The Miami Dolphins have given newly hired assistant coach John Benton a promotion, making him the team’s lead offensive line coach, and added Jack Bicknell Jr. to the staff as his assistant.
The moves came a week after the team fired offensive line coach Jim Turner in the wake of the Ted Wells report into the franchise’s locker room culture, which motivated Jonathan Martin to leave the team and led to a eight-game suspension for Richie Incognito.
“We have two experienced football coaches who have an impressive history working with and developing quality offensive line units,” coach Joe Philbin said. “They are both excellent teachers and are highly respected within the coaching community.”
Benton, who was hired back in January, comes from the Houston Texans, where he coached one of the NFL’s best units for eight seasons. He has 27 years of college experience, and 10 seasons as an NFL assistant.
Bicknell joins the Dolphins after spending the 2013 season as the offensive line coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers offensive line performed well in the team's final eight games in terms of pass protection, but the running game struggled all season long, which led to Bicknell being replaced this offseason.
However, Bicknell’s unit paved the way for running back Le’Veon Bell to produced 1,259 yards from scrimmage, the most by a Steelers rookie surpassing Franco Harris (1,235).
The Steelers did lose starting center Maurkice Pouncey and backup Fernando Velasco to season-ending injuries last season, and a number of injuries led to six different starting units.
Before joining the Steelers Bicknell spent the 2012 season as the offensive line coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. He spent the previous three years as the offensive line coach for the New York Giants.
Before joining the NFL he spent 14 years as a college assistant before becoming the head coach at Louisiana Tech, where the 43 victories he produced from 1999-2006 are still the third-most in school history.
Bicknell comes from a family of coaches. His father, Jack, was the head coach at Boston College (1981-90) prior to becoming the head coach of the Barcelona Dragons (1991-03) of NFL Europe. And his brother Bob has been an assistant coach at the collegiate and professional level since 1993, and in the NFL since 2007. Bob is presently the Eagles’ receivers coach.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun