The writing was on the wall for Dallas Cowboys passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach/de facto play-caller Kris Richard when he was told to explore outside opportunities, such as the New York Giants’ head-coaching vacancy he interviewed for (and obviously didn’t get).
Now the writing’s on his pink slip, too.
The Dallas Morning News reported Sunday that Richard, who had a year remaining on his contract, will not return to the club in 2020. The Cowboys instead are bringing aboard Texas A&M’s Maurice Linguist as the new secondary coach, per the report.
An NFL defensive back from 2002-07, Richard has been coaching since 2010. His career skyrocketed in Seattle, where he helped build the vaunted “Legion of Boom” and captured a Super Bowl trophy. And he did so while working his way up the ladder — from assistant DBs coach in 2010 to Seahawks defensive coordinator in 2015.
After three seasons as DC in the Pacific Northwest, Richard took his talents to Dallas. In 2018, he was hired to be the team’s DBs coach under coordinator Rod Marinelli. His power within the organization eventually rose, and his title increased, as Marinelli adopted a hands-off approach, grooming Richard as his successor.
Under Richard’s instruction, the Cowboys finished 10th in pass defense this past season, surrendering 223.5 yards per game. The team recorded only seven interceptions, however, and its secondary defenders accounted for just five picks: two each for safety Xavier Woods and cornerback Jourdan Lewis, and one for CB Chidobe Awuzie.
Richard became expendable following the hiring of head coach Mike McCarthy, who almost immediately recruited Saints linebackers coach Mike Nolan as his new defensive coordinator.
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Background on Linguist
A Texas native, Linguist played defensive back for Baylor from 2003-06, notching 93 combined tackles, three pass breakups, three interceptions and two forced fumbles across 42 career appearances.
As a coach, he’s bounced from Minnesota to Mississippi State to Iowa State before landing in College Station on Jimbo Fisher’s staff.
The Aggies finished 41st among 130 NCAA programs in passing yards allowed in 2019, ceding 209.5 yards per game through the air.
Linguist inherits a talented but severely underachieving Cowboys secondary which might undergo a makeover this offseason, as star cornerback Byron Jones and starting safety Jeff Heath are scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency.
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL