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Thursday, February 2, 2006
Dolphins coach Smith hired as Texans D-coordinator

By Len Pasquarelli
ESPN.com

The Houston Texans on Thursday hired longtime NFL assistant coach Richard Smith as the defensive coordinator for first-year coach Gary Kubiak's staff. The addition of Smith, who served as the Miami Dolphins' co-defensive coordinator in 2005, had been rumored for more than a week.

In addition to Smith, the Texans added Brian Pariani as tight ends coach, Mike McDaniel as offensive quality control coach and Robert Saleh as defensive quality control coach. A 15-year NFL veteran, Pariani will return to the league after a season in which he served as the Syracuse offensive coordinator.

But it is the hiring of Smith, who has coached 18 seasons in the NFL and who will be joining his sixth different franchise, which is most notable. Smith will be charged with improving the play of a Houston defense that statistically ranked next to last overall in the league in 2005, and which was last in defense versus the run.

It will be interesting to see if Smith, who has extensive background in the 3-4 front, maintains that scheme. The Texans used the 3-4 defense during Dom Capers' four-year tenure, but there have been suggestions that Kubiak might want to consider the move to a 4-3.

The original plan when Kubiak was hired was to bring in Smith and Arizona Cardinals linebackers coach Frank Bush as co-defensive coordinators. But because Bush is under contract, the Cardinals denied permission for Houston officials to meet with him. Bush this week was promoted to assistant head coach.

Kubiak also spoke at one point with former Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Jim Bates, but those discussions never produced a job offer.

Smith, 50, has primarily coached linebackers during his NFL career, and is regarded as an innovative planner. His handiwork was evident last season in Miami, where the Dolphins generated 49 sacks, second most in the league.

He began his career with the then-Houston Oilers in 1988 as an assistant on Jerry Glanville's staff. In 1993, Smith moved to Denver, where he worked with Kubiak on Mike Shanahan's staff. His other tours of duty include stops in San Francisco (1997-2002), Detroit (2003-2004) and Miami (2005).

Kubiak continues to await a decision from former Green Bay coach Mike Sherman on a job offer made last week. Under the offer, Sherman would become the assistant head coach and work primarily with the offensive line. Kubiak said that there is no timetable for Sherman's decision.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.