In his first official meeting with the media since being promoted from secondary coach to defensive coordinator, Seattle's Kris Richard let loose a couple of "little adages" that helped shed light on how he'll lead the Seahawks defense.
The first: "If it's not broke, don't fix it."
That was Richard's response to how his approach might differ from Dan Quinn, the Seahawks' defensive coordinator the past two seasons who accepted the head coaching job with the Atlanta Falcons the day after Super Bowl XLIX.
"We're going to look to put our guys in the best possible place for them to be in order for them to be successful," Richard said. "What we've done around here, we've been pretty successful, so we're going to keep the ball rolling."
Under Quinn and former Seahawks defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who turned his time in the Pacific Northwest into a head coaching gig with the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2012 season, Seattle has fielded the NFL's best defense - statistically - the past three years.
In that three-year span (2012-14), the Seahawks have led the League in scoring defense, the first team to accomplish that feat since the 1969-71 Minnesota Vikings, a unit perhaps better known as the 'Purple People Eaters.' Richard said he feels the pressure to uphold that standard that's been set.
"Well, we all do," said Richard, who at age 35 is one of the younger coordinators in the NFL. "But it's no pressure because all we have to do is be ourselves. That's the truth about it. We come out and our whole focus is to be our absolute best that day, that moment. We'll be fine."
Richard's next adage? "You catch more flies with honey."
Like his predecessors Quinn and Bradley, Richard is a believer in positive reinforcement to reach his players. It's a mentality that's become a central part of Pete Carroll's coaching philosophy, and if there's anybody who should be familiar with that it's Richard, who spent two seasons coaching defensive backs under Carroll at USC and the past five seasons coaching under Carroll in Seattle.
"You don't have to rip a guy in order to get your point across to them," Richard said. "That was one thing that I could remember was that you could come in and F-bomb a guy, M-F him, and do whatever you want, dog-cuss him, and he's going to shut you off. But if you do it with love and you do it with care, guys are going to listen."
That idea has worked well with the Seahawks' secondary, a group Richard has had a hand in molding since he came to Seattle in 2010.
The 'Legion of Boom' was born and its Pro Bowl and All-Pro players developed under Richard's direction. Strong safety Kam Chancellor sees his former position coach's triumphs spilling over to the entire defense.
"He's a great guy of character," said Chancellor. "He can teach you how to be a man, but he also teaches you the little things you need to know on the football field. I think being that he taught the secondary and our room the things that we know and how sharp he got our minds, I think by him being over the whole defense, he's going to sharpen up the whole defense even more."
Seahawks continue offseason workouts at Virginia Mason Athletic Center during day two of OTAs.
That's not to say the transition from position coach to coordinator will be an easy one. Coach Carroll made that clear, reminding of the added responsibilities Richard will face.
"It's entirely different when you step in front of the whole group and now it's your turn to set the tempo and critique for the entire body of guys," Carroll said. "You're talking to all position groups every day. He's got meetings every day and he's in front and he's got to do it. It's a challenge because you don't know how guys are going to handle it."
Carroll said he's spent time in several of Richard's meetings with the team. He's come away impressed with how Richard and assistant/head coach Rocky Seto, who was elevated from defensive passing game coordinator this offseason, have handled themselves.
"These guys have been together a really long time and they see eye-to-eye on everything and I think they're giving great leadership to the defensive side where we've obviously lost some leaders over the years – past coordinators," Carroll said of Richard and Seto. "They've really jumped at the cause. It's been fun to watch."
Richard said he'll lean on yet another adage as he shifts to his new role: "Be myself."
"It's just staying true to who I am," said Richard. "Ultimately, I'm going to be genuine and my focus is, truly, to give you all that you need to help you to be your best. That's all I want to show each and every single day.
"I'm going to bring the energy, I'm going to bring the focus, I'm going to bring the attention to detail," he added. "I demand the same out of you, and that's how we all get better."