NEW ORLEANS, LA—Peter Giunta, pronounced GEN-ta, will enter his sixth season as the defensive assistant for the New Orleans Saints. Giunta is a 42-year-coaching veteran in gridiron football, which includes three decades of experience in the NFL and three Super Bowl championships, one with St Louis Rams (now Los Angeles Rams) and two with the New York Giants.
Giunta, 64, is a native of Salem, Massachusetts. After playing cornerback and running back at Northeastern University in Boston from 1974 to 1977, he started his coaching career as a high school coach, leading Swampscott High School in his home state from 1978 to 1980.
After coaching high school, he moved to Pennsylvania to be Penn State Nittany Lions' assistant coach. Serving under legendary head coach Joe Paterno, Giunta helped the Nittany Lions to win the 1982 National Championship.
He then moved to Brown University in Rhode Island. He served as Tight ends coach & wide receivers coach for the Brown Bears from 1984 to 1985, then as offensive coordinator from 1986 to 1987. He then coached Lehigh University Mountain Hawks from 1988 to 1990, mainly handling receiving corps.
Giunta started his NFL coaching career by serving as defensive backs coach for Philadelphia Eagles from 1991 to 1994, then for New York Jets from 1995 to 1996. He then moved to Missouri to coach St. Louis Rams, first as defensive back coach, then co-defensive coordinator, and finally as a defensive coordinator from 1997 to 2000.
He then coached secondaries in both Kansas City Chiefs from 2001 to 2005 and New York Giants from 2006 to 2014.
Giunta helped to mold a secondary group that contributed a lot to Saints' success in the late 2010s. Last season, New Orleans were third in the NFL for takeaways with 26, led the league in interceptions with 18. They also limited offenses, with a total defense, which averaged only slightly over 310 yards per game.
Under Guinta's guidance, each of Malcolm Jenkins, Janoris Jenkins, and Marcus Williams has three interceptions. Safety Marshon Lattimore was also being selected for his third Pro Bowl in four seasons.
Besides veterans mentioned above, former Saints' safety Vonn Bell recorded five fumble recoveries in the 2019 regular season under Giunta, an NFL best, while adding another in the postseason. He also led the defensive backs with 86 tackles.
Defensive back CJ Gardner Johnson, who played nickelback and safety, also improved under Giunta. He posted 46 tackles, along with one interception and two fumbles last season.
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