Oakland Raiders, Mike Smith Connection May Not Result in Hire


When Jack Del Rio was hired as the head coach of the Oakland Raiders this past week many expected that he could bring his former defensive coordinator in Mike Smith with him. After all, the duo had success in Jacksonville with the Jaguars, success that helped Smith earn his big head coaching opportunity with the Atlanta Falcons and with his recent firing it appeared to make sense that he could reunite with Del Rio to get back to life as a defensive coordinator.

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However it appears that the potential of that happening has cooled, with NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeting that Smith isn’t on the radar and many feel there is a distinct possibility that the former Falcons head coach could take a year away from the game.

ESPN’s Raiders reporter Bill Williamson also feels that the team’s interview with Eric Mangini could signify that Smith is likely not going to come to Oakland as a DC, a thought that might just be a reality.

Smith is a name that many had hoped would come to Oakland as a defensive coordinator based on the fact that he and Del Rio shared success together in Jacksonville, success that fans had hoped could potentially transfer to Oakland. It appears that Smith may not have the same thought process, potentially opting to take a leave of absence rather than take a demotion to defensive coordinating after his firing from the Falcons.

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Regardless of Smith’s interest, he could still be the top candidate if he makes a decision quickly enough for Del Rio to bring him in. The two do have a mutual bond based on their aforementioned success, but at this point it appears that Smith is the one who doesn’t have the interest in coming on board rather than Del Rio not being interesting in taking him on his staff. A decision from Smith that is certainly puzzling seeing as staying in the NFL as a defensive coordinator would keep his career from going in a serious downward direction.

It may be wise for Smith to consider the Raiders if he ever wants to get back into the head coaching game. At 55 the window for Smith isn’t very large to get another chance at leading a team, making a pairing with Del Rio one of his best possible chances to keep himself relevant and in the NFL coaching rotation. Things change quickly in a year in the NFL, Smith leaving the game altogether is a move that would be puzzling even if it is possible.