Matt LaFleur's coaching staff is coming together this week, and on Friday he made another hire on the defensive side of the room. A few days after bringing Kirk Olivadotti in board as the Green Bay Packers' inside linebackers coach, LaFleur now has his man for the edge rushers.
The Packers announced the hiring of Mike Smith on Friday evening, and no, this is not the same Mike Smith who recently coached the Atlanta Falcons for several years. This Mike Smith spent the last few years with the Kansas City Chiefs, first as the team’s assistant defensive line coach in 2016 and 2017 before taking over as outside linebackers coach in 2018. The Chiefs have operated in a 3-4 scheme similar to the Packers' under defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, so Smith's experience should translate well to Green Bay.
Smith's efforts in helping his team generate a pass rush were successful in 2018, as the Chiefs tied for the league lead in the regular season with 52 sacks, many of those coming from Smith's unit. Defensive tackle Chris Jones led the team with 15.5, but edge rushers Dee Ford and Justin Houston pitched in 13 and nine, respectively.
In addition to coaching linebackers, Smith also played the position at Texas Tech and was a seventh-round draft pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2005. He spent three seasons with Baltimore, ending each year on injured reserve and missing the entire 2007 season with a shoulder injury. That time with the Ravens represents a clear connection to his new boss, Pettine, who was the Ravens’ outside linebackers coach during that period. In fact, the two are very close to one another, as Pettine calls Smith “one of my best friends.”