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Report: Bears Hiring DL Coach Travis Smith

The Bears continue to build their coaching staff by reportedly hiring defensive line coach Travis Smith.

Travis Smith Bears Defensive Line Coach Raiders
Photo: Raiders.com

According to NFL insider Ian Rapoport, the Chicago Bears are hiring defensive line coach Travis Smith. Of course, many people, including myself, thought Rod Marinelli would be the perfect defensive line coach, given his history with head coach Matt Eberflus. With that said, what are the Bears getting with Smith?

Travis Smith Coaching Experience

Smith has spent the past three years as the Las Vegas Raiders’ assistant defensive line coach. He has been with the team since 2012, when he started as a defensive assistant coach before serving as the defensive quality control coach and linebackers coach. In essence, the Bears could be getting someone similar to Marinelli because they’ve worked together in Las Vegas.

Before joining Raiders’ staff in 2012, Smith was an offensive technical intern at Colorado. He also coached at Santa Monica Junior College in 2010 and served as an undergraduate assistant coach at Cal Poly.

Bears fans might remember some of these names. Former Bears linebacker Nick Roach played with the Raiders in 2013. Smith was part of the coaching staff that helped Roach set career-high marks in tackles and sacks.

Remember when the Bears pulled off the Khalil Mack trade? Smith worked closely with the Raiders’ linebackers and defensive line, assisting Mack in his development. From 2015 to 2017, Mack had some of his best seasons as a pro. He made three consecutive Pro Bowls and earned 2016 Defensive Player of the Year honors. In those three seasons, he racked up 36.5 sacks, eight forced fumbles, and 52 tackles for loss.

Mario Edwards Jr. also began his career with the Raiders. Smith also helped him grow as a player. In his rookie season, Edwards Jr. started 10 of his 14 games and made an impact with 42 tackles, two sacks, and a forced fumble.

Travis Smith’s experience with both linebackers and defensive linemen could go a long way with the Bears here, as they transition from a 3-4 base to a 4-3. Maxx Crosby just made his first Pro Bowl after recording eight sacks and 30 quarterback hits this season. Crosby finished second for Defensive Rookie of the Year in his rookie season.

Bears linebacker Bruce Irvin had some of his best success with Smith and the Raiders. In 2016 and 2017, Irvin had 57 and 58 tackles, respectively, which are his highest single-season tackle totals to date. He also chipped in 15 sacks and 10 forced fumbles collectively in those two seasons.

The Bears hope Smith can bring his experience and familiarity with their roster and scheme to continue player development and aid in the defensive scheme transition.

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