The Kansas City Chiefs have lost outside linebackers coach Mike Smith to the same role with the Green Bay Packers.
Kansas City Chiefs outside linebackers coach Mike Smith finished the 2018 season with the Chiefs, his third year with the team. It would prove to be his final season with the club, though, as he was signed by the Green Bay Packers just days after the Chiefs lost in the AFC Championship against the New England Patriots.
The Chiefs seem to be cleaning house a bit defensively, which is not outside of the norm when you hire a new defensive coordinator. Fresh defensive coordinators would like to use their own staff to better fit how they want to build the defense.
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Smith’s departure is not a bad thing, per se. New Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has typically run a 4-3 scheme as opposed to what the Chiefs are used to, a 3-4 scheme. Outside linebacker coaches are not a focal point when it comes to 4-3 schemes. In most cases, you only really need a linebackers coach, which the chiefs have in Mark DeLeone.
Smith was credited for his work with Dee Ford during his breakout season this year that saw him rank among the NFL’s best overall defenders. Pro Football Focus even ranked Ford as their No. 1 edge defender in the NFL. Given the Chiefs’ position atop the NFL in overall sacks, Smith should be praised for his work with many of the Chiefs pass rushers.
The Chiefs broke down the linebacker position into two separate coachable groups in 2018 and the work paid off. Ford had high praise for Smith and the coaching changes after the season. “It’s helped tremendously,” Ford said. “Mike is great. He is a student of the game.”
Smith lasted three full seasons in K.C. and served as an assistant defensive line coach for two years before heading up the outside linebackers in 2018. He was a positional coach at Texas Tech for a three-year stint before that. Smith played professionally with the Baltimore Ravens as a linebacker himself.
Losing Smith is a blow mainly because of how talented he is as a coach, but with the Chiefs moving to a 4-3 scheme, an outside linebackers coach just is not a necessity.