Richard Smith


College: Fresno State

Experience: 33 years


Richard Smith enters his first season with the Silver and Black as the linebackers coach, bringing with him 42 years of coaching experience, including 33 in the NFL. 

Smith joins the Raiders after serving in the same capacity with the Los Angeles Chargers for the past four seasons (2017-2020). During his time with the Chargers, Smith helped acclimate players to the scheme of current Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley due to his keen insight of the defense working under Bradley's protégé, Dan Quinn in Atlanta.

In 2020, Smith guided rookie LB Kenneth Murray as he paced the team in tackles with 107, setting a franchise record for most tackles by a rookie and the second-most by a rookie in the NFL last season. Smith was reunited with LB Thomas Davis Sr. in 2019, who he coached with the Carolina Panthers for two seasons. Under Smith's tutelage, Davis led the team with 112 tackles while fourth-round rookie LB Drue Tranquill finished second on the squad with 75 tackles.

Smith's group was instrumental to the defense's improvement against the run in 2018, as opponents averaged nearly 30 fewer rushing yards-per-game than the season before. In 2017, his first season with the Chargers, Smith oversaw a position group that saw six different players make starts and had three linebackers intercept passes on the season.

Smith spent two seasons as the defensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons (2015-16). Smith's unit helped the Falcons claim the 2016 NFC Championship to earn a date with the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. Under Smith's guidance, current Raiders DE Vic Beasley recorded a league-leading 15.5 sacks in 2016. In 2015, Smith helped Atlanta's defense see a major improvement, going from 32nd to 16th in total defense.

From 2011-14, Smith coached on four straight playoff teams as the linebackers coach in his second stint with the Denver Broncos, including a 2013 squad that won the AFC title and faced Seattle in Super Bowl XLVIII. During his four seasons in Denver, the Broncos ranked third in the league in rushing defense, fourth in third-down defense and seventh in total defense over that span. Smith helped develop LB Von Miller, who has become one of the NFL's most dominant defenders. Miller earned three Pro Bowl selections during his time with Smith and was named first-team All-Pro in 2012.

Prior to joining the Broncos, Smith served as the linebackers coach with the Panthers for two seasons (2009-10). During his time in Carolina, the Panthers had one of the NFL's top overall defenses and they collected the third-most takeaways in the NFL. Smith also helped guide LB Jon Beason to a Pro Bowl selection in 2009.

Smith had a three-year stint as the defensive coordinator for the Houston Texans (2006-08). During his time with the Texans, Smith's defense produced two Pro Bowlers and two second-team All-Pro performers in OLB DeMeco Ryans and DE Mario Williams. 

In 2005, Smith landed his first post as a defensive coordinator with the Miami Dolphins. That year, Miami finished the season ranked second in the NFL with 49 sacks. 

Smith spent two seasons (2003-04) as the assistant head coach and linebackers coach in Detroit after serving as the linebackers coach in San Francisco from 1997-2002. During his six seasons in San Francisco, four 49ers linebackers earned Pro Bowl honors — Ken Norton Jr., Lee Woodall, Winfred Tubbs and Julian Peterson. 

From 1993-96, Smith coached special teams in his first stint with the Broncos, spending the first two years (1993-94) with the added duty of assistant linebackers coach.

Smith entered the NFL coaching ranks with the Houston Oil-ers from 1988-1992, handling special teams, while also assisting with the tight ends, linebackers and offensive line. During his time with the Oilers, Smith worked closely with Pro Football Hall of Fame OL Bruce Matthews.

Prior to entering the league, Smith spent nine years coaching at the collegiate level. Smith began his coaching career at his alma mater Rio Hondo Junior College in California, coaching the offensive line for two seasons (1979-80). That led to stints at Cal State-Fullerton (1981-83), Cal (1984-86) and Arizona (1987). 

PERSONAL: Former offensive lineman who played at Rio Hondo from 1975-76 before transferring to Fresno State (1977)...Helped Fresno State capture the Pacific Coast Athletic Association title in 1977...Has four children — Morgan, Aimee, Whitney and Travis — and is married to wife, Renee.