Former Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith is reportedly emerging as the lead dog in the head coaching search for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“Amid plenty of chatter that Buccaneers defensive coordinator Mike Smith could be the next coach of the Jags, one league source tells PFT that Smith currently is the ‘top guy’ in the search,” writes Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
Smith and Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell have a history, stemming from their time with the Falcons when Smith coached and Caldwell served as the a top personnel man.
Falcons fans remember Smith as a guy who never could get their team over the hump, though he did lead the franchise to five straight winning seasons (all while Caldwell was with the team) before his final two years ended in disaster. He finished his tenure as head coach with a record of 66-46 from 2008-14 while posting a dismal 1-4 record in the playoffs.
A defensive-minded coach, Smith was the defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars under Jack Del Rio from 2003-07. He was also the defensive coordinator this past year for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after taking the 2015 season off.
One wonders how Jacksonville’s offense would be cultivated if Smith were to become the next head coach for the Jags. Doug Bradley was also a defensive minded head coach, and during his tenure Blake Bortles, a quarterback with plenty of promise, floundered.