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Faith In Kris Richard Includes Play-Calling


FRISCO, Texas – Kris Richard has spent a little extra time with offensive coordinator Scott Linehan this week discussing his old team's defensive personnel.

Richard, the Cowboys' new defensive backs coach, held the same title in Seattle during the Seahawks' run two consecutive Super Bowls (2012-14) and spent the past three seasons as their defensive coordinator (2015-17). Seattle's famous "Legion of Boom" secondary blossomed on his watch.

"He's got a great grasp of what they're doing on defense and their personnel and kind of how they look at us," Linehan said.

That's important knowledge heading into Sunday's matchup at Seattle. But the Cowboys have shown a lot of faith in Richard as a defensive assistant since he joined the staff this past offseason.

That includes helping Rod Marinelli call the defense on game day.

Marinelli, the Cowboys' veteran defensive coordinator, says he passes some of those duties to Richard based on their discussion and preparation during the week.

Former assistant Matt Eberflus did the same thing for Marinelli in past years before taking the Indianapolis Colts' defensive coordinator job last offseason. But Marinelli says he has put a little more on Richard's plate this year.

"Yeah, a little bit more here and there," Marinelli said. "But we just have a feel as we go through the week, especially with the pace and the tempo. It's been good, really good.

"He's got a good feel pressure wise, can we hold up, all those things. The thing I've always believed in, and it's one of our standards here, is it's about the team. Everybody says the word, but the team to me is everything, every decision you make, is how you get the team better. And some of the things he can do, he makes us better."

Richard also holds the title of passing game coordinator, which means he's responsible for ensuring the communication is sound between the secondary and front seven. Through two games, the Cowboys are fourth in total defense (274.0 yards per game) and third in scoring defense (14.5 points per game).

Marinelli quickly grew comfortable working with Richard because they have the same fundamental philosophy on defense. And Richard's influence has led to some timely blitzes in the first two games to prevent double teams on the Cowboys' pass rushers.

"One thing that I like about it is, if you're bringing five (rushers) you're taking chips off guys," Marinelli said.

Richard has also impressed head coach Jason Garrett, the staff and the players with his energy and his ability to teach.

The goal this week is to get a tough road win in his old stadium.

"I don't know if he can be any more intense week in and week out," linebacker Sean Lee said.

"He's been huge for us whether it comes to learning scheme, teaching technique, motivationally. He is an unbelievable football coach."