ALAMEDA, Calif. – *Paul Guenther *has been named the defensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders, the club announced Friday. Guenther is entering his 16th season as an NFL coach, having spent the previous 13 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, including the last four as defensive coordinator.
In his 13 seasons with Bengals, Guenther (GUN-thur) helped the team win four AFC North titles (2005, 2009, 2013 and 2015) and reach the postseason seven times, including a franchise-record five straight trips to the playoffs from 2011-15.
As the Bengals’ defensive coordinator from 2014-17, Guenther guided a unit that ranked fifth in points allowed per game (20.1) over that time span and ranked in the top-10 in two separate seasons, finishing second in 2015 (17.4), a franchise record, and eighth in 2016 (19.7). Cincinnati also excelled in forcing turnovers, recording 69 interceptions over the last four years, a number that ranks first in the NFL. Guenther also coached his defensive players to eight Pro Bowl selections as the team’s defensive coordinator, including four straight selections for DT Geno Atkins. The Bengals also limited opposing passers to just an 80.1 quarterback rating in his four years at the helm of the defense, ranking first in the NFL over that span.
Last season, Guenther led a defensive group that finished sixth in yards per play, holding opponents to an average of only 4.97. With 21.8 points allowed per game, Guenther tallied his fourth consecutive season as coordinator where the defense averaged under 22 points per game. The unit was also one of just seven teams to have four players with at least five sacks each.
Prior to being appointed the team’s defensive coordinator, Guenther served in various roles on the Bengals’ coaching staff from 2005-13. He spent two seasons from 2012-13 as the team’s linebackers coach, helping guide undrafted free agent LB Vontaze Burfict to a Pro Bowl selection in 2013. Under his direction in 2013, the linebacking corps helped the defense finish third in the NFL in total defense (305.5 yards per game) and tied for fifth in scoring defense (19.1 points per game).
From 2005-11, Guenther assisted on special teams each season, while also working with the linebackers from 2005-10 and the defensive backs in 2011. Guenther helped the Bengals win AFC North titles in 2005 and 2009.
While assisting the Bengals’ special teams units from 2005-11, Guenther helped the group develop into one the better coverage units in the league, ranking sixth in opponent punt return average (7.8 yards) and 12th in opponent return average against (22.0 yards) during that span. He originally joined the Bengals prior to the 2004 season.
Guenther entered the NFL coaching ranks as an offensive assistant with the Washington Redskins from 2002-03, working as an associate to Marvin Lewis, who served as the team’s assistant head coach/defensive coordinator in 2002.
From 1997-2000, Guenther was the head coach at his alma mater, Ursinus College, an NCAA Division III school in Collegeville, Pa. He was the youngest head coach in college football in 1997, at age 25, and he led the program to the playoffs in 1999 and 2000.
Prior to joining Ursinus as an assistant coach in 1996, Guenther coached at Western Maryland for two seasons from 1994-95.
A native of Richboro, Pa., Guenther played linebacker at Ursinus, setting a school record for career tackles, while earning all-conference honors three times.
Paul Guenther's Coaching Background <table width="100%" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0"> <tbody> <tr> <td>Years</td> <td>College/Pro Team</td> <td>Position Coached</td> </tr> <tr> <td>1994-95</td> <td>Western Maryland</td> <td>Assistant Coach</td> </tr> <tr> <td>1996</td> <td>Ursinus</td> <td>Assistant Coach</td> </tr> <tr> <td>1997-2000</td> <td>Ursinus</td> <td>Head Coach</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2002-03</td> <td>Washington Redskins</td> <td>Offensive Assistant/Quality Control</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2004-05</td> <td>Cincinnati Bengals</td> <td>Staff Assistant</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2006-10</td> <td>Cincinnati Bengals</td> <td>Assistant Special Teams/Assistant Linebackers</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2011</td> <td>Cincinnati Bengals</td> <td>Assistant Special Teams/Assistant Defensive Backs</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2012-13</td> <td>Cincinnati Bengals</td> <td>Linebackers Coach</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2014-17</td> <td>Cincinnati Bengals</td> <td>Defensive Coordinator</td> </tr> </tbody> </table>