Robert Nunn
Defensive Line


Robert Nunn is in his 28th season as a football coach, his 16th in the NFL and his sixth coaching the Giants’ defensive line.

Nunn’s defensive line has consistently been one of the best and most respected in the NFL.
Robert Nunn is in his 28th season as a football coach, his 16th in the NFL and his sixth coaching the Giants’ defensive line.

Nunn’s defensive line has consistently been one of the best and most respected in the NFL.

The Giants’ defense had 47 sacks in 2014, an increase of 13 sacks over its 2013 total. Nunn’s linemen accounted for 36 of those 47 sacks.

Jason Pierre-Paul had 12.5 sacks, the second-highest total of his career and the highest total by a Giants player since he had 16.5 in 2011. Pierre-Paul also had a team-high 21 quarterback hits. After compiling just 3.5 sacks in the first 11 games, JPP had 9.0 sacks in the final five games.

Pierre-Paul had sacks in seven different games, including six with 1.5 or more sacks. That tied for with Kansas City’s Justin Houston for the NFL’s third-highest total, behind Houston’s J.J Watt and Baltimore’s Elvis Dumervil, who each had seven. JPP had a career-high 2.5 sacks among his seven tackles vs. Washington on Dec. 14.

Second-year pro Johnathan Hankins started all 16 games. Hankins’ 51 tackles was the second-highest total among all 4-3 defensive tackles, trailing only Ndamukong Suh, and his 7.0 sacks placed him second on the team and the highest total by a Giants defensive tackle since Keith Hamilton had a team-high 10.0 in 2000.

Another NFL sophomore, defensive end Damontre Moore, was third on the team with 5.5 sacks. Moore picked up his first career sack at Washington on Sept. 25.

In 2013, the linemen accounted for 27 of the Giants’ 34 sacks, including a team-high 11.0 by Justin Tuck. Nunn quickly integrated into the unit veteran free agent tackle Cullen Jenkins, who started 15 games. He also compensated for the loss of Pierre-Paul, whose season was cut short by a shoulder injury. Mathias Kiwanuka stepped in and finished with 6.0 sacks, his highest total since 2008.

The previous season, the defensive line accounted for 23.5 of the team’s 33 sacks (not counting 3.0 by Kiwanuka, who was listed as a linebacker, but frequently played up front). Pierre-Paul led the Giants in sacks for the second year in a row with 6.5 and was a starter on the NFC Pro Bowl team, his second selection to the game. Defensive tackle Linval Joseph was fifth on the team with 72 tackles (39 solo) and had a career-high 4.0 sacks.

In 2011, the line had 41.5 of the Giants’ 48 sacks, which tied for the league’s second-highest total (not counting 3.5 by Kiwanuka).

Pierre-Paul had a dominating sophomore NFL season, finishing with 16.5 sacks, the fourth-highest total in Giants history. He joined Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor and Michael Strahan as the only Giants with at least 16 sacks in a season. Pierre-Paul was selected to his first Pro Bowl and was named first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press. He was twice named NFC Defensive Player of the Week in December – when he was also named NFC Defensive Player of the Month.

Osi Umenyiora was second on the team with 9.0 sacks despite missing seven games because of preseason knee surgery and an ankle injury suffered on Nov. 28 in New Orleans. Umenyiora and Tuck tied for the Giants’ postseason sack lead with 3.5 apiece. Tuck had both of the Giants’ sacks of Tom Brady in the Giants’ victory over New England in Super Bowl XLVI.
Nunn also helped develop a sturdy tandem of tackles in Chris Canty and Joseph, who improved rapidly in his second pro season.

In 2010, Nunn’s first season with the team, the defensive line played at a high level throughout the season and helped the Giants finish seventh in the NFL in total defense and eighth against the run. The Giants were second in the NFC and fifth in the NFL with 46 sacks, led the league with 39 takeaways and the line was responsible for 21 of the team’s 29 forced fumbles.

Umenyiora and Tuck, a 2010 Pro Bowler, tied for fourth in the NFC and seventh in the NFL – and the team lead – with 11.5 sacks each, the first time the Giants had two players with at least that many sacks since 2005, when Umenyiora had 14.5 and Strahan finished with 11.5.

Pierre-Paul, a first-round draft choice in 2010, finished the season with 4.5 sacks, the most by a Giants rookie since Cornelius Griffin had 5.0 in 2000. Pierre-Paul had two sacks vs. Jacksonville on Nov. 28 and two against Washington the following week to become the first rookie in Giants history with at least two sacks in consecutive games.

Nunn coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive line in 2009 and the Green Bay Packers’ defensive tackles from 2005-08. In 2008, two of Nunn’s players, Johnny Jolly and Ryan Pickett, ranked in the top five in tackles among Green Bay defenders. Jolly set a new career high with 82 stops. Pickett, who joined the Packers in 2006, tallied 236 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 13 passes defensed in three seasons under Nunn.
In 2005, Nunn helped elevate the Packers’ defense from 25th in the NFL before his arrival to seventh in the league. Tackle Grady Jackson started all 16 games for only the second time as a pro and responded with career bests in tackles (72) and passes defensed (four).

Nunn entered the NFL as a defensive assistant with the Miami Dolphins in 2000. The following year, he was promoted to assistant defensive line/quality control coach. He held that role for two years (2001-02), during which time he worked with Pro Bowler Jason Taylor.

In 2003, Nunn coached the Washington Redskins’ defensive line. One of his players was Bruce Smith, who broke the late Reggie White’s NFL career sacks record.

Nunn returned to Miami in 2004 as a special assistant. He began the year working on off-the-field projects and then assisted with the linebackers after Coach Dave Wannstedt resigned with seven games left in the season.

Nunn’s 12-year college coaching experience was highlighted by nine years at Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Ga. After one season as defensive coordinator, the school promoted him to head coach and athletic director in 1992. In his eight seasons holding that position, Nunn posted an outstanding 66-19 record.

He launched his coaching career at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in 1988, heading up the defensive line. He then tutored defensive ends at the University of Tennessee for two seasons (1989-90).

A four-year letterman (1984-87) as a linebacker at Oklahoma State University, Nunn served as team captain in 1987. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education from the school in 1988.
Nunn and his wife, Karen, have five children: a daughter, Josie, and four sons, Noah, Jacob, Nathan and Johnny.

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