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Dallas Cowboys Hire Kris Richard as Passing Game Coordinator, Replacing Eberflus

Sean Martin

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Cowboys Interview Kris Richard for Spot on Coaching Staff, Where Does He Fit?

Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli is nearing the end of his career, just as his defense appears to be building towards something special. In 2017, the Cowboys completely turned over their secondary with positive results, and saw DeMarcus Lawrence record 14.5 sacks. In need of bright coaching minds to further develop this defense, the Cowboys have hired former Seattle Seahawks Defensive Coordinator Kris Richard as their passing game coordinator.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

Former Seahawks' DC Kris Richard is being hired as the Cowboys' Passing Game Coordinator, as @TheGeeScott reported.

Richard has been in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks since 2010, serving as their DC from 2015-2017. Richard's defense forced four turnovers and held Peyton Manning's Broncos to 306 yards in a decisive 43-8 win in Super Bowl XLVIII. He is now the Cowboys' replacement for Matt Eberflus, who passed on a promotion to the Cowboys DC position to join Josh McDaniels and the Indianapolis Colts.

Eberflus' departure for Indianapolis was viewed around the organization as an overdue change of scenery, as landing the coordinator job with Marinelli still in place does little to actually "promote" Eberflus.

Cowboys' Rookies To Begin Training Camp Wednesday At The Star

Dallas Cowboys DC Rod Marinelli, DE Taco Charlton (Matthew Emmons / USA TODAY Sports)

Regarded as a better teacher of front-seven talent than cornerbacks and safeties, Marinelli and Richard should have no such power struggle -- instead forming a dynamic pairing that sets the Cowboys up for success on defense in the present and in the future.

Eberflus was regarded as one of the smartest coaches behind the Cowboys defense, and Kris Richard's accolades warrant a similar level of respect. Richard found himself in a perfect situation in Seattle, getting to coach Pro Bowl secondary players like Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas. The Seahawks' vaunted passing defense also sustained their excellence by getting the most out of third round draft picks like Shaquill Griffin and free agent pickup Byron Maxwell.

The ability to develop talent was clearly on display under Richard in Seattle.

Now, Kris Richard leaves behind an aging defense with the Seahawks to coach the likes of Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown, Xavier Woods, and Byron Jones. Should Richard get the most out of this promising Cowboys secondary, a defensive coordinator position could very well be in his future with Dallas.

In this story from ESPN, Cowboys reporter Todd Archer points out that it was Matt Eberflus in his role as passing game coordinator that installed the team's dime package. This is a defensive scheme in which the Cowboys were arguably at their best through much of 2016 and 2017, scattering the field with defensive backs that can come up and tackle.

Richard deployed a similar scheme with the Seahawks, and has the personnel with the Cowboys to continue coaching his players to both his own strengths, and theirs.

As mentioned, it likely won't be long until the DC spot is available in Dallas. With the right hires beneath Marinelli for 2018, this job could be one of the league's most coveted. Also interviewing John Pagano and Ray Horton recently, the Cowboys could ideally promote from within when the time comes to replace Marinelli.

Todd Archer on Twitter

The Cowboys are scheduled to meet with John Pagano, who ended last season as Oakland's defensive coordinator, and Ray Horton, a longtime defensive backs coach and former Cowboys. https://t.co/BfyWBv4bTo

Like Richard, both Pagano and Horton have held DC jobs in the past. Pagano led the Chargers defense from 2012-2016 before being hired mid-season by the Raiders this year. He has a collective 21 years of NFL coaching experience.

Ray Horton has coached in the NFL since 1994, holding DC positions with three different teams since 2011. Out of a job in 2017, the former Dallas Cowboys defensive back last coordinated the Cleveland Browns defense in 2016.

Few coaches in new positions around the league may have a better chance at impressing their new teams more than Kris Richard in Dallas though. A fantastic hire by the Cowboys, Richard alone turns a defensive staff in desperate need of talent to replace Eberflus and Greg Jackson into one with plenty of potential.

Dallas Cowboys Hire Kris Richard as Passing Game Coordinator, Replacing Eberflus

Dallas Cowboys passing game coordinator Kris Richard with the Seattle Seahawks

For all of the talk about the coaching changes the Cowboys weren't making following a disappointing season, they are finally giving Cowboys Nation something to be excited about with the talent entering The Star -- and we haven't even reached the NFL Draft or free agency yet.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Hire Kris Richard as Passing Game Coordinator, Replacing Eberflus" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Boro Panther, Montclair State Red Hawk, and most importantly a proud member of Cowboys Nation! I host "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and wmscradio.com every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. Twitter: @SeanMartinNFL.

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5 Comments
  • Mr. Jaguar

    An excellent hire. Jerry has the wallet to hire both Pagano and. Horton which would be a coup for the Cowboys, putting the Cowboys defense on the fast track.

    • https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin

      Agreed on both front, Horton would make an excellent LB coach to round out this staff. Thanks for reading!

  • Travis Diggs

    Hopefully this means Earl Thomas or Richard Sherman is right behind him coming to Dallas

    • https://InsideTheStar.com Sean Martin

      I’d take Thomas in a heartbeat (like everyone else would), probably pass on Sherman though. Aging player with an injury history now. Let these second-year players carry you and keep drafting.

  • Flushrock

    Since the Cowboys last appeared in an NFC Championship Game and/or the Super Bowl, the Eagles have been to six NFC Championships and two Super Bowls. 23 Years and 2 PLAYOFF WINS!! HOW BOUT DEM COWBOYS!!
    And We get Garrett back?? Mediocrity at it’s finest!!!

Player News

MRI Negative on Cowboys G Zack Martin’s Knee Injury

Jess Haynie

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Zack Martin

The Dallas Cowboys saw a few guys go down in last night's preseason game, but none scarier than All-Pro guard Zack Martin. Thankfully, they got some good news today on Martin's status.

An MRI of the knee showed no major injury, and that means Zack should be good to go for the team's regular season opener in three weeks.

David Moore on Twitter

Cowboys have received results of Zack Martin's MRI & it's encouraging. Source said there's no significant injury to left knee & he could be ready for opener against Carolina on Sept. 9.

Last week, Dallas lost one of their likely reserve guards when Marcus Martin went on injured reserve after the first preseason game. That leaves just Joe Looney as the only trusted reserve right now for the interior line.

But even though Looney has played well at times when called upon, he's no Zack Martin. In fact, only a couple of guys in the entire NFL can claim to be on that level.

Sprains and other non-major injuries to the knee tend to fall into the 2-4 week range for recovery. Barring complications, Martin should be ready to take on the Panthers' Kawann Short, Dontari Poe, and others.

We're still waiting for updates on other key players who were injured last night, such as Safety Xavier Woods, Running Back Bo Scarbrough, and Defensive Lineman Datone Jones. We'll get those to you as they are announced.

Hopefully, they all get the same good news that Zack Martin did today.



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Player News

Zack Martin, Xavier Woods Suffer Preseason Injuries, Cowboys Down 2 Starters

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys' Eyeing Training Camp To Extend Zack Martin's Contract

Last Saturday night didn't end well for the Dallas Cowboys, who saw multiple players go down throughout the game, most notably Zack Martin and Xavier Woods. Preseason injuries are always the more painful ones, and when we're talking about someone like Martin, it just makes it worse.

Martin suffered a knee injury and was ruled out after going down. ESPN's Todd Archer tweeted out that a source had claimed the injury was a hyper-extended left knee. This surely would be great news considering the fear right now is a season-ending injury.

Todd Archer on Twitter

A source said the initial diagnosis of Zack Martin is a hyperextended left knee, but he will undergo an MRI on Sunday. The Cowboys do not practice again until Monday and play Aug. 26 against the Arizona Cardinals. Depending on the severity of the... https://t.co/1MPbJfQph8

Zack is set to have an MRI on Sunday and the team is hopeful the injury isn't that serious. We probably won't see the All-Pro left guard return in the preseason but could see him back on the field as soon as September 9th when the Cowboys kick their season off at Carolina.

Besides Zack Martin being the best offensive guard in the NFL, the Cowboys' offensive line depth is definitely not good. If his injury proves to be worse than what the front office believes, this offense will have to play without arguably their best player.

As we nervously await more news on Martin's knee, there are more injured players to talk about.

Xavier Woods injured his hamstring as he made an effort to intercept the ball and was also ruled out for the game. We still don't know about the severity, but we do know it's the same hamstring that he dealt with last year.

Although Woods isn't anywhere near Zack Martin as a football player, his injury comes at the team's weakest position in depth. Jeff Heath, Kavon Frazier and Xavier Woods are the Cowboys' only legitimate safeties that will earn a roster spot.

If the hamstring injury is serious enough to keep him sidelined for multiple weeks, we could see the Cowboys getting outside help for the defensive backfield. Whether that means trading for Earl Thomas, some other safety or looking at the free agents available, I don't see the team going into the season with two safeties on the roster.

For now, we need to wait for more results regarding both of these players who will be detrimental to this team's success in 2018. The Cowboys suffered more injuries than these ones, though.

Saad Yousuf on Twitter

And the injuries continue... Jameill Showers is down on the Cowboys sideline with what looks like a knee injury. Still down. Duke Thomas Datone Jones Bo Scarbrough Xavier Woods and the big one, Zack Martin That's the injury list for the Cowboys tonight.

Datone Jones has been impressive during his stay in Dallas and is a quality DT and was ruled out for the game after getting tangled up with the Bengal's offensive line. Seventh-round draft pick Bo Scarbrough suffered a hip injury and is apparently not severe either.

Compared to Woods' and Martin's injuries, these ones won't keep Cowboys' fans up at night. However, hopefully they all turn out to be okay and ready to play as soon as possible. The team's starters make this team a legit threat in the NFC, but when it comes to depth, they're not in a good position.

Tell me what you think about "Zack Martin, Xavier Woods Suffer Preseason Injuries, Cowboys Down 2 Starters" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!



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Game Notes

Sean’s Scout: Starting Front 7 Sets Tone Early, Cowboys Depth Falters in Loss to Bengals

Sean Martin

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Sean's Scout: Starting Front 7 Sets Tone Early, Cowboys Depth Falters in Loss to Bengals
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

The Dallas Cowboys are halfway through their 2018 preseason. Given the injuries they're left to deal with to Zack Martin, Xavier Woods, and Jameill Showers, the Cowboys were happy to see their first home game of the season come to an end when it did. Despite the 21-13 loss, the Cowboys starters made another strong impression before exiting for backups that once again failed to hold the lead.

This is a game I'm looking forward to getting another look at on film, but for now here are a few thoughts the first time through.

  • Rookie Connor Williams is still a work in progress at guard, as he'll get himself in trouble trying to catch rushers too often. 

This "catch blocking" is not uncommon for young offensive linemen, particularly ones learning a new position in preparation to start on the league's best front. On the Cowboys second drive of the game, Williams was caught back in his stance dealing with a twist from the Bengals with Left Tackle Tyron Smith.

The result of the play was an incomplete pass on third down from Dak Prescott. With Williams' footwork being as consistent as it has, I wouldn't worry too much about his upper body technique and strength improving greatly before week one of the regular season. Perhaps most importantly, Williams has looked smooth playing in space, something the Cowboys are prepared to ask the second round pick to do plenty of.

  • With Randy Gregory back in the lineup, the Cowboys potential to have a great rotation of defensive ends was on full display. 

The play that stands out is a tackle for loss by Safety Jeff Heath. On the play, Defensive End Tyrone Crawford did a great job setting the edge against the run, allowing Heath to come down and make the aggressive play.

Crawford created penetration against a tight end, staying disciplined in his rush lane from the right defensive end position to force the run outside.

On the Bengals' offensive series prior to this play by Heath, the Cowboys forced a punt following a missed Andy Dalton throw to A.J. Green. Despite not being tight in coverage on third down, Randy Gregory looked sharp coming off the edge to rush Dalton slightly.

With Taco Charlton also looking strong against the run, and rookie Dorance Armstrong continuing to develop as a weak side pass rusher, the possible match ups the Cowboys can create up front are seemingly endless.

Almost all of them will include last year's sack leader DeMarcus Lawrence, who was also disruptive on nearly every snap in this game.

  • Give credit to Joe Looney for handling the reps he did at center, but the backup interior lineman left a lot to be desired from this position. 

It should come as no surprise that Looney is a better guard than center, or that the Cowboys would look significantly worse at center without Travis Frederick in the lineup.

Overall, this was a disappointing game for the Cowboys thin offensive line depth. Paul Alexander's unit was unable to give quarterbacks Cooper Rush and Mike White a fair chance to settle into the game.

Looney's contact balance was suspect throughout the evening. Not the most powerful player, it's important for Looney to play with leverage and balance, which he did inconsistently last night.

Awaiting news on Zack Martin's first quarter injury still, the Cowboys should have already been concerned about their backups at tackle, with the guard position becoming a late concern now.

  • This is becoming the standard for Jaylon Smith, but I did not see one Bengals blocker effectively slow him down.

The power that Smith is playing with is an outstanding sign for continued success. Not only is Smith physically up for the challenge of starting at MIKE for the Cowboys, but he's physically dominating opponents with strength, speed, and range.

Whether he was running laterally and avoiding blocks with great awareness, or attacking the pocket, Smith's path to the ball was rarely impeded against the Bengals.

No matter who the Cowboys lined up in their front seven, the group did a great job setting a strong tone. Antwaun Woods was once again impressive at the one technique position inside, and Brian Price made a flash play from this position late in the game as well.

Thanks to Smith's gap shooting ability, and the Cowboys willingness so far this preseason to be creative with the Notre Dame product, the team's defensive tackles don't have to be asked to do too much. Holding their spots while drawing blockers will be more than enough to free Smith and the rest of the Cowboys linebackers to make plays.

Sean's Scout: Starting Front 7 Sets Tone Early, Cowboys Depth Falters in Loss to Bengals 1

Dallas Cowboys CBs Byron Jones, Chidobe Awuzie (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

  • Chidobe Awuzie's interception in the second quarter is a reminder of just how high the second-year cornerback's potential is. 

Sure, Awuzie's length put him at an advantage to take a leap into year two once Kris Richard arrived as the Cowboys passing game coordinator.

Being productive on the ball, as Awuzie was here, is a testament to just how athletic he is as a boundary cornerback though. A beat late recognizing the ball coming his way, Awuzie remained in perfect position to get a hand on this pass.

Doing so with an explosive leap off the ground and full extension, Awuzie snagged the ball with one hand before bringing it into his body to secure another turnover for the Cowboys first team defense.

The Cowboys cornerback depth proved suspect beyond Awuzie and Byron Jones in this game, but being as good as they already are on the boundary is a huge step in the right direction for Rod Marinelli's defense.

I also thought that UDFA Tyree Robinson did a great job answering the bell at safety, showing up a number of times in run support with the Cowboys in desperate need of depth at his position.

It's in the slot, where Anthony Brown and Jourdan Lewis continue to feel the pressure of competition, that the Cowboys are struggling to find the right starter - even trying Lewis on the outside well into the fourth quarter of this game.

 ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The Cowboys will remain in their home state to conclude their training camp and preseason. Needing to see more out of their second and third team, practices will resume at The Star on Monday before another preseason game at AT&T Stadium.

This time, it will be the Arizona Cardinals coming in for a Sunday Night Football tune up. The Cowboys starters could very well see even more playing time than they have through the first two weeks, giving them a better chance of sustaining success and coming away with a preseason win.

Tell us what you think about "Sean’s Scout: Starting Front 7 Sets Tone Early, Cowboys Depth Falters in Loss to Bengals" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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