FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys have made major alterations to their roster this offseason. Last weekend's minicamp offered a first look at the 2018 rookie class.
Yet defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli believes the team's best offseason addition might be new defensive passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach Kris Richard, formerly in charge of Seattle's "Legion of Boom" secondary.
"I think he might be as good as any acquisition coming in. I mean that," Marinelli said. "This guy's really good. He did a terrific job in Seattle, the resume's in the tape. But he brings energy, a great deal of intensity, toughness. He can relate really well to these players. That's what I really like."
The passing game coordinator position is important to Marinelli's defense because it fosters better communication between the front seven and secondary. He holds Matt Eberflus in the highest regard and needed a replacement when Eberflus took the Colts' defensive coordinator job.
Richard also takes over for Joe Baker as defensive backs coach. The secondary is among the youngest groups on the roster, with five returning contributors (Kavon Frazier, Anthony Brown, Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Xavier Woods) who have two years or less in the league.
The schematic similarities between the Seahawks and Cowboys will help everyone's transition.
"I do think the DNA of our defense is the DNA of the defense where he comes from," Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said. "It's very similar. He certainly can bring some things and add some things beyond what we've done. We think that's the positive. But there is a continuity in the philosophy. He fits in really good. I just think he's an outstanding football coach."
Richard is known best for directing one of the most dominant secondary groups the NFL has seen in many years. The "Legion of Boom" was a catalyst, both tactically and emotionally, for Seattle's back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in 2013 and 2014.
"It was a standard of excellence and a standard of love, a standard of brotherhood," he said. "Everyone cares for one another and everyone can count on one another. More than being accountable, it was more about being dependable.
"Mistakes and all that stuff happen. 'Oh, I'm accountable and that was my fault.' Well, how about being dependable and not allowing the mistakes to happen?'"
Richard will look to build the same type of rapport in Dallas. Marinelli is already seeing him connect with his new players.
"This guy's special," he said. "You know that 'it' (factor)? He's got it."