One of the league’s most respected special teams coaches is headed to New Orleans. The Saints have hired former Dolphins ST coordinator Darren Rizzi, according to Aditi Kinkhabwala and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). New Orleans has officially announced Rizzi’s hiring.
This week, the Saints chose to move on from their previous special teams staff, which was headed by veteran guru Mike Westhoff. Rizzi will now step in after courting interest from multiple clubs around the league, including the the Bills, Jets, Lions, Packers, and Vikings.
In addition to serving as the Dolphins’ ST coordinator, Rizzi also carried the title of Assistant Head Coach. After the firing of Adam Gase, the Dolphins interviewed Rizzi for the job. When Rizzi didn’t get the gig, he resolved to move on.
The Saints’ dismissal of Westhoff was surprising to many, including Westhoff himself. In 2017, Westhoff’s first year with the team, the Saints’ ST unit improved from 25th in the league to 14th, per Rick Gosselin’s annual rankings. In 2018, they ranked second overall.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.