INDIANAPOLIS –With all due respect to the numerous coaching hires the Cowboys have made this offseason, there's one that's bound to draw more interest than others.
In the case of new secondary coach Kris Richard, that's what happens when you've spent time coaching one of the best defenses in the NFL – not to mention the Legion of Boom.
"If you look back at the last several years and do a statistical analysis of who best defense in the national football league is it all points to that team out in the northwest," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett on Wednesday. "Seattle has played great defense over the course of that time."
Richard comes to Dallas after an eight-year stint with the Seahawks, highlighted by a three-year tenure as defensive coordinator. Starting in 2010 as the Seahawks' defensive backs coach, Richard was there to help draft and develop the trio of Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor and Richard Sherman, which eventually developed into one of the best secondaries in NFL history.
"They have some marquee guys up there. But they always weren't marquee right from the start," Garrett said. "If you think of guys like Sherman and Chancellor, where those guys started and where they were drafted. He was with those guys right from the start and helped their development."
It's not hard to figure out why that would intrigue the Cowboys. This team has spent considerable resources on its secondary in recent seasons.
Byron Jones is entering his fourth season since being drafted 27th overall. Anthony Brown has enjoyed surprising success as a sixth-round pick. Xavier Woods and Kavon Frazier, also sixth-round picks, have shown promise to this point in their young careers.
And then there's the duo of Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, who the Cowboys drafted 60th overall and 92nd overall just last spring.
It wouldn't be fair to compare that group to the Legion of Boom, who have combined for 14 Pro Bowl appearances and 12 All-Pro selections. But it's easy to be optimistic about what Richard might be able to do for a young group of defensive backs.
"If you think about that secondary and the impact that secondary had on the defense, he was a big part of that," Garrett said. "If you ask the coaches who were there if you ask the players who were there they would echo those ideas."
In keeping with Garrett's theme of continuity, Richard will also be taking over Matt Eberflus' role as passing game coordinator. Essentially, he'll be synchronizing the efforts of the Cowboys' defensive backs and linebackers, helping to keep the pass defense in order.
"We just felt like it was really important to really make sure that communication was clean," Garrett said. "And so that's why we did with Matt and we're going to give Kris that same responsibility."
Given the talent on hand, it's bound to lead to some high expectations. But if Richard's hire works out as well as the Cowboys hope, it could pay some serious dividends in their secondary.