The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have interviewed a fourth candidate for their vacant head coaching position: Kris Richard, the Dallas Cowboys Passing Game Coordinator and Defensive Backs Coach.
Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht, who is leading the search for the franchise's 12th head coach, traveled to the Dallas area to meet with Richard on Sunday. Because Dallas was in action in the first round of the NFL playoffs, Richard wasn't free to meet with interested suitors until after his team finished its first game. The Cowboys defeated the Seattle Seahawks to advance to the Divisional Round but NFL rules permit coaches in that situation to interview in the week following the Wild Card round.
Licht has previously interviewed Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Minnesota Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards and former Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Bruce Arians.
Richard helped the Cowboys' defense rank sixth in the NFL in scoring in 2018, allowing 20.3 points per game. Dallas also ranked seventh in total net yards allowed (329.3 per game), fifth in rushing yards allowed (94.6) and 13th in passing yards (234.7). The Cowboys' defense gave up the sixth-fewest plays of 20 or more yards.
As the Cowboys' passing game coordinator, Richard was responsible for making sure the communication was strong between the secondary and the front seven. More importantly, he was given defensive play-calling duties by Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli, something Richard was comfortable with from his three seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks (2015-17).
Richard spent the first eight years of his NFL coaching career in Seattle before joining the Cowboys this season and is considered instrumental in the rise of the Seahawks' "Legion of Boom" secondary. He started with the Seahawks in 2010 as an assistant defensive backs coach and progressed to cornerbacks coach in 2011 and defensive backs coach in 2012.
When Dan Quinn left to become the Atlanta Falcons' head coach in 2015, Richard took over as the coordinator and made sure there was no drop-off, as the Seahawks finished first in the NFL in points allowed for the fourth year in a row, while also ranking second in yards allowed. Seattle was third and fifth, respectively, in those two categories in 2016, Richard's second year as coordinator. Over the span of his three years in that post, Richard saw the Seahawks rank second in yards allowed and third in both points allowed and passing yards allowed.
Richard played cornerback in the NFL, mostly with the Seahawks from 2002-04, after Seattle made him a third-round draft pick in 2002. He also played one game with San Francisco in 2006 and signed with Oakland in 2007. Richard played his college ball at USC, and he returned there shortly after the end of his NFL playing days to begin his coaching career as a graduate assistant. Two years later, Richard followed Pete Carroll to the Seahawks.
If Richard gets the Buccaneers' job it would mark the first time that the team has hired a non-coordinator assistant from another team to be their head coach. John McKay and Greg Schiano came directly from the college ranks; Leeman Bennett, Ray Perkins, Sam Wyche, Jon Gruden and Lovie Smith were all NFL head coaches prior to taking the same job with the Bucs; Richard Williamson, Raheem Morris and Dirk Koetter were all promoted from within the organization; and Tony Dungy left his post as the Vikings' defensive coordinator to come to Tampa.