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Coaches

John Benton
Offensive Line Coach
College:
Colorado State
Hometown:
Durango, Colo.
Experience:
10

John Benton is in his eighth season as the offensive line coach for the Houston Texans. Benton’s offensive lines have provided protection and paved the way for some of the top individual and team offensive performances in the NFL in that time and have helped turn the Texans offense into one of the most productive in the League.

Houston set franchise records for total offense each year from 2008-10 and has registered the top three rushing seasons in franchise history from 2010-12, including franchise rushing records in 2010 and 2011. The Texans lead the NFL with 26 individual 100-yard rushing games since 2010 and have led the League in time of possession each of the last two seasons.

John Benton is in his eighth season as the offensive line coach for the Houston Texans. Benton’s offensive lines have provided protection and paved the way for some of the top individual and team offensive performances in the NFL in that time and have helped turn the Texans offense into one of the most productive in the League.

Houston set franchise records for total offense each year from 2008-10 and has registered the top three rushing seasons in franchise history from 2010-12, including franchise rushing records in 2010 and 2011. The Texans lead the NFL with 26 individual 100-yard rushing games since 2010 and have led the League in time of possession each of the last two seasons.

Benton’s line anchored Houston’s third consecutive 2,000-yard rushing performance in 2012 and cleared the way for Arian Foster to lead the NFL with 17 total touchdowns and 15 rushing touchdowns. Foster ran for more than 1,000 yards for the third consecutive year, accumulating 1,424 rushing yards behind the Pro Bowl play of left tackle Duane Brown, left guard Wade Smith and center Chris Myers. Brown became the first offensive lineman in Texans history to earn Associated Press All-Pro First Team recognition.

The Texans ranked fourth in the AFC with 28 sacks allowed and set a franchise record with a League-best 32:53 time of possession in 2012. Overall, Houston’s offense averaged 372.1 yards per game to rank seventh in the NFL, its fourth top-10 performance during Benton’s seven-year tenure.

Houston’s offensive line led the charge in 2011 as the Texans set franchise records with 2,448 rushing yards (153.0 per game) and 546 rushing attempts, and ranked second in the NFL. The run game excelled in the playoffs, averaging 159.5 yards per game in helping the Texans reach the Divisional round. The dominant rushing game also helped set a franchise-record 32:41 average time of possession to the lead the NFL.

The 2011 Texans had two players rush for more than 900 yards in a season for the first time in franchise history, with Foster finishing fifth in the NFL with 1,224 yards and Ben Tate rushing for 942 yards. Foster and Tate both rushed for more than 100 yards in the same game twice during the season, making Houston just the sixth team since 1985 to accomplish the feat. Myers was selected to the Pro Bowl, a first for a Texans lineman, and Brown earned second-team AP All-Pro and PFW/PFWA All-AFC honors.

Benton’s unit paved the way for another record-setting season for Houston’s offense in 2010. The Texans ranked third in the NFL in 2010 with a franchise-record 6,186 yards of offense (386.6 yards per game) and seventh with a franchise rushing record 127.6 yards per game. The team set a franchise record with 390 points (24.4 points per game) scored and helped Foster lead the NFL in rushing and touchdowns scored. Foster set franchise records with 1,616 yards rushing, the most yards ever in a season for an undrafted player, and 18 total touchdowns. It was the third straight season Houston ranked among the NFL’s top-five offenses.

In 2009, the line provided protection for the NFL’s leading passer, quarterback Matt Schaub, who threw for 4,770 yards and 29 touchdowns. Overall, the offense ranked fourth in the League, averaging 383.1 yards per game. The passing attack netted a League-best 290.9 yards per game and gave up the fifth-fewest sacks in the League with 25.

In 2008, Benton’s line featured the same starting lineup for all 16 games, a first in team history. The line paved the way for rookie running back Steve Slaton to set a then-franchise record with 1,282 rushing yards, while the 32 sacks allowed were the third-fewest in team history. The 2008 offense ranked third in the NFL, gaining 6,113 total yards.

Stellar pass protection has been a hallmark of Benton’s lines in Houston. Despite using eight different starting lineups in 2006, Benton’s first season, the Texans surrendered 25 fewer sacks than in 2005. On the ground, the line improved throughout the year and helped the team average 123.4 rushing yards per game in the second half of the season.

The line was even better in 2007, cutting the sack total in half from 2006, allowing 22 on the year, which set a team record. The record-low sack total came while the team attempted a then-record-high 529 passes. The team also rushed for 1,586 yards and 12 touchdowns behind the line.

Benton spent two years working with the St. Louis Rams offensive line prior to joining the Texans’ staff. As the Rams’ assistant offensive line coach in 2004, Benton helped St. Louis reach the playoffs as a Wild Card team and advanced to the Divisional round with an offensive line led by Pro Bowl left tackle Orlando Pace. The Rams’ offensive line helped St. Louis finish fourth in the NFL with 252.3 passing yards per game and produce 1,496 yards on the ground.

In 2005, Benton was promoted to offensive line coach and his unit blocked for running back Stephen Jackson’s first career 1,000-yard season. Rams running backs averaged 1,579 rushing yards during Benton’s two years as the line coach.

Benton lettered at Colorado State from 1983-86 and earned honorable mention All-WAC accolades during his junior and senior seasons. He was a graduate assistant at Colorado State from 1987-90 before moving on to California University (Pa.), where he coached the offensive line and also served as the recruiting coordinator until 1994.

Benton returned to his alma mater in 1996, where he served as offensive line coach until 2000 and added responsibilities as the co-offensive coordinator from 2000-03, sharing duties with current Texans offensive assistant Dan Hammerschmidt from 2001-03.

A Durango, Colo. native, he and his wife Nicole, have two daughters, Gabrielle and Paige. The family resides in Sugar Land.

BENTON’S COACHING LEDGER
2006-13:          Offensive Line, Houston Texans
2005:               Offensive Line, St. Louis Rams
2004:               Assistant Offensive Line, St. Louis Rams
2000-03:          Co-Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line, Colorado State
1995-2000:      Offensive Line, Colorado State 
1990-94:          Offensive Line/Recruiting Coordinator, California University (Pa.)
1987-90:          Graduate Assistant, Colorado State

Related News

Related Videos

  • X's and O's: Benton breaks down long runs

    (4:04) Posted Jan 21, 2011

    Arian Foster broke loose for some long runs in 2010, and o-line coach John Benton diagrams how the guys up front helped make it happen.

  • X's and O's: 2010 Run Game

    (4:17) Posted Jan 19, 2011

    Arian Foster gained 1,616 yards in 2010, and offensive line coach John Benton diagrams how the guys up front cleared the way.