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Jags Smith emerges as leading HC candidate


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The Atlanta Falcons' long search for a head coach may be nearing its end.

According to league sources, Atlanta is leaning toward selecting Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator Mike Smith as its next head coach. An announcement could come as soon as Wednesday afternoon.

Smith, Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, Dallas offensive coordinator Jason Garrett (who withdrew from consideration to remain with the Cowboys), and highly-regarded defensive coordinator Rex Ryan, late of the Baltimore Ravens, each interviewed with Dimitroff after the Falcons hired the former New England Patriots college scouting director on Jan. 13.

Frazier, the most recent entry, really impressed new Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and is believed to have been the Falcons' second choice.

But Smith, 48, won over the Falcons with his combination of intelligence, communication and organizational skills, and strong knowledge of personnel. Most important, the team believes Smith to be the most professionally compatible with Dimitroff.

Smith has coordinated Jacksonville's defense the past six seasons. The Jaguars finished 12th in total defense in 2007 after ranking second in 2006 and sixth in 2005. From 1999 to 2001 Smith served as defensive assistant/defensive line coach for the Ravens, helping Baltimore win Super Bowl XXXV after the 2000 season. In 2002, Smith replaced current Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio as linebackers coach.

Despite their interest in Steve Spagnuolo the Falcons decided it wasn't in their best interest to wait another week to interview the New York Giants defensive coordinator until after Super Bowl XLII, when the league allows, a source said.

Two factors led to that decision not to wait to interview and likely offer the job to Spagnuolo, with whom Dimitroff struck up a friendship when the two worked together in the then-World League of American Football and whom some believed was the leading candidate.

First, the Falcons feared being left at the proverbial altar -- again. Bobby Petrino resigned as head coach after 13 games last season. Bill Parcells spurned owner Arthur Blank's offer to run the entire football operation and chose Miami instead. Last week both Garrett and Indianapolis assistant head coach Jim Caldwell pulled out of the running. The Falcons' brass worried they would wait another week, only for Spagnuolo to perhaps remain in New York. Spagnuolo and the Giants already denied one Falcons' request to interview him earlier this postseason, therefore prohibiting a possible second meeting this week.

Second, the longer the Falcons waited to hire a head coach the less likely he would be able to assemble what the team believes is the best possible coaching staff.

The Falcons' search also included meetings with Tony Sparano, since hired as the Miami Dolphins head coach, and Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz prior to Dimitroff's arrival.

Michael Smith is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.

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Atl_Takeover (1/23/2008)
I just seen this on espn also...I really dont know what to make out of this because I really thought it was going to be between Rex Ryan and Spags well let me go do my research on this smith dude.

here did it for you:

"Smith decided to take up coaching after his playing days were over, and would serve at several Division I colleges before moving onto the NFL: San Diego State (1982-1985), Morehead State (1986), and Tennessee Tech (1987-1998). He was hired as linebackers coach for the Baltimore Ravens in 1999, and tutored such players as Ray Lewis, Peter Boulware, Jamie Sharper, and Adalius Thomas. Smith was a part of the 2000 Ravens that captured Super Bowl XXXV. On January 21, 2003, Mike Smith was named defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars for the incoming head coach Jack Del Rio."

-wikipedia

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I didn't like the defensive calls he made against the Patriots at all--it was way too conservative (bend but don't break). I hate the zone defense.

I know there are times you should use it, but come on, Tom Brady will nickle and dime you all the way to the endzone. That's exactly what he did too.

I hope he brings in an aggressive DC!

P.S. Leftwich is a outta here if he does turn out to be the HC.

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McNasty_Bird (1/23/2008)
I didn't like the defensive calls he made against the Patriots at all--it was way too conservative (bend but don't break). I hate the zone defense.

I know there are times you should use it, but come on, Tom Brady will nickle and dime you all the way to the endzone. That's exactly what he did too.

I hope he brings in an aggressive DC!

aggressive or conservative the pats probably would have still won. they are undefeated.

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McNasty_Bird (1/23/2008)
I didn't like the defensive calls he made against the Patriots at all--it was way too conservative (bend but don't break). I hate the zone defense.

I know there are times you should use it, but come on, Tom Brady will nickle and dime you all the way to the endzone. That's exactly what he did too.

I hope he brings in an aggressive DC!

Do you think that Rex Ryan would move laterally to become a DC here? Do you think the Ravens would try to block that move if the Falcons offered it to Ryan?

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Mike Smith's Bio:

Mike Smith

Defensive Coordinator

Mike Smith enters his fourth year as defensive coordinator for the Jaguars. The Jaguars rank among the NFL s best since Smith took over the defensive reins in 2003. The Jaguars rank 7th in overall defense (301.0), 5th in offensive points allowed (16.5), 6th in rushing defense (99.8) and have allowed the fewest rushing touchdowns (23) from 2003-05.

The Jaguars ranked sixth in total defense (290.9) in 2005 and led the NFL by allowing only four rushing touchdowns. Smith was named to the USA Today All-Joe Team, an award that goes to the players and coaches who have overachieved and are often overlooked. Reggie Hayward (8.5) and Paul Spicer (7.5) helped the club rank third in the NFL with 47 sacks, the third-most in franchise history. The defensive tackle tandem of John Henderson and Marcus Stroud anchored a defense that allowed only three opposing backs to rush for 100-plus yards. Stroud was named a Pro Bowl starter for the third consecutive season.

Linebacker Mike Peterson led the defense in tackles for the third consecutive season with 190 and Rashean Mathis led the club with five interceptions. The Jaguars tied a franchise-record with 19 interceptions.

The Jaguars ranked 11th overall in 2004 and led in red zone efficiency and ranked seventh in scoring defense. Henderson, who earned his first Pro Bowl honor in 2004, led the linemen with 98 tackles and 5.5 sacks.

Smith was named the Jaguars defensive coordinator on January 21, 2003. A veteran of 25 years of coaching, Smith, 47, has experience in one form or another with almost every position on defense and on special teams.

Prior to joining the Jaguars, he spent the previous four seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, helping them to their Super Bowl championship in 2000. The Ravens' 2000 defense set an NFL 16-game record by allowing only 165 points. From 1999 to 2001, Smith was the Ravens' defensive assistant/defensive line coach, and in 2002 he was the linebackers coach, replacing Jack Del Rio, who became defensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers. In 2002, Smith coached All-Pro Ray Lewis and Pro Bowler Peter Boulware, who had his finest NFL season, and he was instrumental in the development of second-year pro Ed Hartwell, who made a team-leading 196 tackles.

A native of Daytona Beach and a player in the Canadian Football League, Smith had a 12-year stint at Tennessee Tech (1987-98), the last three as the defensive coordinator. He joined the Tennessee Tech staff as defensive line coach, then served as special teams coordinator from 1988 to '95. He tutored the line for nine seasons before being promoted to defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 1996. With Smith as defensive coordinator, the Golden Eagles defense finished in the top 10 in the nation in both 1997 and 98. In 1998, Smith was promoted to defensive coordinator/assistant head coach.

Before joining Tennessee Tech, Smith was the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at Morehead (Ky.) State. He served as a part-time assistant coach at San Diego State in 1982, and then spent the next three seasons (1983-85) coaching the Aztecs' linebackers. It was at San Diego State where he worked with Brian Billick, who brought him to Baltimore in 1999.

Smith played linebacker for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL in 1982. He played collegiately at East Tennessee (1977-81), where he was named defensive MVP twice at linebacker. As a senior, he led the team with 186 tackles. Smith was a star athlete at Father Lopez High in Daytona Beach and earned All-State honors as a linebacker in 1975. He was born June 13, 1959 in Chicago. He and his wife, Julie, have a daughter, Logan (5/13/00), and live in Jacksonville.

COACHING BACKGROUND: San Diego State 1982-85, Morehead State 1986, Tennessee Tech 1987-98, Baltimore Ravens 1999-2002, Jacksonville Jaguars 2003-06

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bossFALCON (1/23/2008)
McNasty_Bird (1/23/2008)
I didn't like the defensive calls he made against the Patriots at all--it was way too conservative (bend but don't break). I hate the zone defense.

I know there are times you should use it, but come on, Tom Brady will nickle and dime you all the way to the endzone. That's exactly what he did too.

I hope he brings in an aggressive DC!

aggressive or conservative the pats probably would have still won. they are undefeated.

Man please, you act like it's an automatic win when the Pats step on the field. We both know that Brady--or any QB for that matter--has trouble with defenses that get after him.

The Eagles, Ravens & Giants gave him trouble and should have won those games if it weren't for getting too greedy and turning the ball over. We'll see how they do in the SB...it ain't automatic!

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chipster10 (1/23/2008)
McNasty_Bird (1/23/2008)
I didn't like the defensive calls he made against the Patriots at all--it was way too conservative (bend but don't break). I hate the zone defense.

I know there are times you should use it, but come on, Tom Brady will nickle and dime you all the way to the endzone. That's exactly what he did too.

I hope he brings in an aggressive DC!

Do you think that Rex Ryan would move laterally to become a DC here? Do you think the Ravens would try to block that move if the Falcons offered it to Ryan?

They would have to at least make him the Assistant HC; but then again, he isn't working for the Ravens right now...they fired him remember? They said they hope he would sign back with them under the new HC's staff.

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McNasty_Bird (1/23/2008)
bossFALCON (1/23/2008)
McNasty_Bird (1/23/2008)
I didn't like the defensive calls he made against the Patriots at all--it was way too conservative (bend but don't break). I hate the zone defense.

I know there are times you should use it, but come on, Tom Brady will nickle and dime you all the way to the endzone. That's exactly what he did too.

I hope he brings in an aggressive DC!

aggressive or conservative the pats probably would have still won. they are undefeated.

Man please, you act like it's an automatic win when the Pats step on the field. We both know that Brady--or any QB for that matter--has trouble with defenses that get after him.

The Eagles, Ravens & Giants gave him trouble and should have won those games if it weren't for getting too greedy and turning the ball over. We'll see how they do in the SB...it ain't automatic!

i never said it was automatic but i do know the pats are smart. they have played 14 different defenses this year and none of them could hang a L on them. i think that mike would be a good choice though.

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McNasty_Bird (1/23/2008)
chipster10 (1/23/2008)
McNasty_Bird (1/23/2008)
I didn't like the defensive calls he made against the Patriots at all--it was way too conservative (bend but don't break). I hate the zone defense.

I know there are times you should use it, but come on, Tom Brady will nickle and dime you all the way to the endzone. That's exactly what he did too.

I hope he brings in an aggressive DC!

Do you think that Rex Ryan would move laterally to become a DC here? Do you think the Ravens would try to block that move if the Falcons offered it to Ryan?

They would have to at least make him the Assistant HC; but then again, he isn't working for the Ravens right now...they fired him remember? They said they hope he would sign back with them under the new HC's staff.

This is what I meant.....

"A team official explained that the Ravens' coaching staff was "released" but not fired. That means the coaches could look for other jobs, but they could remain with the team if the new coach wants them.

Because Ryan is under contract for another year, the Ravens could block him from taking another defensive coordinator job under NFL rules. They couldn't stop him from becoming a head coach, so Ryan would be free to leave if he gets the Falcons' job."

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/footbal...=bal-tv-utility

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chipster10 (1/23/2008)
McNasty_Bird (1/23/2008)
chipster10 (1/23/2008)
McNasty_Bird (1/23/2008)
I didn't like the defensive calls he made against the Patriots at all--it was way too conservative (bend but don't break). I hate the zone defense.

I know there are times you should use it, but come on, Tom Brady will nickle and dime you all the way to the endzone. That's exactly what he did too.

I hope he brings in an aggressive DC!

Do you think that Rex Ryan would move laterally to become a DC here? Do you think the Ravens would try to block that move if the Falcons offered it to Ryan?

They would have to at least make him the Assistant HC; but then again, he isn't working for the Ravens right now...they fired him remember? They said they hope he would sign back with them under the new HC's staff.

This is what I meant.....

"A team official explained that the Ravens' coaching staff was "released" but not fired. That means the coaches could look for other jobs, but they could remain with the team if the new coach wants them.

Because Ryan is under contract for another year, the Ravens could block him from taking another defensive coordinator job under NFL rules. They couldn't stop him from becoming a head coach, so Ryan would be free to leave if he gets the Falcons' job."

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/footbal...=bal-tv-utility

Chipster, you just answered your own question. If he was released and still under contract, then he's still obligated to the Ravens. I think the only way he can move is if it's to a higher position than he currently has--not a lateral one.

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Chipster, you just answered your own question. If he was released and still under contract, then he's still obligated to the Ravens. I think the only way he can move is if it's to a higher position than he currently has--not a lateral one.

I understand, but I was inquiring on opinions concerning if they "would block" his moving laterally....they have that option, I'm just curious if they would employ it. If hired on as an Assistant HC, could the Ravens then block that move? Just wanting to know if these are viable options & what folks may think....:Wow:

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chipster10 (1/23/2008)
Chipster, you just answered your own question. If he was released and still under contract, then he's still obligated to the Ravens. I think the only way he can move is if it's to a higher position than he currently has--not a lateral one.

I understand, but I was inquiring on opinions concerning if they "would block" his moving laterally....they have that option, I'm just curious if they would employ it. If hired on as an Assistant HC, could the Ravens then block that move? Just wanting to know if these are viable options & what folks may think....:Wow:

Maybe we can do the same and keep Hue as OC. That would be a good thing. Hue's down the field offense and Smiths stout defense.

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McNasty_Bird

I didn't like the defensive calls he made against the Patriots at all--it was way too conservative (bend but don't break). I hate the zone defense.

I know there are times you should use it, but come on, Tom Brady will nickle and dime you all the way to the endzone. That's exactly what he did too.

.

I watched a lot of Patriot games this season and don't recall a defense that stopped Brady and his supporting cast. When they needed to score, they seemed to be able to at will against anyone.

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gazoo (1/23/2008)
McNasty_Bird

I didn't like the defensive calls he made against the Patriots at all--it was way too conservative (bend but don't break). I hate the zone defense.

I know there are times you should use it, but come on, Tom Brady will nickle and dime you all the way to the endzone. That's exactly what he did too.

.

I watched a lot of Patriot games this season and don't recall a defense that stopped Brady and his supporting cast. When they needed to score, they seemed to be able to at will against anyone.

Not only that but the Jags defense was decimated by the time the playoffs came. Heck Stroud, Henderson, and even Big Grady was injured and not at 80%. So the middle of the defense wasn't half as strong as it usually is thats the heart of that defense. Hayward their best DE was out. To be truthful i tinhk to be in the top 11 with all those injuries and still look like a pretty dominant defense is amazing to me.

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Don't know much about the Jags this year but they seemed to have a good defense. I didn't think TD had that much interest in Smith since Steve Spagnuolo got all the hype. My question is, why say your going to wait for Spagnuolo then turn around and now say Smith's is the man? I don't get it. They're scared and they're showing it. If they really want Steve Spagnuolo then wait. Don't settle for the second best. We've done this before and it bit us in A$$$!!! :w00t:

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gazoo (1/23/2008)
McNasty_Bird

I didn't like the defensive calls he made against the Patriots at all--it was way too conservative (bend but don't break). I hate the zone defense.

I know there are times you should use it, but come on, Tom Brady will nickle and dime you all the way to the endzone. That's exactly what he did too.

.

I watched a lot of Patriot games this season and don't recall a defense that stopped Brady and his supporting cast. When they needed to score, they seemed to be able to at will against anyone.

That's not true. I believe Philly was leading and had the opportunity to run the ball and clock down until the backup QB (can't remember his name right now) threw an interception in the endzone. The same exact thing happened to Boller in the Ravens game. If the Patriots were scoring at will they would have been leading those games near the end--they were instead trailing. But I do see your point in that the other teams still didn't stop them from scoring to win in the end.

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FalconFan13 (1/23/2008)
gazoo (1/23/2008)
McNasty_Bird

I didn't like the defensive calls he made against the Patriots at all--it was way too conservative (bend but don't break). I hate the zone defense.

I know there are times you should use it, but come on, Tom Brady will nickle and dime you all the way to the endzone. That's exactly what he did too.

.

I watched a lot of Patriot games this season and don't recall a defense that stopped Brady and his supporting cast. When they needed to score, they seemed to be able to at will against anyone.

Not only that but the Jags defense was decimated by the time the playoffs came. Heck Stroud, Henderson, and even Big Grady was injured and not at 80%. So the middle of the defense wasn't half as strong as it usually is thats the heart of that defense. Hayward their best DE was out. To be truthful i tinhk to be in the top 11 with all those injuries and still look like a pretty dominant defense is amazing to me.

Many reasons. Smokesreens or even the possibility Spags said he would not coach at Atlanta.

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McNasty_Bird (1/23/2008)
gazoo (1/23/2008)
McNasty_Bird

I didn't like the defensive calls he made against the Patriots at all--it was way too conservative (bend but don't break). I hate the zone defense.

I know there are times you should use it, but come on, Tom Brady will nickle and dime you all the way to the endzone. That's exactly what he did too.

.

I watched a lot of Patriot games this season and don't recall a defense that stopped Brady and his supporting cast. When they needed to score, they seemed to be able to at will against anyone.

That's not true. I believe Philly was leading and had the opportunity to run the ball and clock down until the backup QB (can't remember his name right now) threw an interception in the endzone. The same exact thing happened to Boller in the Ravens game. If the Patriots were scoring at will they would have been leading those games near the end--they were instead trailing. But I do see your point in that the other teams still didn't stop them from scoring to win in the end.

aj feely is his name. and yea i think he was referring to the fact that in the end when the patsies know they HAD to score they did. and the defenses couldnt stop them in the end.

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