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Cowboys News: Former Seahawks DC hired, speedy receiver the answer in the draft?

Potential draft targets and a Nick Foles what-if?

Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Report: Kris Richard hired by Cowboys as apparent replacement for Matt Eberflus - Tom Ryle, Blogging The Boys
Multiple reports yesterday confirmed the hiring of Kris Richard as Cowboys new secondary coach.

This is a move that is likely to be seen in a positive light by many fans, given Richard’s links to the feared Seahawks defenses of recent years. And the job title indicates that he is intended to be the replacement for Matt Eberflus, since it includes the passing game coordinator role. That was one Eberflus held in addition to being linebackers coach, and it is more confirmation that Eberflus is indeed gone.

And being Eberflus’ replacement also would make Richard the heir apparent to replace Rod Marinelli. Although there is no official word on when or even if Marinelli is planning to retire, it is not unreasonable to infer a tacit understanding that Richard is now next in line. It also looks like Richard won a three way race with Ray Horton and John Pagano.

Legion Air: Cowboys tap former Seahawks DC Kris Richard to guide secondary (report) - K. D. Drummond,Cowboys Wire
Former BTBer K. D. Drummond seems enthusiastic about the hiring.

Richard has spent his entire career in the NFL coaching ranks with the Seahawks. He started as their assistant defensive backs coach in 2010 before being in charge of the corners in 2011. From there, he was head DBs coach from 2012 through 2014 before taking over for Dan Quinn and running the entire defensive from 2015 through last season.

In other words, he has been highly instrumental in the development of the famed Legion of Boom. Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas joined Seattle in 2010 and Richard Sherman followed in 2011. Injuries have caught up with the group over the last several years however and Seattle dropped to No. 13 in defensive DVOA this season, ranking 13th against the past. Here’s their rankings since Richard took over as DB coach.

Year / Def DVOA / Pass Rank

2017 13 13

2016 5 13

2015 4 3

2014 1 3

2013 1 1

2012 2 3

Where Cowboys Need New Starters the Most in 2018 - Sean Martin, Inside The Star
In a perfect world, need and "best player available" would line up when the Cowboys are on the clock. If one of the best college safeties in the nation is still there at 19, he would provide an immediate boost to the defense.

Boosting Jeff Heath into a starting role was supposed to create even more turnovers and big plays from this group, but instead Heath looked lost in coverage far too often alongside Byron Jones. Per usual, Jones was asked to do a little bit of everything for the Cowboys, looking his best when playing at depth, as opposed to being outmatched against the run down in the box.

Dallas Cowboys 2018 draft target: Wide Receiver Christian Kirk - Matt Holleran, The Landry Hat
If the Cowboys are looking for more of a Dak-friendly offense, then would adding a speedy receiver be the best thing for him? If the go that route, Texas A&M's Christian Kirk has to be a name to consider.

This speed could help Dallas’s offense greatly, and could allow them to run some easy screen passes. This would help quarterback Dak Prescott get the ball out of his hands quick, and let Kirk make people miss.

Some more strengths for Kirk are his big play ability, all around explosiveness, and his constant threat in the return game. His great speed allows him to constantly be a big play threat at any time on the field, and would help Dallas make vertical deep plays down the field in the passing game.

Why Cowboys should seriously consider Derwin James if he's there at 19 in NFL draft - Dane Brugler, SportsDay
The Cowboys passed up on a Florida State defensive back (Jalen Ramsey) in 2016, but they could get a chance to snag a different one this year. With great combination size, speed, and physicality - could Derwin James be the missing piece to the Cowboys secondary?

Dane Brugler: Derwin James will be a wildcard in this class. He is a better athlete than football player right now, but has a very high ceiling with his skills. He looked like a future top-5 pick as a freshman at Florida State, but missed all of his sophomore year with a meniscus injury. James returned this past year and showed obvious rust, getting better and better throughout the season. If he is available at No. 19, the Cowboys should seriously consider him, especially with Byron Jones likely in his final season in Dallas.

Cowboys mock draft roundup: Could Dallas get a player compared to J.J. Watt? Or a WR with speed? Staff, SportsDay
There have been all kinds of names thrown in the hat for that all-important 19th overall pick. Check out this list from several draft experts as they attempt to guess what the Cowboys will be looking for, including some speed from the wide receiver position.

Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M (Jan. 16): "When watching the Cowboys in 2017, one thing stood out: Lack of speed on offense. Dez Bryant (assuming he's not cut) no longer has top-end speed. If this offense is going to go, someone needs to take the top off the defense. Enter Kirk."

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller (Jan. 15): "Christian Kirk isn't the tallest (5'11", 200 lbs) but he's a compact, exciting, fast receiver who can play in the slot or split out wide. He would give the Cowboys offense an immediate jolt of speed and playmaking ability if he can adapt to the Dallas scheme coming out of Texas A&M."

Nick Foles goes from backup to Super Bowl quarterback - Clarence Hill Jr., Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The infatuation the team had with Kellen Moore is something many fans won't ever understand, but had the Cowboys gone with Nick Foles over Moore - it could have altered the course of the universe. Moore's injury in 2016 set the stage for the Cowboys to find their franchise quarterback. Clarence Hill Jr. explains:

Moore broke his leg shortly after Jones’ proclamation two summers ago only to be replaced as the primary backup by undrafted free agent Cooper Rush in 2017.

The Cowboys like Moore so much that he is line to become the team’s quarterbacks coach.

If only Foles was so fortunate.

He will likely somehow take solace in leading a band of Eagles underdogs into the Super Bowl against Brady and Bill Belichick, the greatest quarterback and coach duo in NFL history looking for their sixth title since 2001.

Foles is not supposed to be here and neither are the Eagles, if you use the Cowboys’ litany of reasons for failure.

Dallas Cowboys: Flashback: Why Jerry and Stephen Jones said QB Nick Foles wasn't an option for Cowboys as backup - Jon Machota, SportsDay
You have to tip your cap to the impressive job that Nick Foles is doing for Philadelphia and Cowboys fans might recall his name came up as a possible backup QB candidate. The team ultimately decided to pass as Executive Vice President, Stephen Jones, explains the reasoning:

"At some point, you got to commit your resources to getting your young guys ready or you're always in that mode of older, veteran guys," Stephen Jones said. "I think with where Tony is in his career, we're starting that journey and obviously we made a significant pick there with Dak and we obviously like what we've seen in Showers, and we think Kellen is mature beyond his years, so we're comfortable with where we are. At some point you can get too crowded there."

2017 Timeline Season Part 2 -
The Mothership continues with their link-happy season summary. For those wishing to relive the of 2017 this is a 1-stop-shop:

The expectations were high. Coming off a 13-3 campaign that saw the Cowboys capture the NFC East, the hope was Dallas would then take the next step in 2017 and make a championship run to the Super Bowl. And while the team did finish with a 9-7 record – the first time the Cowboys have posted back-to-back winning marks since 2006-07 – in the end the year was one of disappointment. Mistakes made on the field and distractions that took place away from it led to Dallas missing the playoffs. In this four-part timeline, we will take a look back at a team with so much potential that instead turned into one of potential not met. We conclude today with Part Four and the second half of the regular season.

1 Thing Cowboys Can Learn From Each Remaining Playoff Team - John Owning, Fanrag Sports Network
There is no such thing as failure, only learning experiences. That’s something I read in one of those “how to be a winner” tomes. If it’s true, the Cowboys had a really successful learning season in 2017. John Owning chimes in with a couple thoughts for the Cowboys’ brass to consider:

Many of those inside Cowboys Nation will dismiss Dallas’s disappointing year by pointing to myriad distractions and injuries the team had to deal with. The Ezekiel Elliott suspension that dragged out for most of the season and the injuries to Sean Lee and Tyron Smith definitely played a part in Dallas’s demise, but a quick look at the teams remaining in the playoffs reveals that each team overcame its own problems to make it within a game of the Super Bowl.

Each team remaining in the playoffs was able to overcome the adversity it faced throughout the season.

The Patriots have had to overcome a host of injuries on defense — namely Dont’a Hightower, Derek Rivers, Nate Ebner, Shea McClellin and Cyrus Jones — on top of losing Tom Brady’s favorite target Julien Edelman.

The Vikings were without their two most talented QBs — Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater — for most of the season.

The Eagles have been hit with injuries — the biggest being Carson Wentz, who was the NFL MVP favorite at the time of his injury — more than most teams, including the Cowboys.

The Jaguars have had to deal with Blake Bortles playing quarterback for a full season, which besets a year-long fight with adversity even while the Jacksonville defense has dominated opposing teams.

Point-blank: The Cowboys didn’t make the NFC Championship Game because the team wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t because Lee missed five games, or because Smith missed three or because of Elliott’s suspension, it was because Dallas wasn’t among the four best teams.

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