Last year, Miami Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith was named a dark horse candidate for NFL teams looking for a new head coach. In my opinion, it seemed a bit early, considering he just got to Miami, and head coach Mike McDaniel officially called the plays. But one thing was for certain, sooner or later, teams would start poaching McDaniel’s coaching staff — especially on the offensive side of the ball.
Now, after a record-setting season, Smith has officially received his first head coaching interview, meeting with the Carolina Panthers for their vacant head coaching job, ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting.
Panthers interviewed Dolphins offensive coordinator Frank Smith today for their head coaching job.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 16, 2024
Smith, 42, became the fifth candidate to complete a virtual interview with the team, according to the Panther's official website, joining interim HC Chris Tabor, Baltimore Ravens OC Todd Monken, Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald, and Panthers DC Ejiro Evero.
In 2004, Smith began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Miami (Ohio) before moving on to Butler in 2006, where he became the team’s offensive line coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator. Next, Smith would head to the NFL, where he became an assistant offensive line coach for the New Orleans Saints (2010-2014) before stopping with the Chicago Bears (2015-2017) and Oakland Raiders(2018-2020) as Tight Ends coach.
He would then join the Los Angeles Chargers in 2021 as run game coordinator and offensive line coach, before making his way to Miami to be Mike McDaniel’s right-hand man and offensive coordinator. Now, he finds himself as one of the masterminds behind Miami’s successful offense — one that, despite its late-season collapse — is being replicated all around the league.
Back in November 2022, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network wrote this about Smith and his potential to become a head coach in the league.
Highly regarded in league circles, Smith is in his 13th season as an NFL coach, mostly working with tight ends and offensive line. His close relationships with players and role in developing the likes of Raiders tight end Darren Waller and Chargers left tackle Rashawn Slater speak to his strong personal skills. It’s no surprise he, along with head coach and play-caller Mike McDaniel, have Miami utilizing all its weapons at a high level. Smith’s heavily involved in game planning and with an offensive line that keeps playing better and better.
What are your thoughts on Frank Smith becoming a head coach in the NFL? Do you think it would be hard for Miami to fill his void? Would Darrell Bevell be the next-man up? What about Wes Welker? Let us know in the comments section below!