaron Rodgers for a decade and only 1 win need a fresh start go younger on the coaching let him draft his qb and team great example Green Bay now ….. Look at there record and now the lame excuse not enough time in preseason look at the browns new coach didn’t have a full preseason

  4. Finally after all these years someone with an actual brain talking about what a coach is all about. Garrett’s teams never quit and we’re always right there. He wasn’t flashy but his teams played hard, plus he never had the power or say that mccrappy does. The man wasn’t even allowed to call the plays when it was a prove it season and his stats as an offensive coordinator speak for itself before this year when he was handed a high school team and even they still have a better chance then the cowboys.

  5. I still believe Dallas should’ve hired Lincoln Riley or at least went out and got Urban Meyers. Hey look what happened last time we got a head coach from the college ranks, that turned out pretty good. I do believe we need a defensive coordinator that would teach these guys to actually hit the ball carrier. I’ve always thought you should make opposing offenses fear the thought of having to face you. Take for example the Ravens game, when I believe it was Woods that had a chance to put a really good hit on the quarterback but just put up his hands and kinda pushed him out of bounds. That really made me mad, he has to run up and level him. I think a defense should have a reputation that everytime carry the ball against us you’re going to get hit very hard and its gonna hurt.

  6. News Flash…Garrett’s on the outs apparently with the Gints after 1 lousy season and a qb not deleloping.
    While you can’t blame Garrett with loss of Barkley – you can’t blame McCarthy for loss of Dak. Devastating in both cases.
    But saying Dallas D is porous is an understatement.
    Gints D is pretty good.
    Dallas D has been terrible for 10 years, McCarthy better find someone quick before someone else does.

  7. Starts with the Jones and ends with the Jones….terrible ownership…the championships happened by pure mistake…once Jerry realized how much ego he had, downhill from there…sick and tired…

  8. I still think in my book that Kris Rashard is a good coach. He is young compared to other guys that the Cowboys wanna hire. You need a coach that will get after the guys for not doing there job on the field. When you don’t have the proper player for the position what do you expect… a complete failure. We need some better player on Defense. I don’t get why they say we have the best players but yet you see other team that show more talent than what we have . Maybe try too hard trying to impress the owner Mr. Jones . Let’s go Cowboys always a true fan .

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