March 14, 2011

Coaching staff notes: Bonamego back

The Saints have hired John Bonamego to be their assistant special teams coach.  Bonamego was the Saints' special teams coach for the first two years of the Sean Payton era.

Bonamego, "Bono" to his players, moved on to the same role for the Dolphins in 2008, but was fired in October of 2010 hours after a disastrous 41-14 loss to the Patriots, replacing him with his assistant, Darren Rizzi.

The Dolphins allowed a 103-yard kickoff return touchdown, and had a punt and a field goal blocked that resulted in or led directly to Patriots touchdowns.

The high-energy Bonamego, who coaches with a portable public address speaker on the practice field, returns to the Saints as an assistant to special teams coach Greg McMahon. It is a role reversal - McMahon was Bonamego's assistant from 2006 to 2007 and was promoted after Bonamego left.

According to the football stats website Football Outsiders, the Saints' special teams were ranked 22nd in the league last year and 28th the year before, when the Saints won the Super Bowl.

The Saints have one kickoff return touchdown in the Bonamego/McMahon era - by Courtney Roby in 2009.  Reggie Bush has four punt return touchdowns in his career, the only four of the era.

The Saints also announced that current assistant special teams coach Mike Mallory was moved to assistant secondary coach under new secondary coach Tony Oden.

Many members of the Saints coaching and training staffs were on hand today to run the LSU Pro Day, including Sean Payton, Joe Vitt, and GM Mickey Loomis.

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