Denver’s defensive coordinator search now includes one of Sean Payton‘s former Saints staffers. The team has met with ex-New Orleans assistant Kris Richard, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.
The Saints recently parted ways with Richard, one of their two co-defensive coordinators last season, but he joined New Orleans’ staff during Payton’s time. Richard, 43, was the Saints’ defensive backs coach during Payton’s final season in New Orleans.
Best known for his Seattle tenure, Richard came up for the Denver job earlier this month. Payton has been connected to a few of his former Saints staffers, interviewing Ronald Curry for the Broncos’ OC position. And Richard has some notable experience here.
After seeing both Gus Bradley and Dan Quinn become head coaches elsewhere, the Seahawks promoted Richard in 2015. The Legion of Boom’s position coach, Richard finished off the Bradley-, Quinn- and Pete Carroll-led run of Seattle leading the NFL in scoring defense in four straight seasons. No team had accomplished that since the Browns in the 1950s. Richard re-emerged as a DC last season, working alongside Ryan Nielsen. The Saints ranked in both the top 10 in total defense and points allowed, but after Nielsen left for Atlanta, Dennis Allen still made a change. Allen hired ex-Broncos DC Joe Woods after an interview process that looked to be just Woods.
This would be a new opportunity for Richard, whose two chances at DC posts came under defensive-minded HCs. Payton is, of course, an offense-oriented leader. His search has featured veterans and younger coaches, with Sean Desai and Rex Ryan coming up most often in this search. Despite Ryan being an NFL Countdown staple since being fired by the Bills late in the 2016 season, he is viewed as the favorite for the Denver job.