With the next part of our “Coach ’em Up” series, we introduce coaching vet and offensive line specialist Paul T. Boudreau, who enters his 29th NFL season, the most for any offensive line coach in league history.
A Massachusetts product, Boudreau chose to stay home and play for Boston College from 197-1973. His first stint as an offensive line coach was with the Eagles the year following graduation and included numerous college stops before earning his first NFL position with the New Orleans Saints in 1987. In Bourdreau’s seven seasons with the Saints, his group placed in the top three in fewest sacks allowed on four occasions, including a league low (15) in 1992. He then found work in Detroit, New England, and Miami before landing with the Carolina Panthers from 2001-2002; in his first season, the Panthers went from a whopping 69 sacks allowed to 31, a new team record.
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From there, Boudreau was in Jacksonville from 2003-2005. In his first season, Boudreau’s unit allowed 28 sacks, the ninth fewest in the NFL and a new franchise record; running back Fred Taylor ran for 1,572 yards, another Jaguar’s single-season record. Boudreau’s first stint with the Rams spanned 2006-2007 as running back Steven Jackson turned in a career best 1,528 yards before posting his second consecutive 1,000 season. Boudreau then left for Atlanta where he arguably did his best work.
Running back Michael Turner posted a career-high 1,699 yards (second in the NFL) and franchise record 17 touchdowns in 2008, Boudreau’s first season. The Falcons also started rookie quarterback Matt Ryan for the entire season, and he was sacked a mere 17 times, which, you guessed it, was a new franchise record en route to Rookie of the Year honors. The previous year, they surrendered 47 sacks and maintained their success: 19 sacks in 2009, 23 in 2010, and 23 in 2011 for sack rates for four, 3.9 and 4.4 percent respectively.
Boudreau rejoined the Rams in 2012 where the number of sacks allowed decreased from 55 the year before to 35, the 12 best average in sacks allowed per play; Jackson also posted his eighth consecutive 1,000 yard season. Despite starting seven different combinations the following year, the Rams’ 21.8 points per game were the most since 2006 while Zac Stacy’s 973 rushing yards were the third most in franchise history for a rookie. Their 36 sacks allowed were the eighth fewest in the NFL. This past season, they allowed a league-low 18 sacks while finishing seventh in rushing yards per game.