Defensive Coordinator, Cincinnati Bengals
Paul Guenther is in his eighth season on the Bengals coaching staff in 2012, and this season he will direct Cincinnati’s linebackers.
“I have a high confidence level working with Paul,” said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, “and so does Mike Zimmer (Bengals defensive coordinator). We’re excited about what he can bring our defense in this new role.”
Guenther worked last season in a dual role, with defensive backs and special teams. He also worked closely with Zimmer on blitz techniques, and last season the Bengals ranked fifth in the NFL in sacks (45), up from 27 the previous year. Guenther had an expanded role last year in all aspects of the Bengals defensive strategy on passing downs.
“I like working with Zim because he’s so aggressive and likes to be on the cutting edge,” Guenther says. “It’s important to understand the whole concept. What kind of routes are they running against the pressures? What are the protection schemes against the pressures we run? Get players to understand how they react as well.”
Working with special teams coach Darrin Simmons last season, Guenther helped Cincinnati finish seventh in the NFL in punt return average (11.5 yards per return), seventh in punt coverage (7.2) and third in kickoff coverage (20.8). In 2010, Guenther helped Cincinnati lead the NFL in punt coverage, with an average yield of only 4.8 yards on 26 opponent returns. No foe had a return of longer than 20 yards.
Guenther assisted with linebackers as well as special teams on the Bengals staff from 2006-10, and in ’10, he contributed to a “trifecta” year for the linebackers in the team tackling totals, as starters Dhani Jones, Keith Rivers and Rey Maualuga finished 1-2-3 on the squad.
Guenther (pronounced “GUN-thur”) was offensive assistant on the Washington Redskins staff from 2002-03. Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis was one of his associates in 2002, serving as Redskins assistant head coach/defensive coordinator. Guenther’s primary position assignment with the Redskins was running backs.
From 1997-2000, Guenther was head coach at Ursinus College, an NCAA Division III school in Collegeville, Pa. He was the youngest head coach in college football in ’97, at age 25, and he led the team to the playoffs in ’99 and 2000.
His 1999 Ursinus team finished 10-2, advancing to the second round of the playoffs. The 10 wins were most in school history, and the team broke most of the offensive and defensive marks in the school record book.
Guenther began his coaching career from 1994-95 at Western Maryland. He was an assistant at Ursinus in 1996, moved to Jacksonville University as defensive coordinator in ’97, and returned to Ursinus that same year.
Guenther was born Nov. 22, 1971. His hometown is Richboro, Pa. He played LB in college at Ursinus, setting a school career tackles record (355) while three times earning all-conference honors.
He received his undergraduate degree in communications from Ursinus in 1994, and a master’s degree in sports administration from Western Maryland in ’97.
PLAYING AND COACHING HISTORY - 1990-93: Played LB at Ursinus College. 1994-95: Assistant coach (AC), Western Maryland. 1996: AC, Ursinus. 1997: Defensive coordinator, Jacksonville Univ. 1997-2001: Head coach, Ursinus. 2002-03: AC, Washington Redskins. 2005-present: AC, Bengals.