New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport (92) attempts to block a punt by Carolina Panthers kicker Chandler Catanzaro (4) during the first half of an NFL football game in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018. Content Exchange

The New Orleans Saints have hired Darren Rizzi as special teams coach.

The Saints announced the hiring on Monday morning.

Rizzi spent the past 10 seasons with the Miami Dolphins. Over the past eight seasons, his special teams unit in Miami ranked first in the NFL in blocked punts (11) and second in the NFL in total blocked kicks (22). Rizzi’s units served in the top half of NFL writer Rick Gosselin’s annual special teams rankings in all eight years that he served as the Dolphins special teams coordinator.

The new hire came just 10 days after the Saints parted ways with special teams coordinator Bradford Banta and assistants Kevin O'Dea and Mike Westhoff.

The Saints had what seemed to be a solid season on special teams. Kicker Wil Lutz made 28 of 30 fireld goals, including 26 in a row to break Morten Andersen's franchise record of 25 straight. Lutz also made 52 of 53 extra points this season. The Saints punting unit, led by punter Thomas Morstead, led the league in net yards.  In addition, the team had a key blocked punt by Tayson Hill that sparked a victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and converted a fake punt in the playoffs against the Eagles.  

Rizzi, who became the Dolphins' assistant head coach in 2017, interviewed to be Miami's head coach this offseason before the team hired Brian Flores.

Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @rwalkeradvocate.

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