JOHN BENTON returns for his second season as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator after initially joining the New York Jets as part of Robert Saleh's first staff in 2021. Benton has been directing offensive lines in the NFL since 2004, having blocked for top 10 rushing offenses seven times.
In his first season with the Jets (2021), Benton's group showcased their depth and versatility as 11 different players saw 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 – neither kickoff weekend starters – started and finished both games, while the Jets used 10 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, the third best among all tackles (w/ 400+ pass block snaps according to Pro Football Focus) and the best among left tackles. Additionally, Fant, signed the previous season, 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 10 rushing offenses in each of the 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 running backs – Raheem Mostert, Jeffrey Wilson and Matt Breida – all averaged over 4.40 yards per carry on at least 200 attempts, one of only two teams in the league with at least three such players.
In protection, the offensive line protected Jimmy Garoppolo as the quarterback finished fourth in yards per attempt (8.2), fifth in completion percentage (67.5%) and ninth in passer rating (98.6) among quarterbacks 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 after two years in Miami (2014-15) as the 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, Benton's line helped pave the way for the Texans to finish top 10 in rushing yards in four different seasons, including the 2010 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 six of the top 10 point totals in franchise history, six of the top 10 passing seasons and five of the top 10 rushing seasons, while three different offensive linemen – tackle Duane 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 St. Louis (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 spent 17 years coaching 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) (1990-94), where he coached the offensive line and served as the recruiting coordinator. He returned to Colorado State in 1995, where he spent 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), Benton earned honorable mention All-WAC honors during his junior and senior seasons as well as being named All-Academic team as a senior.
Benton and his wife, Nicole, have two children, Gabrielle and Paige.
New York Jets | 2021-Present
Offensive Line & Run Game Coordinator - 2021-Present
San Francisco 49ers | 2017-20
Offensive Line - 2017-20
Jacksonville Jaguars | 2016
Assistant Offensive Line - 2016
Miami Dolphins | 2014-15
Offensive Line - 2014-15
Houston Texans | 2006-13
Offensive Line - 2006-13
St. Louis Rams | 2004-05
Offensive Line - 2004-05
California University of Pennsylvania | 1990-94
Offensive Line - 1990-94
Colorado State | 1987-90, 1995-2003
Co-Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line - 2000-03
Offensive Line - 1995-99
Graduate Assistant - 1987-90
Colorado State (Offensive Line) - 1983-86