Kris Richard

Latest On Saints’ Coaching Staff

WEDNESDAY: Both will indeed become co-DCs for the Saints. Nielsen agreed to a two-year contract as New Orleans’ co-DC, The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman tweets, while’s Tom Pelissero notes Richard is ticketed to stay on as Saints secondary coach with the co-DC title added (Twitter link). Nielsen will remain the Saints’ D-line coach, and Pelissero adds special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi is now an assistant head coach with the team.

The Saints also announced quarterbacks coach Ronald Curry is now the team’s passing-game coordinator. Curry has been with the Saints for seven years. Doug Marrone is on track to be the Saints’ offensive line coach, a role he held from 2006-08, when he was also New Orleans’ OC.

MONDAY: Ryan Nielsen and Kris Richard are getting promotions in New Orleans. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (via Twitter), the pair of Saints defensive assistants are taking on new roles. The duo could be promoted to co-defensive coordinators, although the reporter cautions that nothing has been set.

[RELATED: Saints To Keep Pete Carmichael As OC]

Richard made a name for himself with the Seahawks, working his way up from an assistant to defensive coordinator. The coach ended up spending three years in that role before getting canned following the 2017 campaign. Since that time, the 42-year-old has worked as the Cowboys defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator, and he joined the Saints as their defensive backs coach in 2021. Richard met with both the Ravens and Steelers about their DC vacancies last month

Nielsen has been with the Saints organization since 2017, and he earned a promotion to assistant head coach in 2021. Prior to his stint in New Orleans, the coach was in the collegiate ranks, including a stint as defensive coordinator at Northern Illinois. We heard recently that Nielsen was a candidate for the DC gig.

The Saints have met with multiple outside candidates, including Michael Wilhoite and Aubrey Pleasant. Meanwhile, Pete Carmichael will be sticking around as offensive coordinator on Dennis Allen’s staff.

NFC Coaching Notes: Nielsen, Vikings, Giants

The Saints promoted from within to fill their head coach position and halted their offensive coordinator search to keep Pete Carmichael in that role. Their other top staff job may involve a similar process. Defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen is a candidate to take over as defensive coordinator, Jeremy Fowler of notes. Nielsen, 42, has been with the Saints for the past five seasons, each as the team’s D-line coach. Nielsen has DC experience, but it came at the mid-major (Northern Illinois) and Division I-FCS (Central Connecticut State) levels. The Saints also have a former NFL defensive coordinator on staff, in secondary coach Kris Richard. The former Seahawks DC should receive a look as well. He met with both the Ravens and Steelers about their DC vacancies last month. The Saints have met with multiple outside candidates, Michael Wilhoite and Aubrey Pleasant, for the position as well. Wilhoite began his coaching career in New Orleans, working as a lower-level assistant from 2019-20.

Here is the latest from the NFC’s coaching ranks:

  • New Vikings HC Kevin O’Connell is interested in more Rams assistants. Minnesota requested permission to interview Los Angeles assistant DBs coach Jonathan Cooley, per Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic (on Twitter). The Vikes are eyeing Cooley for their secondary coach/passing-game coordinator position. After gigs at multiple MAC schools from 2018-19, Cooley joined the Rams in 2020. The Rams are already lost their top secondary coach, Ejiro Evero, to the Broncos. They are also expected to lose tight ends coach Wes Phillips and offensive assistant Chris O’Hara to the Vikings, who are interviewing Rams running backs coach Thomas Brown for their OC job.
  • The Vikings are poaching another assistant from the Broncos, being poised to hire Justin Rascati as their assistant offensive line coach, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. Rascati served as an offensive quality control coach in Denver last season. O’Connell is already bringing ex-Broncos staffers Ed Donatell and Curtis Modkins to Minnesota.
  • Bryan Cox is back on an NFL staff. The Giants are hiring the former NFL linebacker, per Aaron Wilson of Cox will be the Giants’ assistant D-line coach under Don Martindale. This will be Cox’s first NFL gig since the Falcons fired him following Super Bowl LI five years ago.
  • The 49ers are promoting offensive quality control coach Brian Fleury to their tight ends coach spot, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes. Fleury, who will replace new Dolphins tight ends coach Jon Embree in this role, has been with the 49ers for three seasons.

Colts To Interview Three More DC Candidates

The list of potential Matt Eberflus replacements continues to grow for Indianapolis. The Indy Star’s Joel Erickson reports (via Twitter) that the Colts will be interviewing three more candidates for the defensive coordinator position: Raiders DC Gus Bradley, Cowboys secondary coach Joe Whitt Jr. and Saints defensive backs coach Kris Richard

The team met with Jaguars DC Joe Cullen, as well as WFT DBs coach Chris Harris, last week. Then, it came out yesterday that they will also be interviewing longtime DC Jim Schwartzwho has most recently held the title of senior defensive assistant with the Titans.

Bradley was hired by the Raiders last January, in an attempt to bring in an experienced defensive mind to a team desperate for success in the second Jon Gruden era. The 55-year-old had served as DC with the Chargers, following four-year stints as head coach of the Jaguars and DC of the Seahawks during the ‘Legion of Boom’ era.

As for Whitt, an interview request is certainly nothing new. Each of the SeahawksRavens and Steelers met with him as potential replacements for their previous DCs. His work in Dallas this season contributed to the defense’s surprising performance, led on the back end by Trevon Diggs‘ league-leading 11 interceptions. At the age of 43, he has been an NFL position coach dating back to 2007, but has yet to be a DC at any level.

Richard has also generated DC interest this year. Just like Whitt, he has already received requests from Baltimore and Pittsburgh for their vacancies. The 42-year-old has spent most of coaching career in Seattle, including a three year stint as DC from 2015-2017. Since then, he’s been the DBs coach for the Cowboys, and, this past season, the Saints. If Dennis Allen takes over as HC in New Orleans, as is expected, Richard’s path back to a DC role may come via an internal promotion, rather than an external hire.

Erickson notes that these three interviews will take place today and tomorrow, which should bring the Colts one step closer to making a DC hire sometime in the coming days.



Steelers Request Interview With Joe Whitt For DC Position

Another name has been added to the list of Steelers targets for their vacant defensive coordinator role. Joe Whitt, the passing game coordinator/secondary coach for the Cowboys, has become the third external candidate for the position, according to Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper

The team has recently asked to meet with Kris Richard, the Saints’ defensive back coach, to replace the now-retired Keith Butler. Prior to that, Giants DC Patrick Graham received an interview request from the Steelers as well.

Whitt is generating interest with multiple teams. Both the Seahawks and Ravens have put in requests to meet with the 43-year-old for their respective DC vacancies. The experienced DB coach has served on the staff of five different teams during his NFL coaching career, never holding a title higher than pass game coordinator. His role in helping the Cowboys’ defense become one of the league’s better units – rather than a liability, as it had been in recent years – has obviously earned him opportunities for a promotion either elsewhere, or perhaps in Dallas if DC Dan Quinn takes one of the many HC jobs he has interviewed for.

The Steelers still have secondary coach Teryl Austin as an option if they prefer to promote from within. While that is certainly a possibility at this point, the team is clearly doing its due diligence with regards to outside candidates.

Ravens Request DC Interview With Saints’ Kris Richard

It has been a bit since Kris Richard worked as a defensive coordinator. He last did so in 2017, but two AFC North franchises are interested to see if the current Saints assistant fits the bill.

In addition to the Steelers’ request to interview Richard, the Ravens are interested in speaking with him about their DC vacancy, Ian Rapoport of tweets. Now that the Saints are set to interview Dennis Allen to replace Sean Payton, a promotion in New Orleans could be on the table soon.

Richard, 42, worked as the Seahawks’ DC from 2015-17, taking over for Dan Quinn. Richard stopped the line of Seattle DCs rising to HC jobs, a procession that included jumps for Quinn and Gus Bradley. Under the former Legion of Boom position coach, however, the Seahawks ranked in the top five defensively in both 2015 and ’16. Rather than rise to a coaching job, Richard instead trekked to Dallas for two seasons as Cowboys DBs coach.

Richard helped Byron Jones‘ transition to cornerback lead to a Pro Bowl nod but was not retained under Mike McCarthy. After taking the 2020 season off, Richard joined the Saints as their secondary coach. The Ravens have yet to hire a defensive coordinator from outside the organization, but interview requests for Richard and Cowboys DBs coach Joe Whitt Jr. show they are certainly considering it. The team already met with its D-line coach, Anthony Weaver, and has its 10-year DBs coach, Chris Hewitt, on the radar as well.

Steelers Request Permission To Interview Saints’ Kris Richard For DC Job

We’ve got another candidate for the Steelers defensive coordinator vacancy. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter), the Steelers have requested permission to interview Saints defensive backs coach Kris Richard.

[RELATED: Steelers Request Interview With Giants DC Patrick Graham]

Richard served as the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator from 2015-17, and then he was the passing game coordinator and defensive play-caller with the Cowboys from 2018-19. He spent 2020 out of the league before landing on Sean Payton’s staff in New Orleans.

During his lone season with the Saints, Richard helped guide the secondary to a standout season. The Saints defensive backs allowed the third-fewest touchdowns in the league, and the Saints finished with the sixth-most interceptions.

Steelers DC Keith Butler recently retired, and it was believed that the organization would fill the vacancy internally. If the organization goes that route, then senior defensive assistant/secondary coach Teryl Austin, who had been in Pittsburgh for the past three seasons, would likely earn the promotion. However, he’s seen competition from Giants DC Patrick Graham and now Richard.

Saints Hire Kris Richard To Staff

The Saints lost secondary coach Aaron Glenn when he left to become Dan Campbell’s defensive coordinator in Detroit, and now they’re bringing in a big name to replace him. New Orleans is hiring Kris Richard to be their new secondary coach, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network tweets.

We just learned yesterday that Richard was talking to the Packers about their defensive coordinator job, but obviously he won’t be getting that gig. He also interviewed with the Raiders last month for the DC position that ended up going to Gus Bradley. Still only 41, Richard will have a lot more high-level experience than your typical secondary coach.

He served as the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator from 2015-17, and then was the passing game coordinator and defensive play-caller with the Cowboys from 2018-19. A third-round pick by the Seahawks out of USC back in 2002, Richard spent six years in the league as a player with a few teams.

He spent 2020 out of the league before landing on Sean Payton’s staff. Current Saints DC Dennis Allen interviewed with the Eagles about their head coaching vacancy this cycle, and Richard could be a prime candidate to succeed him should Allen move on in the near future.

Packers Interview Kris Richard For DC

The Packers have discussed their defensive coordinator vacancy with Kris Richard, as Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. He’s the latest candidate to surface for the job, joining Chargers assistant Joe Barry, Rams safeties coach Ejiro Evero, and Washington defensive backs coach Chris Harris on the list.

Richard was one of the architects of the Seahawks’ famed Legion of Boom. After managing Seattle’s defensive backs, he was elevated to defensive coordinator in 2015. The ‘Hawks parted ways with Richard at the end of the 2017 season, prompting him to move on to the Cowboys as their DB/defensive passing game coach.

He didn’t get to stick around for Mike McCarthy‘s staff, however, and he spent the 2020 season out of football. Still, it wasn’t long ago that Richard was being considered for head coaching jobs and his overall track record is impressive.

Richard, who also interviewed with the Raiders before the hiring of Gus Bradley, would take over for Mike Pettine.

Raiders Interview Kris Richard For DC

The Raiders have interviewed Kris Richard for their defensive coordinator position, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports (via Twitter). Richard is the second reported candidate for the job, joining Chargers DC Gus Bradley.

A DB coach with Seattle from 2010-2014, Richard was one of the architects of the club’s famed Legion of Boom, and he served as the ‘Hawks defensive coordinator from 2015-17. But Seattle elected to cut ties at the end of the 2017 campaign, and Richard moved on to the Cowboys as the defensive backs coach/defensive passing game coordinator. His first year in Dallas and the resume he built in Seattle garnered him plenty of attention as a potential head coach, and at one point he was even rumored to be the leading candidate for the Dolphins’ HC gig (which ultimately went to Brian Flores).

He was a casualty of the staff shakeup that took place when Mike McCarthy became the Cowboys’ head coach last year, and he spent the 2020 season out of football, though he did interview for the Giants’ HC job, and he received consideration for a spot on the 49ers’ defensive staff. He does not appear to be a HC candidate in this year’s cycle, but his track record should be enough to land him a high-level position.

If the 41-year-old were to become the Raiders’ DC and have success, he would almost certainly be right back on the short list of top head coaching prospects in 2022. Vegas’ defense was near the bottom of the league in terms of yardage and points allowed this season, and the unit is lacking in high-end talent.

On the other hand, young players like Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby have flashed, and the team will have a full complement of draft picks and a reasonable amount of cap space to improve. It’s possible that a new coordinator and a few new pieces can key a significant turnaround.

49ers Considering Kris Richard For Staff

A previous candidate for HC jobs, Kris Richard is unattached presently after the Cowboys revamped their coaching staff. However, the former Seahawks defensive coordinator looks to be on the 49ers’ radar.

The 49ers are expected to lose secondary coach Joe Woods to the Browns, with whom he’s agreed to become DC. But they are on track to consider Richard for that position, according to Ian Rapoport of (h/t

Mike McCarthy hired Mike Nolan to replace Rod Marinelli as Dallas’ DC and did not retain Richard, who spent two seasons with the Cowboys. A 49ers landing would make sense for the 40-year-old assistant, however. San Francisco uses a version of the Seattle defense, and Richard spent eight seasons with the Seahawks. His final three Seattle slates came as their defensive coordinator.

Richard, 40, coached Richard Sherman in each of the All-Pro cornerback’s seven Seahawks seasons. Under Richard in Dallas, Byron Jones became one of the NFL’s better cornerbacks and is on track for a lucrative free agency payday. Richard interviewed for three jobs in 2019 — with the Buccaneers, Dolphins and Jets — and met with the Colts about their HC job in 2018. He interviewed for the Bills job in 2017.

Richard and 49ers DC Robert Saleh coached on Pete Carroll‘s staff for three seasons together, 2011-13, with the former being slightly higher on the totem pole at the time. Saleh served as a defensive quality control coach from 2011-13, when Richard was spending time as a position coach. A reunion in San Francisco would almost certainly mean Richard serving as one of Saleh’s defensive assistants.