The Cowboys made a big splash to help improve their defense in 2018 when Dallas hired former Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard to be in charge of the secondary. Hairopoulos writes on what Richard is bringing to Dallas.
With his on-the-way-up reputation and Legion of Boom lineage after eight years in Seattle, Richard’s addition to the staff created a buzz that’s rare considering he won’t be making any tackles or defending passes in Dallas. The former NFL cornerback-turned-coach wore cleats during the rookie orientation camp, which concludes Sunday, allowing him to be active while coaching the drills.
The Legion of Boom, Richard said, was based on more than a style of play. “LOB” also stood for “Love Our Brothers.” But part of the legion, featuring players such as Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas, was an aggressive style and the ability to force interceptions and fumbles.
The Cowboys have ranked near the bottom of the NFL in interceptions in recent years. Can that change?
“We have to take advantage of our opportunities,” Richard said. “When we put our hands on it we need to ... bring them in, bring ‘em to the sideline or put them in the end zone.”
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinell is already a big fan of the man coaching his defensive backfield, even saying Richard has “it”.
Rod Marinelli said adding Kris Richard to the coaching staff might be the best acquisition the Cowboys made this offseason. “This guy’s special...You know that ‘it’? He’s got ‘it.’”— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) May 11, 2018
We’ve been waiting so long for someone to have “it” so this is great news. Now, the only question is - what can he do with “it” in Dallas?
Richard didn’t waste any time trying to model his success in Seattle as he attempts to add some size to the Cowboys cornerback group by shifting Byron Jones back to corner. When asked why these type of corners work better in his system, his response was:
“Length, strength create issues at the line of scrimmage. We want to cause as many problems as we can for an offense before the ball is even snapped. 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, it’s a whole lot better than you just thinking about where you need to go.”
As you can tell, there’s a lot of excitement surrounding Richard’s arrival in the Big D.
Crusty Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli didn’t mince words.
Considering what the Cowboys added in free agency and taking into account their nine 2018 draft picks, including top pick Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch whom he absolutely loves, Marinelli said it was an addition to the coaching staff that might have the biggest impact on the team’s fortunes in 2018.
Richard is not trying to make the Cowboys another Legion of Boom. They will have to earn their own nickname.
But the style of play and characteristics of a physical, turnover-created unit will be the same.
The mindset, however, is about “loving our brother” (LOB) by being accountable, responsible and dependable.
Can Richard help bring 2015 first-round pick Byron Jones’ game to another level?
Luckily, Kris Richard is here to save the day and make things right again.
Richard told David Helman of DallasCowboys.com that he values Byron Jones as a cornerback, and thought he would be the prototypical addition to the famed Legion of Boom in Seattle coming out of college.
The main reason Richard likes Byron Jones as a cornerback so much are his measurables. Jones is a long, athletic player, and those attributes can be a pain for wide outs to deal with at the line of scrimmage.
While these athletic attributes were Jones’ calling-card entering the league, his coverage skills are what really make him an impressive prospect at cornerback. Jones has become the tight end eraser for Dallas, sticking to some of the league’s best week-in and week-out.
In addition to bringing Richard on board, adding speed to the team was important this offseason.
One of the missions of the front office this year was to increase team speed. Some of that happened organically with the retirement of tight end Jason Witten. Speed was also one of the reasons for deciding to cut star receiver Dez Bryant. The same could be said for long-time cornerback Orlando Scandrick.
To replace these aging stalwarts, Dallas has completely revamped their wide receiving corps. In addition to Gallup, Deonte Thompson (4.31-forty) and Tavon Austin (4.34-forty) came to the Cowboys via free agency and trade respectively.
If the goal was to be faster, the 2018 Dallas Cowboys will surely be just that. Speed does not always translate to success but missing it is bad news for your defense.
Dane Brugler thinks Connor Williams can make an impact at left guard alongside Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Travis Frederick on the offensive line.
What did you think of the Connor Williams pick and do you think he is a better fit at RT or LG on this Cowboys line?
Brugler: I graded Williams as an offensive tackle. That’s what he played at Texas and I see a player with the feet to hold up in space. However, for the Cowboys, I’m putting him at guard and that’s how the coaches view him as well.
Yes, he is only 300-ish pounds, but he is so good as sinking his hips to anchor and he flashes the bully mentality that it takes for interior work. I expect to see him primarily at guard, but part of the appeal with Williams is his versatility, so good chance he’ll have snaps at tackle throughout the season.
He doesn’t see Michael Gallup as a true number-one receiver, but Brugler does believe that the third-round pick can help the offense.
I don’t expect Gallup to ever reach true “No. 1” status. That would mean he belongs in the same conversation as Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins, etc. and I just don’t think he’ll make that type of impact. But one of the biggest myths in the NFL is that you need a No. 1 wideout on offense.
It would be nice, but also not necessary. Just surround the quarterback with capable receivers who can help move the offense and you’re in good shape. And I think Gallup can do that, whether he’s at the X or another wide receiver position.
When you have a guy like Ezekiel Elliott in your backfield, having a true No. 1 isn’t so drastic.
There are some reasons for optimism, though. As a rookie, Zeke didn’t really find his feet until Week 3. Those first two games hurt his overall production.
Also helping will be likely improvement on the offensive line. Dallas invested a second-round pick in the athletic Connor Williams. While Jonathan Cooper was solid last year, Williams fits more of what the Cowboys like to do with getting their linemen out in space.
That’s not the only potential upgrade. La’el Collins should be even better if gets to stay at right tackle and develop his game. Also, Tyron Smith is reportedly healthier than he’s been in some times. He’s dealt with back issues the last few seasons.
Jason Garrett would reportedly like to have a joint practice with the 49ers this August.
The San Francisco 49ers look set to get busy with more preseason joint practices. Last month, we learned the team will travel early to Houston to engage in joint practices with the Texans prior to their Week 2 preseason game. Now, they might also be working something out with the Dallas Cowboys prior to their preseason opener in Santa Clara. Jason Garrett is hopeful the teams can work something out, according to ESPN’s Todd Archer.
The Cowboys and Niners are discussing potentially practicing against each other prior to the Aug. 9 preseason game in Santa Clara. Jason Garrett is hopeful something could be worked out with the practice schedules because of the benefits of working... https://t.co/mxSbkLZquz— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) May 12, 2018