RENTON, Wash. – You don’t need a long conversation with new Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Kris Richard to realize he is a product of his mentor, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.
Like Carroll, Richard is a firm believer in the positive-reinforcement philosophy of coaching rather than the old-school, drill-sergeant approach.
“No doubt about it,” Richard said. “You catch more flies with honey, but there is a way to do it. It’s sincerity. You don’t have to rip a guy in order to get your point across to him. You can f-bomb a guy and dog cuss him and he’s going to shut you off. But if you do it with love and you do it with care, a guy’s going to listen.”
Richard replaced Dan Quinn (now the head coach at Atlanta) as the DC for the Seahawks after spending five seasons coaching the defensive backs to their acclaimed status as the Legion of Boom. He came to Seattle with Carroll after playing for Carroll and Southern Cal and working under him as a graduate assistant coach when Richard’s NFL career ended.
Now Richard is one of the youngest coordinators in the NFL at 35, but his enthusiasm is contagious and the players realize Richard has paid his dues.
“He’s a great guy of character,’’ Seahawks strong safety Kam Chancellor said. “Kris can teach you how to be a man, but he also teaches you the little things you need to know on the football field. I think by him being over the whole defense, he’s going to sharpen up things even more.”
Richard isn’t going to scream obscenities at a player, but he will tell a player what he’s doing wrong and how to correct it.
“You may not like what we have to say all the time, but the intent is to make you better," Richard said. "I’m going to bring the energy, the focus and the attention to detail. I demand the same out of you. That’s how we all get better.”
Richard has no plans to make dramatic changes to a defense that’s been the best in the league the last two seasons.
“If it’s not broke, don’t fix it,’’ he said. “What we’ve done around here, we’ve been pretty successful, so we’re going to keep the ball rolling.”
Richard said he learned a lot from Quinn, but he takes one particular concept to heart.
“Let everybody know how much they matter,” Richard said. “That was the most awesome thing about [Quinn]. He let everybody know every day how much they mattered. That’s the way you treat people.”
Richard is running the show now, so what’s his overall plan?
“It’s just staying true to who I am,” Richard said. “I want to be genuine and try to give you everything you need to help you be your best. That’s what I want to show each day.”