Paul Guenther


Paul Guenther, entering his 15th season as an NFL coach and his 13th with the Bengals, is in his fourth year as Bengals defensive coordinator. In each of the last two seasons, Guenther’s units have earned top-10 NFL rankings for the Bengals in fewest points allowed.

Paul Guenther, entering his 15th season as an NFL coach and his 13th with the Bengals, is in his fourth year as Bengals defensive coordinator. In each of the last two seasons, Guenther’s units have earned top-10 NFL rankings for the Bengals in fewest points allowed.

      “Our job is to limit points, period,” Guenther says. “It’s not holding a team to 200 yards and have three plays be TDs. Regardless of where they get the ball — the 10-yard line or wherever — let’s go play defense.”

      In 2016, the defense closed with authority and finished eighth in the league in fewest points allowed (19.7). Cincinnati held opponents under 20 points in six of the last seven games and allowed a seven-game average of only 15.0.

      Also, the defense finished with 17 interceptions, just one off the NFL lead, and it ranked seventh in red-zone defensive TD percentage (51.0).

      Defensive linemen Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap led the charge, and both were AFC starters in the Pro Bowl. DT Atkins led all NFL interior linemen in sacks (nine) and was also named first-team All-Pro by The Sporting News. Dunlap was second on the team in sacks (eight) and had a remarkable 15 passes defensed. He was the first defensive lineman to lead the Bengals in PDs, and his total was nearly twice that of the closest NFL defensive lineman in 2016 (Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul, with eight).

      In 2015, when the Bengals tied the franchise’s best finish in a 16-game season (12-4), they led the AFC and ranked second in the NFL in fewest points allowed, at 17.4 per game. The No. 2 NFL ranking was the best in franchise history, topping a fifth-place finish in 1972. The Bengals allowed just two more points (279 total) than league-leading Arizona (277).

      In 2014, Guenther’s inaugural edition led the Bengals to a No. 12 NFL rank in fewest points allowed (21.5), and the defense ranked in the top 10 in nine of the 15 major statistical categories widely monitored by NFL coaching staffs. Among those top 10 rankings were a tied-for-third-place finish in INTs (20) and a third place in lowest aggregate passer rating by opponents (75.8).

      Guenther prepped for the coordinator position by spending 2012-13 as Bengals linebackers coach, overseeing the rapid development of a number of young players, including ’13 season Pro Bowl selection Vontaze Burfict of Arizona State. Burfict joined the Bengals from the college free agent ranks in 2012, Guenther’s first season as LBs coach.

      In his debut as LBs coach, in 2012, Guenther directed a unit that helped produce a No. 6 NFL ranking in fewest yards allowed per game (319.7). The Bengals were eighth in the NFL in scoring defense (20.0). In 2013 with Guenther directing LBs, the Bengals ranked tied for fifth in scoring defense (19.1) and third in fewest yards per game (305.5).

      Guenther held dual roles on the staff from 2006-11, assisting on special teams in all those seasons while also working with a position group. He worked five years with linebackers and one year with defensive backs.

      Guenther (pronounced “GUN-thur”) entered the NFL as an offensive assistant with the Washington Redskins for 2002 and ’03. Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis was one of his associates in ’02, serving as Redskins assistant head coach/defensive coordinator.

      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 ’00.

      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 master’s degree in sports administration from Western Maryland in ’97.

      Paul and his wife Patrice have two sons, Jake and Duke.


     Playing and coaching history: 1990-93—Played linebacker, Ursinus College. 1994-95—Assistant coach (AC), Western Maryland. 1996—AC, Ursinus. 1997—Defensive coordinator, Jacksonville University. 1997-2000—Head coach, Ursinus. 2002-03—AC, Washington Redskins. 2005-13—AC, Cincinnati Bengals. 2014-present—Defensive coordinator, Bengals.

Recent Articles

  • Common ground

    By Geoff Hobson - Posted Jan 16, 2014

    Paul Guenther, the new Bengals defensive coordinator, is his own man. But he's got a lot in common with the coach that helped shape that man.

  • Marvin Lewis, Paul Guenther Press Conference Transcript

    Posted Jan 16, 2014

    "Today I’m here to announce and introduce to you Paul Guenther, our new defensive coordinator."

  • Guenther: No shortcuts

    By Geoff Hobson - Posted Jan 16, 2014

    When Paul Guenther met the media for the first time as the Bengals defensive coordinator Thursday morning, it was not exactly an introduction.

  • Bengals counting on continuity in wake of coordinator raids

    By Geoff Hobson - Posted Jan 15, 2014

    In less than a week Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis has lost two coordinators that anchored three straight playoff runs.

  • Round 4 Transcripts

    Posted Apr 27, 2013

    Head coach Marvin Lewis and linebackers coach Paul Guenther discuss the fourth-round selection of Sean Porter.

Recent Videos