A week ago, the Chicago Bears hired Matt Eberflus to be the Defensive Coordinator, and we found out that he was taking our entire defensive coaching staff with him. People started to immediately ask: Why was our entire staff (minus Brian Baker whose contract expired) leaving such a talented defensive unit? Will the next candidate come from the Lovie Smith School of Defense? What will the Colts change to if we steer away from that coaching philosophy? Well, to answer this question, I will have to address some of the ideas that our fans have about Matt Eberflus and his defense. Most fans think Matt Eberflus primarily ran Tampa 2 and “soft zones.” They did… in his early days. What the Colts began to run more towards the end of the year was a lot of Cover 1 and Cover 3 with a lot of match zone concepts. His defense blitzed at a league-low rate which meant they had to disguise a lot of coverages on the back-end and disguise pressures on the defensive front, lots of simulated pressures, etc. However, his defense did struggle in terms of getting home with 4, and when they blitzed, that did not work a lot either. That is why this next candidate I am about to mention would make a ton of sense to hire as the new Defensive Coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts.
Who is Kris Richard? Kris Richard has been coaching Football for a little over a decade now. He is known for coaching the famous “Legion of Boom” Seattle Seahawks defensive backs group, where he was also the Defensive Coordinator for a few years. Recently he has been a defensive backs coach for the Dallas Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints. He’s got some experience, is respected by players, and brings some youth to lead the Indianapolis Defense.
What would the Colts get from Kris Richard? Kris Richard would likely bring a lot of cover 1 and cover 3-match concepts and bring a Seattle Seahawks style of defense to Indianapolis. The Colts defense would continue to focus on creating turnovers while continuing the trend from last year of playing those cover 1 and cover 3 concepts, as I mentioned earlier. What Kris Richard would need to do if brought in would be to bring in a Defensive Line Coach who can develop our young pass rushers in Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo and maximize our veterans in Grover Stewart and Deforest Buckner. I would anticipate a 4-3 defensive front under Kris Richard, so no change there, but I would hope for better pressure and development from the Defensive line than what we got under Matt Eberflus.
Why should the Colts hire Kris Richard? I think the Colts should hire Kris Richard if they are looking for a young ascending coach who knows how to coach defensive backs and wants to be a part of the change in defensive philosophy from the defense ran under Matt Eberflus. This hire would signal an injection of new ideas and could be the spark to get the Colts defense to the next level. Granted, his Seahawks defense was talented, but his Seahawks defenses rated extremely high. His Seahawks defenses ranked by DVOA were 2017 (13), 2016 (5), and 2015 (4). Hiring Kris Richard would mean that they have to hit it out of the park with the DL coach because that is where the Colts need the most improvement; they have not had a pass rush in a long time. If they hire Kris Richard, I would be cautiously optimistic about our defense.