For years, the Green Bay Packers have been unwilling to pay top dollar for assistant coaches. This has been an issue most notably with the team’s special teams coordinators, as Green Bay will have its fourth person in that job in the last five seasons for 2022. The penny-pinching came with a price in 2019, when the Packers failed to woo Darren Rizzi, the most sought-after special teams coach on the market that year, and instead hired Shawn Mennenga before firing him two years later.
However, after firing Maurice Drayton earlier this week, there have been few rumblings about what individuals the Packers are targeting as his replacement. At least, that was the case until Saturday, when beat writer Tom Silverstein dropped a huge bit of news. Evidently Rich Bisaccia, who served as the Las Vegas Raiders’ interim coach for much of the 2021 season, is the Packers’ top target:
#Packers coach Matt LaFleur has been in talks with Las Vegas Raiders special teams coach / interim coach Rich Bisaccia bout becoming the #Packers' special teams coach, according to two sources. Packers will have to pay a lot to get him and they may be willing to do it.— Tom Silverstein (@TomSilverstein) February 5, 2022
Silverstein later noted that Bisaccia has a connection in Green Bay, having worked with Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the mid-2000s. Furthermore, Silverstein added that Bisaccia and former Lions head coach Rod Marinelli are best friends, and Barry is famously married to Marinelli’s daughter.
However, although those connections could make some individuals uncomfortable, Bisaccia is arguably the most qualified special teams coach on the market, with a long and successful resume as a coordinator of those units. He has worked in that capacity in the NFL since back in 2002, when Gruden first hired him away from the University of Mississippi to coach the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ special teams. He would stay with Tampa Bay through 2010, working with Barry from 2002 through 2006 and again in 2009, before a two-year stint with the Chargers and a five-year tenure with the Dallas Cowboys that overlapped with Marinelli’s stint as defensive coordinator and defensive line coach. Bisaccia then joined the Raiders when Gruden returned to that organization as head coach in 2018.
While Bisaccia has primarily coached special teams, he has also held the title of assistant head coach in each of those four NFL stops, first receiving that title with the Buccaneers in 2008. 2021 was his first opportunity to act as head coach, however. He earned the respect of the entire Raiders roster this season after taking over following Jon Gruden’s resignation. and leading them to a 7-5 record. That record included a thrilling week 18 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers that earned the Raiders a Wild Card playoff spot.
Although the Raiders did not have an elite special teams unit by DVOA this season — they ranked 21st — Bisaccia led the group to a 13th-place ranking in 2020. His 2018 and 2019 groups were in the mid-20s as well.
However, Bisaccia’s Cowboys special teams units were much better, with DVOA rankings of 8th, 13th, 11th, 9th, and 7th chronologically from 2013 to 2017. And in San Diego, he took the Chargers from a last-place ranking in 2010 before his arrival to 23rd in 2011 and then an 8th-place performance in 2012.
Since Bisaccia has been in the running for head coaching vacancies around the NFL this year — the Raiders considered keeping him on permanently and he interviewed with the Jacksonville Jaguars as well — he would likely require a substantial salary to come to Green Bay. But if the two sides are in talks, perhaps this is a sign that the Packers have determined that their frugality on special teams needs to change.
Stay tuned for more updates on the situation as it develops.