What does her résumé look like?
Smith spent the previous 12 seasons working for the New York Jets, first as a game day/special events intern, then a college scouting intern, then a player personnel assistant and finally assistant to the head coach in 2014. That head coach was Rex Ryan, who’s now leading the Bills and brought her with him to Buffalo as administrative assistant to the head coach.
“They get along famously,” Robert Smith, Kathryn’s father, told the Post-Standard. “She likes him, he likes her. The fact that he asked her to go wherever he ended up is a big vote of confidence for her. She enjoys working for him very much.”
A quality control coach? What’s that?
It’s an entry-level NFL coaching position. While there is some actual field work with their assigned position coach, most of a quality control coach’s duties involve opponent-specific game preparation, often weeks in advance. Basically, the job consists of breaking down video to learn an opponent’s tendencies and reporting those findings to their position coach.
“We worked quadruple everybody else, but we got to feel like a coach,” Todd Haley, the Steelers’ offensive coordinator who worked in quality control with the Jets, told the New York Times in 2009. “We had responsibility. It’s the greatest job in football as far as learning.”
Said Bengals linebackers coach Matt Burke, who spent five years as a quality control coach with the Titans: “All the information, all the data, all the input, all the organization – that’s the guy. You got to be on point because if the input is wrong on what you are breaking down and what you are putting together then the output is wrong and what we get. As coordinators and coaches you base a lot of your information on what you are getting from those guys. It’s an integral part. You have to trust those guys.”
Is she the first female assistant NFL?
In a full-time capacity, yes. However, she’s not the first woman to have a role in a team’s personnel department. As noted by ESPNW, Connie Carberg was the NFL’s first female scout in the 1970s for the Jets, and (again via ESPN) Linda Bogdan, the daughter of former owner Ralph Wilson, was a scout and served as a vice president and Buffalo’s assistant director of college and pro scouting. Last year, the Cardinals hired Jen Welter as an intern during training camp and preseason to coach inside linebackers.