Mike Smith will get a chance at a Jacksonville Jaguars homecoming by interviewing for the head coaching job.
Arguably the best part of the Jack Del Rio era was the dominant defense. That defense was oppressive and suffocated opposing teams, allowing the Jacksonville Jaguars to win many games.
The defensive coordinator that built that defense with Del Rio was Mike Smith. Smith went on to coach the Atlanta Falcons for seven seasons. He turned that franchise around, bringing Atlanta to the playoffs four times including reaching the NFC Conference Championship in 2012.
A return to the Jaguars would be fitting for Smith. It’s where he built his name and it’s where he first got a chance to shine after working for the Baltimore Ravens as an assistant before.
Now Mike Smith will get that chance with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The current Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator is interviewing with the Jaguars for the open head coaching job and the previous history makes it a strong fit.
It isn’t just the relationship that matters, though. Smith has a history of getting results. His Jags defenses never ranked lower than 12th in yards allowed and he has six seasons with defenses in the top 10 in points allowed. His team’s worst rankings were under his Mike Nolan-led defense in Atlanta, which collapsed starting in 2012 through 2014. 2014 saw the defense rank 32nd in the NFL in yards allowed.
Fortunately, it appears that Smith has found his old magic again. The Bucs responded well to him at defensive coordinator, especially in the latter half of the season. The 9-7 Bucs won an NFL-high five games when scoring 19 points or less per the Tampa Bay Times. The defense jumped from 26th in points allowed in 2015 to 15th in 2016.
The Jags could do a lot worse than Smith in the coming coaching search. It’s good to see him being considered. At this point he should be considered a strong candidate.