Coach’s Corner: Rod Marinelli on Kris Richard’s Prospects as a Head Coach
Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is excited that defensive backs coach Kris Richard will interview in the coming week(s) for multiple NFL head coaching jobs because he believes that Richard has what it takes to be an effective leader of a franchise.
“Whoever is interviewing him, they’re smart people, yes” Marinelli says of Richard. “He’s sharp, he has great communication skills, great background, and he relates well with players with being strong. You know how they talk about being a ‘Players’ Coach’ guy? Whatever that means!?!? It is about standards. He’ll hold you to the standards.”
Richard is not the only person who has worked under Marinelli that is a hot prospect in the current head coaching carousel. Matt Eberflus, the Colts’ defensive coordinator who spent seven seasons (2011-2017) on Marinelli’s defensive staff in Dallas, is also getting a look-see from teams in need of a head coach.
Marinelli sees the same favorable qualities in both Richard and Eberflus.
“They are both great family men,” notes Marinelli. “They represent franchises really well. They are sound fundamentally and get players to play really hard. That’s a key in this league. The number one issue in the NFL forever is morale. And when guys are playing team defense, morale is good.
Marinelli spent 10 seasons (1996-2006) on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coaching staff as an assistant, first under head coach Tony Dungy and later under head coach Jon Gruden. Those Bucs’ staffs were a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of future head coaches.
Along with Marinelli (defensive line, assistant head coach), who would take over as Detroit Lions head coach (2006-2008), the Bucs’ staff included Herm Edwards (defensive backs), Lovie Smith (linebackers), Mike Tomlin (defensive backs), Raheem Morris (assistant defensive backs), and Jim Caldwell (quarterbacks). Each of those assistants became head coaches.
Marinelli takes great pride in seeing colleagues that he has mentored move up the food chain and eventually take over NFL franchises.
“Throughout my career, I couldn’t be happier to see young coaches advance,” adds Marinelli. “It’s every point in my career. When I was in Tampa and it was Mike T (Mike Tomlin), I couldn’t have been more happy. And Lovie Smith, couldn’t be more happy. And Herm Edwards. Seeing those guys coming out. Raheem Morris. Seeing all these guys come out and have an opportunity coming up that way and doing things the right way. Jim Caldwell was on our staff.
“It’s a lifelong deal because, number one, you want to see those men benefit, but my focus is still on how to improve the NFL and it’s through leadership. By far, in every phase of this league, it’s leadership. Without it, it’s faulty. So, I want to see good men take over franchises and do things the right way. Those guys are doing things the right way.”
“It’s about seeing our men grow, everyone I have contact with, our coaches and the players. And if you focus on growth, everything else will take care of itself.