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Travis Smith is in his first season as defensive line coach for the Bears in 2022. Smith joins the Bears with 12 years of coaching experience, including the last 10 with the Las Vegas Raiders. He most recently served as the Raiders' assistant defensive line coach the past two seasons, where he coached alongside Bears new assistant offensive line coach, Austin King.
Travis Smith is in his first season as defensive line coach for the Bears in 2022.
Smith joins the Bears with 12 years of coaching experience, including the last 10 with the Las Vegas Raiders. He most recently served as the Raiders' assistant defensive line coach the past two seasons, where he coached alongside Bears new assistant offensive line coach, Austin King.
This past season in 2021, Smith tutored defensive end Maxx Crosby to his first Pro Bowl, where he earned Pro Bowl Defensive MVP honors. The third-year defensive end posted a career-high 56 tackles, 8.0 sacks and 30 QBH and seven passes defensed on the season. He teamed up with defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, who added 10.0 sacks last season.
In 2020, Smith guided Crosby to a team-high seven sacks in his second year in the NFL, while also adding 38 tackles, one pass defensed and one fumble recovery after starting in all 16 contests for the first time in his career. Crosby's 17 career sacks are fourth-most in Raiders history by a player through his first two seasons and tied for fifth-most in NFL history by a player drafted in the fourth round or later since sacks became an official statistic in 1982.
In his first season as assistant defensive line coach in 2019, Smith helped oversee a defensive line 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 defensive ends in 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 4.0-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 defensive quality control coach in 2018, Smith primarily worked with the linebackers. He tutored a group that consisted of three new starters, including veteran linebacker Tahir Whitehead and second-year linebackers Marquel Lee and Nicholas Morrow. In his first season with the Raiders, Whitehead played 99.7 percent of the team's defensive snaps and led the team with 126 tackles (89 solo). His 126 tackles ranked seventh in club history.
In 2017, Khalil Mack led the defense with 10.5 sacks and added a career-high 78 tackles (61) and earned his third consecutive Pro Bowl selection.
Throughout the 2016 season, Smith worked closely with the defensive line, coaching 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 strip sack 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 being named AFC Defensive Player of the Month in November.
In 2015, Smith contributed to a defense that featured two Pro Bowlers in veteran safety 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.
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.
In 2013, Smith helped a unit that included three new starters in veteran linebackers Nick Roach and Kevin Burnett and rookie linebacker Sio 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 two years in the collegiate ranks. In 2011, Smith served an offensive technical intern at the University of Colorado. Prior to his time in Boulder, 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.
A native of Walnut Creek, Calif., he attended Foothill High School in Pleasanton, Calif., where he earned two letters as a linebacker and fullback. After graduating, Smith went on to earn a bachelor's degree in kinesiology from Cal Poly State University, where his collegiate playing career was limited due to injuries.
Smith and wife, Christina, have a son, Jackson and a daughter, Harper.