This Tuesday marks the start of OTAs (organized team activities) for the Dallas Cowboys. There will be three consecutive weeks of OTAs before minicamp starting on June 12th. During these practices, answers will start to emerge for the top questions on everyone’s minds:
Who will replace Jason Witten?
Who will step up now that Dez Bryant is gone?
Yes these are absolutely important questions, and I’m sure there will be a lot of focus on them, but today I’d like to focus on the defense. After-all, defense wins games right? Here’s my question:
How will the team benefit from the addition of the new secondary coach Kris Richard?
For those who have been living under a rock, Richard came to us earlier this year when the Seattle Seahawks parted ways with him. He joined Seattle in 2010 as an assistant defensive backs coach and helped to groom the three players (Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman, and Kam Chancellor) that were aptly dubbed “Legion of Boom” in 2011. As a former player and now coach, Richard has shown that he has a keen understanding of what is needed in the secondary. So let’s take a look at some ways Mr. Richard will be able to help our team grow:
Developing and bringing in talent
Since 2015, the Cowboys have had five draft picks consisting of secondary defensive players. We have a young secondary that has raw talent and Richard could be the man who will help them reach their potential. Perhaps Dallas will have their very own version of the Legion of Boom (we’ll have to come up with a much cooler name though). I expect the young cornerbacks (Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, and Byron Jones) to thrive under his guidance. When he was at Seattle, Richard actually scouted Jones when he played for U-Conn. At 6’0, 205 lbs, Jones is the prototypical player Richard tends to favor, hence the reason he was moved to cornerback.
I should also mention that there is currently an undrafted free agent named Kam Kelly who falls right in line Richard’s scheme. He went undrafted this year because of unimpressive numbers at the 2018 Combine, but the Cowboys have brought him in to practice with the team at both safety and cornerback. There must be something that peaked their interest.
Speaking of safety, there’s still a chance that Earl Thomas could come to Dallas. The fact that he would be working under a coach he’s known for the past seven years could be be a big factor in his decision.
Replacement for Marinelli
There was a lot of uncertainty on whether current defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli would return for this 2018 season. Thankfully he stayed on, but chances are this will be his last season before retiring. If this season goes well, you can bet that Richard will be a top candidate to replace him. When asked about Richard, Marinelli had nothing but praises.
I think he might be as good as any acquisition coming in…I mean that now. This guy is really good. He did a terrific job in Seattle. You know that. The résumé is in the tape. But he brings energy, a great deal of intensity, the toughness, but he can relate really well to these players. That’s what I really like. … I just love him. This guy is special. I mean, he’s special. … You know that ‘it’? He’s got ‘it.”
Apparently Marinelli is sold, but the real test will be this upcoming season.
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