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DB's Coach Kris Richard Thrilled With the Hunger of the Jaguars Secondary

06134 Kris Richard Offseason Article

JACKSONVILLE – Kris Richard likes a lot about the Jaguars' secondary.

He likes the players, and he likes their work ethic. And the Jaguars' first-year secondary coach said he likes how the team's defensive backs – familiar and new – are fitting into the team's new defensive scheme.

He particularly likes the group's approach – all of which has him optimistic as the Jaguars' 2024 offseason closes.

"It's been a really cool transition," Richards said.

Richard, hired as the Jaguars' defensive backs coach in January, spoke to the media in early June– along with the team's position coaches – as the 2024 offseason drew to a close. He discussed multiple topics, including veteran cornerback Tyson Campbell

Campbell, entering his fourth NFL season, is considered one of the NFL's better cornerbacks when healthy. He missed eight games with a hamstring injury last season, with Richard in early June praising Campbell's skill – and his ability to fit into the coverage scheme in first-year coordinator Ryan Nielsen’s defense.

"We don't control every circumstance," Richard said of Campbell, "but we do control our every thought. So soft-tissue injuries, whatever took place last year … it's a clean slate."

Nielsen called Campbell "one of the finer athletes (he has coached) throughout my coaching career."

"Just the way, he's able to run and transition," Nielsen said. "He has a bit of a perpetual motion thing. He has been a state champion as a 100-meter runner. That's incredibly valuable. He has that ball-type movement to where he's not hesitant, stiff. He's just rolling."

Richard, too, praised the entire Jaguars' secondary for their approach this offseason. Whereas the secondary was known as a zone-coverage unit the past two seasons under coordinator Mike Caldwell, Nielsen and Richard are expected to emphasize aggressive, attacking coverage.

Nielsen talked earlier this offseason about the secondary playing tight coverage with safety help, with Richard speaking earlier this month of the players adjusting quickly to the changes.

"Throughout your whole entire life, at some point, everybody's been a part of a defense, or trying to play a particular style that's been really challenging," Richard said. "Get up there, get in people's face, challenge them at the line of scrimmage, then get on the back, especially as a safety.

"We've got a lot of buy-in from the guys. We've got really good guys, really good athletes, and we're really looking forward to seeing where we take it."

A major storyline of the Jaguars' 2024 offseason is specifically where those athletes will play in 2024. Nielsen said throughout the offseason that the team wasn't using depth charts during organized team activities and minicamps, which meant the coaches were trying multiple players in multiple roles in the various formations and schemes.

Richard said that absolutely was the approach in the secondary.

The Jaguars spent the offseason revamping the secondary. Campbell and third-year veteran Montaric Brown return, as do safeties Andre Cisco, Antonio Johnson and Andrew Wingard. The Jaguars signed cornerback Ronald Darby and nickel/safety Darnell Savage as unrestricted free agents, selecting cornerback Jarrian Jones in Round 3 and De'Antre Prince in Round 5 in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Jacksonville, Fla. — Jaguars cornerbacks during voluntary offseason workouts at the Miller Electric Center on April 29, 2024.

Also factoring into the secondary: second-year corner Christian Braswell, fifth-year corner Tevaughn Campbell, seventh-year corner Tre Flowers, first-year corner Erick Hallett II, second-year corner Gregory Junior, fifth-year corner Amani Oruwariye, seventh-year safety Terrell Edmunds and fifth-year safety Daniel Thomas.

"That's kind of what we're going to have to wait and see," Richard said. "Because if we tell you now, there could be a knock at the door a little later. We don't want that. It's in due time. Right now, we're all learning the defense. We're teaching the nuances of it all. And we have guys in multiple positions that are learning in the ultimate need and our job is to put the best guys out there to help our team.

"Everyone in that room right now has got a chance to bring value to our football team."

Richard said perhaps the most encouraging trait of the entire secondary has been the overall "hunger" from a group he called "eager to learn and compete."

"Those are those are the necessary ingredients regardless of the scheme," Richard said. "Any scheme or anything of that nature, it's that fact. Throughout the years, I've been very fortunate to be a part of rooms that have a lot of guys with awesome level of humility. The majority of the better players in the league have that level of humility. What's that mean? It means they're coachable. They're able to recognize the intent of the coach, and the corrective measures that the coach makes. They take it, they embody it, then they look to fix it.

"Whatever needs to be handled, the guys are really locked in and really looking forward to competing."

Finishing strong 💪 Jaguars wrapped up their offseason programing with minicamp this week. Next up: we will see you at training camp!

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