How Ex Cowboys Coach Kris Richard Might Move Up To A Super Bowl Team

Mike Fisher

An evaluation of Kris Richard's two seasons with the Dallas Cowboys can be a positive one, especially if it results in him "moving up'' should he land next with the San Francisco 49ers with a job that includes "coordinator'' in its title.

Here's how it might work: The Niners have Super Bowl LIV business in Miami to attend to on Sunday, after which they are expected to lose passing-game coordinator and defensive backs coach Joe Woods. He's been a key assistant to coordinator Robert Salah in building what became in 2019 the best defensive in the NFL.

Woods is bound to join the Cleveland Browns to serve as new head coach Kevin Stefanski's defensive coordinator.

Enter Richard. 

As Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tells it: "From what I understand, among the candidates being considered to replace Woods are former Cowboys passing-game coordinator for defense, Kris Richard ... Remember, he coached a similar system with the Dallas Cowboys, and certainly, that would add some heft, a little more heft, to this defense."

When Richard first arrived here at The Star, he was viewed as a hiring steal, a Legion of Boom coordinator with the Super Bowl Seahawks who was overqualified to serve as simply Rod Marinelli's helper. Indeed, Marinelli generously created a "co-coordinator'' feel out of the arrangement - a move that Richard earned due to his intelligence, talent, work ethic and intensity.

But it didn't work. Maybe Marinelli's front-seven concepts didn't always blend with Richard's back-seven concepts. There wasn't necessarily conflict between those two coaches, but there was elsewhere.

When Dallas started 3-0 last year, Richard was being touted - and not for the first time in his career - as a hot head-coach candidate. Some in Cowboys Nation even favored Richard as the guy who replace the now-departed Jason Garrett.

Richard did interview for the Giants head-coaching vacancy, which in addition to his abilities also fulfilled their Rooney Rule obligation (sidebar issue though that might've been). But otherwise, at only age 40, Richard, is due a re-boot. The Niners system is similar to what was run in Seattle, where he spent eight seasons, for a time even working under Saleh there when for three seasons in Seattle (2011-13) he was their coordinator. Richard also played for the Niners in 2005-06.

So Kris Richard in San Francisco? There is fit. There is familiarity.

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