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New DB Coach Richard Prefers Bigger CBs, But Lewis “Exception to the Rule”

FRISCO, Texas – All coaches are different in their own ways, but similar in the fact they typically like what they like. And if worked pretty well before, you can bet the coach will try to do the same, even if he’s at a new place. 

Enter Kris Richard as the Cowboys’ new defensive backs coach. He not only coached DBs in Seattle, but was the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator during the team’s successful run that included two Super Bowl appearances. 

Of course, who doesn’t remember the Legion of Boom secondary, which included several Pro Bowls among players such as Richard Sherman, Cam Chancellor and Earl Thomas.

While the Seahawks had a lot of talented defensive backs, most of them had the same look to them. It’s no secret Richard prefers bigger cornerbacks, with height, bulk, long arms, on top of the ability to run, cut and of course, cover the receivers. 

“It’s just a part of the system,” Richard said Saturday in the middle of a three-day rookie minicamp at The Star. “There are certain individuals who fit a certain profile who have historically worked better in this scheme. The more guys we can get of that nature, of that stature, of that build, the better we think we can be.”

When asked specifically why the bigger cornerbacks fit his scheme better, Richard wasted no time with his answer. 

“Length. Strength. Create issues at the line of scrimmage,” he said. “We want to cause as many problems for an offense before the ball is even snapped. So if we’re up there at the line of scrimmage and we’re making you think about where you need to go and how you’re going to get around me, then it’s a whole lot better than you just thinking about getting around me.”

It’s not a coincidence Byron Jones was quickly moved from safety to cornerback after Richard took over. In fact, the DB coach said he scouted Jones as a cornerback when he was with the Seahawks and Jones was coming out of UConn. 

Yes, prototypical (corner),” Richard said of Jones. “Fantastic athlete. Great height, size, length, speed. Everything is there. He has a great attitude. He’s been working hard from day 1. I’m happy to be around him.”
However, the Cowboys didn’t even draft a cornerback or safety for the first time since 1999. So it’s not like Richard is turning the positon over completely. In fact, when asked about second-year cornerback Jourdan Lewis, who is listed at 5-10, 195, Richard certainly has a place for him. 

“Well every now and then there’s an exception to the rule,” Richard said with a huge smile. “So you’re grateful to have and take those exceptions. (Lewis) is an exception. There aren’t many guys who battle in the fashion that he does. That’s what makes him special. He’s tenacious. He has good enough length. He is quick. He anticipates. He’s smart. He’s relentless. Those are the exceptions.”

At the end of the day, Richard just wants physical defensive backs who can be aggressive, get their hands on the ball and get some turnovers. 

He’s not going to turn his head to anyone who can do that. But he certainly likes what he likes. 

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