Former Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Richard Smith was an enigmatic figure during his time at Flowery Branch. He wasn’t controversial; in fact, to be honest, I hardly noticed he was here. That’s honestly not a knock on Smith. He’s a good coach. (Just ask Von Miller.) But head coach Dan Quinn undoubtedly controls the defense. After the Super Bowl loss, the team decided to go in a different direction.
Smith, of course, landed on his feet. He’s the Los Angeles Chargers’ new linebackers coach. In a way this is Smith just returning to his roots. This is the fifth NFL team that’s employed Smith as a linebackers coach. He’s an established, respected defensive mind.
Smith will enter his 30th season in the NFL and has coached with the Broncos, Panthers, Dolphins, Lions and Oilers. Smith has been praised for his work with some of the game’s top linebackers over his tenure, including Von Miller, Jon Beason, DeMeco Ryans, Julian Peterson and Ken Norton Jr.
I can’t definitively parse out why the Falcons chose to move on from Smith. Quinn took over defensive play calling after the bye week and the defense definitely improved. Maybe Smith and Quinn talked it out, and anticipating a lame duck role, Smith asked to look at other opportunities. Or maybe he was just fired and the team sugar coated it. We wish Smith the best of luck with the Chargers. Your thoughts?