The #Saints parted ways with co-defensive coordinator/secondary Kris Richard, sources tell me and @RapSheet.Buy Saints Tickets
New Orleans' other co-DC, Ryan Nielsen, recently took the DC job in Atlanta. Significant changes on D.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 1, 2023
The New Orleans Saints “parted ways” with Kris Richard on Wednesday, as first reported by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport. It’s a puzzling decision that leaves the team without its secondary coach and co-defensive coordinator, who had shared that time with defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen last year. How did the Saints go from valuing Richard and Nielsen so strongly to name them co-coordinators to moving on from both of them in the space of a year?
Nielsen will be running the Atlanta Falcons defense in 2023; it’s unclear what Richard’s next move is, though he’s interviewed for multiple defensive coordinator openings in recent weeks. Dennis Allen held onto play-calling responsibilities after being promoted to head coach, so Richard has more opportunities to pursue elsewhere. In any rate, the Saints need a new defensive coordinator of their own, as well as new position coaches for the defensive line and defensive backs.
It’s really odd to see the Saints tear down their defensive coaching staff after their unit was the reason they won any games last year. Pete Carmichael’s offense couldn’t score even three touchdowns per game over the course of the season but he’s still holding down that job. Allen has a plan, but it’s unclear how these are the conclusions he arrived at to form it. Time will tell if it was the right course of action.