Kris Richard went from celebrating a Cowboys playoff victory Saturday night to a series of interviews for head-coaching jobs Sunday. The Jets were one of them.
Richard, who is responsible for the Cowboys’ defensive backs and defending against the passing game, is a hot candidate for NFL coaching vacancies. Richard met with the Jets, Dolphins and Bucs on Sunday in Texas.
Richard was the Jets’ fourth known interview and first with someone whose focus is defense. The Jets also have sat down with Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, former Dolphins coach Adam Gase and ex-Packers coach Mike McCarthy.
Things are expected to heat up as the search for Todd Bowles’ successor enters its second week. Bowles was fired Dec. 30 after the Jets finished 4-12.
While CEO Christopher Johnson and general manager Mike Maccagnan are in Texas, they could interview Baylor coach Matt Rhule, a former Giants line coach who has drawn interest from the Jets. Bucs offensive coordinator Todd Monken is scheduled to interview with the Jets on Tuesday.
Former Colts and Lions coach Jim Caldwell also is expected to interview with the Jets at some point.
To this point, the Jets have not received approval from USC to interview newly hired offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury, who previously was the coach at Texas A&M.
Richard, 39, is considered a rising young coach. If the Jets hired him, it would be imperative to bring in an experienced offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach who would be tasked with developing Sam Darnold.
Richard spent eight years in Seattle serving under Pete Carroll as the Seahawks’ defensive backs coach and then defensive coordinator. He also spent two seasons as a graduate assistant under Carroll at USC before joining him in Seattle.
Richard is in his first season overseeing the secondary and defense against the passing game. Dallas finished sixth in scoring defense (20.2 points per game) and seventh in overall defense (329.2 yards).
The Jets are expected to hire someone with an offensive background who can help Darnold become the player the organization believes he can be.
McCarthy has the most experience as an offensive coach and the best resume of the available coaches. He also is interviewing for the Browns’ opening.
Except for Richard, all of the candidates in whom the Jets have expressed interest climbed the ranks on the offensive side of the ball.
In discussing potential candidates, Johnson said it would be a “big plus” if he had developed a young quarterback. Maccagnan said the Jets would not favor either side of the ball, but “we want to make sure they have a plan in place to try to develop our young quarterback.”