Travis Smith enters his ninth year with the Raiders and his second as assistant defensive line coach. He previously served as the team's quality control - defense coach in 2018.
In his first season as assistant defensive line coach, Smith helped oversee a unit that showed significant improvements from the 2018 season, including a 22-spot improvement in rushing yards allowed per game (140.6 avg. in 2018 to a 98.1 avg. in 2019) and an eight-spot improvement in the team's sack total (13 to 32).
Smith also aided in the development of rookie DEs Maxx Crosby and Clelin Ferrell. Crosby led all Raiders with 10 sacks on the year, as he became just the fourth rookie since at least 2000 to record 10 sacks and four forced fumbles. Crosby's 10 sacks ranked second in the NFL in 2019 and second in franchise history among rookies. Crosby also became the second rookie in club annals to earn AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors after his four-sack performance in Week 11, a mark tied for the second-most in NFL history among rookie defenders. Ferrell also benefited from Smith's guidance, as he posted 4.5 sacks, tied for the eighth-most by a rookie in Raiders history. The Raiders rookie defensive ends combined for 14.5 sacks on the year, the most among all rookie draft classes in the NFL.
As a quality control-defense coach in 2018, Smith worked primarily with the linebackers, a group that consisted of three new starters in veteran LB Tahir Whitehead, and second year LBs Marquel Lee and Nicholas Morrow. In his first season with the Silver and Black, Whitehead played 99.71 percent of the team's defensive snaps and led the team with 126 tackles (89 solo). His 126 tackles ranked seventh in club history and marked his third-straight season with 100-plus stops.
In 2017, Smith aided in the continued development of DE Khalil Mack and sixth-year pro LB Bruce Irvin. Mack led the defense with 10.5 sacks and added a career-high 87 tackles (65) en route to earning his third consecutive Pro Bowl selection. Irvin started all 16 games for the second straight season, tied a career high with eight sacks and tallied a career-high 64 tackles. Under Smith's tutelage, Irvin notched a team-leading four forced fumbles, good for 4th in the NFL.
Throughout the 2016 season, Smith worked closely with the defensive line, aiding third-year All Pro Mack to his second consecutive Pro Bowl and first Defensive Player or the Year honor. Mack's eight-game sack streak during the regular season tied an NFL record, and he came away with a sack-fumble in three consecutive games during that stretch. Mack's elite season earned him numerous individual accolades, including his second Pro Bowl nod, two AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors and the AFC Defensive Player of the Month in November. His campaign was capped with the Pro Football Writers of America Defensive Player of the Year Award and his second First Team All-Pro selection in addition to the Associated Press DPOY honor.
Irvin saw success in his first season with the Raiders, tying a franchise record with a career-high six forced fumbles. Mack and Irvin became one of the most dominant duos across the league, combining for 18 sacks and 11 forced fumbles.
In 2015, Smith contributed to a defense that featured two Pro Bowlers in veteran S Charles Woodson and second-year Mack. Smith worked with Mack as he developed into an elite defender, totaling 15 sacks to rank second in the league and third in franchise history, earning his first Pro Bowl selection. Mack also tied a franchise record with five sacks against Denver in Week 14, becoming just the sixth player in NFL history with five sacks in a single contest since sacks became an official stat in 1982. Smith also helped in the development of rookie DE Mario Edwards Jr., who quickly became a significant contributor, posting 41 tackles (31), two sacks, three passes defensed and three forced fumbles in 10 starts.
Smith worked extensively with the linebackers in 2014. He helped tutor Mack as a rookie, who finished third in the voting for the Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year. He was also named to the Pro Football Writers of America's All-Rookie Team. Mack was also the only rookie named to the 2014 USA Football All-Fundamentals Team, which honors 26 NFL players who exhibit exemplary football techniques for young players to emulate.
In 2013, Smith helped a unit that included three new starters in veteran LBs Nick Roach and Kevin Burnett and rookie Moore. Roach played every snap at middle linebacker and posted career highs in tackles (152) and sacks (5.5), while Moore was named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team after recording 4.5 sacks in his first season.
Smith joined the Raiders after spending the previous two years in the collegiate ranks. Smith was an offensive technical intern at Colorado in 2011. He coached at Santa Monica (Calif.) Junior College in 2010, assisting the tight ends and the defensive linemen. He also served as an undergraduate assistant coach at Cal Poly.
PERSONAL: Native of Walnut Creek, Calif. …Attended Cal Poly, earning a bachelor's degree in kinesiology… Had a limited playing career at Cal Poly due to three shoulder surgeries…Attended Foothill High School in Pleasanton, Calif., earning two letters as a linebacker and fullback…Smith and wife, Christina, have a son, Jackson and recently welcomed a daughter, Harper.