New Baltimore Ravens outside linebackers coach Chuck Smith made a name for himself as a pass rusher in the NFL mostly with the Atlanta Falcons and before one season with the Carolina Panthers. Smith posted 58.5 sacks over his eight-year career, including doubt digit sack totals in 1994, 1997 and 1999.
The road to outside linebackers coach has been a long one for Smith. It’s something he knew he wanted to do as his playing days were coming to an end. Smith saw how position specific training was becoming a trend for NFL players. He was a part of the early trend when he started training pass rushers. Out of that, Chuck Smith Training was born in Atlanta.
The process started to yield results with players such as Von Miller and Bud Dupree crediting Smith with helping their game elevate. Smith’s training focused on teaching guys to go pass rush moves. It was almost like a wrestler on WWE that has a finishing move before pinning his opponent for the three count.
“The first thing you want to do is teach him to understand that if you use moves, you’ll have success,” Smith said. “The best players in the NFL who use moves have success. The all-time greats who get sacks and are productive use moves.”
“If I think of [Terrell] Suggs, I think of a long arm with power, right? If I think of Von Miller, all you guys can say he does a what? Spin, right? Reggie White does a what? Exactly, right? Lawrence Taylor did power. Dwight Freeney did what? But the beauty of this whole thing is every one of those guys were taught.”
Smith credited the Bill Walsh Minority Coaches program for getting him the opportunity to work with the Ravens staff back when John Harbaugh first got the head coaching job in Baltimore. Naturally Harbaugh’s staff or the one Smith joined for his first season as an NFL position coach.
Having played alongside greats such as Reggie White and learning from Derrick Thomas, Smith has a lot to offer the young Ravens pass rushers. The impact on the Ravens so far has been teaching them how to use a bull rush despite their size.
Smith’s ability to dissect the pass rush is second to none. Just look at how he breaks down the bull rush.
“Size, weight doesn’t really dictate the best bull rush,” Smith declared. “It has to do with speed off the ball and how you generate power in the angles you take towards the offensive lineman. You want to get them moving. When you go straight into a bull rush, he’s going to be there waiting.”
“We’ve been working on stutter bull, where when you stutter, he’s going to get light on his feet.”
“There are certain angles that you just don’t bull rush from five yards out, but the mindset is, ‘If I get five yards out, I’m going to bull rush.’ But if you’re five yards out, who does it give more to time to see you’re going to bull rush? You want to be tighter. It’s about angles. So, we know we’re going to add power, but when you add that kind of speed, he’s going to have power and he’s going to have success with the bull rush.”
The Ravens group of smaller, lightweight edge players will benefit greatly from Smith’s guidance. The bull rush is just one example. Look for Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo to take off.
The success of the pass rushers is the key.