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Meet the 2024 New Orleans Saints coaches: John Benton

Benton is entering his first season with the Saints


John Benton, a 33-year veteran in the coaching ranks, including 19 in the NFL, enters his first season as offensive line coach with the New Orleans Saints. Of the NFL offensive lines he has directed since 2004, seven seasons those teams have finished in the top ten in the league in rushing yards per game.

Benton spent the 2021-2022 seasons as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator of the New York Jets. In 2022, Benton's position group showcased their depth and versatility as nine different starters formed seven different combinations, with the Jets improving their win total by three games. Before suffering a season-ending knee injury in Week Seven, rookie running back Breece Hall developed and shined behind the Jets offensive line, carrying 80 times for 463 yards (5.8 avg.) with four touchdowns and catching 19 passes for 218 yards with one touchdown. Entering the starting lineup in Week Five after recovering from an injury, starting left tackle Duane Brown did not give up a sack in 12 contests.

In his first season with the Jets (2021), Benton's group had 11 different players see time, including nine different starters that formed seven different combinations. Improving in the system over the course of the season in both the run and pass game, the line helped pave the way for the Jets to average 5.19 yards per carry, the second-best average in the league over the final eight weeks. In pass protection, the line improved their pressure allowed percentage from 32.4 to 25.6 over Weeks 11 through 18, a top half percentage in that span. The line's depth and versatility was on full display in Weeks 16 & 17, as Benton's group – dealing with injuries and COVID - blocked for consecutive games of 150+ rushing yards and one-or-fewer sacks allowed, only the third team in the league with consecutive such games and the first time the Jets did so in back-to-back weeks since 2015. Over those weeks, only two players, Dan Feeney and Morgan Moses – neither kickoff weekend starters – started and finished both games, while the Jets used ten different linemen and seven different starters. Selected in the first round of the 2021 draft following a trade up, rookie left guard Alijah Vera-Tucker allowed just two sacks, the second fewest among all rookies (w/ 500 snaps according to Pro Football Focus) and was named to the PFWA All-Rookie team. Following the loss of second-year standout left tackle Mekhi Becton in Week One, right tackle George Fant switched to the left side for the remainder of the season and allowed pressure on just 3.2% of his snaps, third-best among all tackles (w/ 400+ pass block snaps according to Pro Football Focus) and the best among left tackles. Additionally, Fant finished with the lowest pressure rate allowed of any Jets tackle since 2006. Another second-year free agent signing, Connor McGovern, was graded as PFF's number nine overall center in 2021.

Over Benton's four seasons in San Francisco (2017-20) as the offensive line coach, the 49ers produced the fourth most rushing yards in the league, with top ten rushing offenses in each of his last three seasons, including the league's number one rushing attack in 2019 as they advanced to Super Bowl LIV. Additionally, in his time with San Francisco, three different tailbacks – Raheem Mostert, Jeffrey Wilson and Matt Breida – all averaged over 4.4 yards per carry on at least 200 attempts, one of only two teams in the league with at least three such players. The line protected quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, as he finished fourth in yards per attempt (8.2), fifth in completion percentage (67.5%) and ninth in passer rating (98.6) among signal-callers with at least 25 starts since 2018.

Prior to his time in San Francisco, Benton spent a season in Jacksonville (2016) as an assistant offensive line coach. The Jaguars offensive line allowed 34 sacks, 17 fewer than the previous season (51 sacks allowed)

Benton spent two years with the Miami Dolphins (2014-15) as offensive line coach. In his first season with the Dolphins, running back Lamar Miller and quarterback Ryan Tannehill became the first players in team history to register 1,000 yards rushing and 4,000 yards passing in the same season. Additionally, center Mike Pouncey was a two-time Pro Bowler in his two seasons under Benton, while tackle Brendan Albert was also selected.

The offensive line coach with Houston for eight seasons (2006-13), Benton's line helped pave the way for the Texans to finish top ten in rushing yards in four different seasons, including the 2010 NFL rushing title by Arian Foster (1,616 yards). Foster, a three-time Pro Bowl selection while running behind Benton's lines, averaged 85.8 yards per game, including 94.8 yards per game from 2010-12. Additionally, Benton's eight seasons with the Texans produced five of the top ten point totals in franchise history, five of the top ten passing seasons and five of the top ten rushing seasons, while three different offensive linemen – Brown, center Chris Myers and guard Wade Smith – each earned their first Pro Bowl selections under him.

Benton's first position in the NFL came as the offensive line coach with the St. Louis Rams (2004-05), as the line, anchored by All-Pro tackle Orlando Pace, helped Stephen Jackson rush for the first 1,000-yard season of his career.

Prior to the NFL, Benton coached 17 years at the collegiate level. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Colorado State (1987-90), before moving on to California University (Pa.) from 1990-94, where he served as offensive line coach/recruiting coordinator. He returned to Colorado State in 1995, spending nine years as offensive line coach (1995-99) and co-offensive coordinator (2000-03).

A four-year starter as an offensive lineman at Colorado State (1983-86), the Durango, Col. native earned honorable mention All-WAC honors during his junior and senior seasons as well as being named conference All-Academic as a senior.

Benton and his wife, Nicole, have two daughters, Gabrielle and Paige.

PLAYING CAREER: Colorado State University, 1983-86.

COACHING CAREER: Colorado State, 1987-90 and 1995-2003; California University of Pennsylvania, 1990-94; St. Louis Rams, 2004-05; Houston Texans, 2006-13; Miami Dolphins, 2014-15; Jacksonville Jaguars, 2016; San Francisco 49ers, 2017-20; New York Jets, 2021-22; New Orleans Saints, 2024-.

John Benton coaching career

Table inside Article
Team Position Held Years
Colorado State (College) Graduate assistant 1987-89
California University (PA) (College) Recruiting coordinator 1990-94
Colorado State (College) Offensive line coach 1995-2002
St. Louis Rams Offensive line coach 2003-05
Houston Texans Offensive line coach 2006-13
Miami Dolphins Offensive line coach 2014-15
Jacksonville Jaguars Assistant offensive line coach 2016
San Francisco 49ers Offensive line coach 2017-20
New York Jets Offensive line coach & run game coordinator 2021-22
New Orleans Saints Offensive line coach 2024-present

New Orleans Saints players participated in the team's 2024 OTA practices on June 5, 2024 at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.