Three former assistant coaches working with NFL officiating department in 2016

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Before they returned to the league as defensive coordinators this season, former NFL head coaches Jim Schwartz and Mike Smith spent the 2015 season serving as advisors for the league’s officiating department.

There will be more former coaches serving in that capacity this season, but none have served as a head coach. Longtime special teams coordinator Kevin Spencer (pictured), former Buccaneers special teams coordinator Kevin O’Dea and former Raiders defensive coordinator Kevin Bresnahan will be in the jobs this season.

NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino told Alex Marvez of the Sporting News that the different perspective they bring will be valuable because assistants “are the ones in the weeds.” Blandino also likes that two of the coaches have special teams backgrounds.

“What I like is that they coach players from all phases of the game,” Blandino said. “It’s a unique perspective. It’s also one of the more challenging aspects of officiating. Having these guys on board allows us to focus on that more.”

Schwartz said last year that working with the officials gave him an insight into their jobs that would be helpful in the future. He’ll test that theory out with the Eagles and this year’s crop of advisors could get a chance to do the same come 2017.