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Meet the New Orleans Saints coaches: Darren Rizzi

Rizzi is entering his fourth season with the Black & Gold


Darren Rizzi was named special teams coordinator for the New Orleans Saints on February 11, 2019 and adds the important role of assistant head coach in 2022 under Head Coach Dennis Allen. Rizzi brings 29 years of coaching experience, including a ten-season stint with the Miami Dolphins from 2009-18.

Units that Rizzi has coordinated the past 11 seasons are ranked first in the NFL over that period with 13 blocked punts. Since entering the NFL in 2009, six special teams players have been named to seven Pro Bowls. He has coached six players to the NFL All-Rookie team in the past nine years. Rizzi's units have served in the top half of NFL writer Rick Gosselin's annual special teams rankings in all 11 years that he has served as a coordinator, including first in 2019 and fifth in both 2020 and 2021.

In 2021, Saints special teams ace J.T. Gray received his first career selection as a starter in the league's All-Star Game after leading the NFL with 19 special teams tackles and was also an AP first-team All-Pro. LB Andrew Dowell, in his first full NFL season, tied for fifth in the league with 14 coverage stops and blocked a punt. Rizzi prepared Blake Gillikin for his first season handling punting duties. 29 of Gillikin's punts were downed inside the 20-yard line, ranked fourth in the NFL and tying a team record. The Saints special teams unit ranked fourth in the NFL in opponent average starting position after kickoffs (24.1-yard line) and eighth in punt return average (10.0).

Darren Rizzi Coaching Career

Table inside Article
Team Position Held Years
Colgate (College) Graduate assistant 1993
New Haven (College) Special teams & defensive line coach 1994-96
New Haven (College) Defensive coordinator 1997
Northwestern (College) Special teams & linebackers coach 1998
New Haven (College) Head coach 1999-01
Rutgers (College) Special teams coordinator 2002-07
Rhode Island (College) Head coach 2008
Miami Dolphins (NFL) Special teams coordinator 2009-16
Miami Dolphins (NFL) Associate head coach & special teams coordinator 2017-18
New Orleans Saints (NFL) Special teams coordinator 2019-21
New Orleans Saints (NFL) Assistant head coach/special teams coordinator 2022-present

Take a look at special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi in action as we highlight the New Orleans Saints coaching staff on the sidelines.

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