Safety Xavier Woods is back just in time.
The Dallas Cowboys’ game at 3:25 p.m. Sunday against the Seahawks in Seattle is a homecoming of sorts for first-year defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator Kris Richard.
Richard had been a Seahawks defensive assistant the previous eight seasons under coach Pete Carroll, including the past three as the defensive coordinator. He was a big part of the creation of Seattle’s Legion of Boom defense.
The reason for his firing after last season remains murky. It has been speculated by some in the Seattle media that Richard was perhaps playing too aggressively for Carroll’s taste. Carroll hasn’t said much on the reasoning. He didn’t add any clarity when asked about Richard’s influence on the Cowboys’ defense Wednesday morning.
“He’s always been a high-energy guy. Really bright, really sharp,” said Carroll, who declined to say where he thought Richard’s influence has shown up on Dallas’ defense.
Richard’s homecoming hasn’t been a talked about between the players, but Woods said it doesn’t have to be. They all know what the game means for their new coach.
“I think we all know. We haven’t said it but it’s understood,” said Woods, who will play his first game Sunday barring any setbacks from a hamstring injury on Aug. 18. “We want to play for him. This game is about him. It’s about us, but we want to make a statement for him as well.”
Woods, who is likely to be in a three-man rotation a free safety with Kavon Frazier and Ibraheim Campbell in Seattle, has been itching to join a defense that has started the season strong.
“These guys have been balling. I just can’t wait to get out there with them,” he said. “I’ve tried to stay patient. I want to be part of that knowing what I can contribute.”
Richard has brought another level of energy and motivation to the defense, something that was evident to anyone watching training camp practices in Oxnard, Calif. But Woods said he brought much more than an inspiration.
“He’s a lot more detailed each week. He has a very detailed plan of what the offense does,” Woods said. Richard hasn’t taken it up another notch for his old team. He can’t, Woods said.
“I don’t think he has another level. He’s already on 10,” he said.