It’s finally official: Rich Bisaccia is now the special teams coordinator for the Green Bay Packers. The team announced his hiring in a press release Tuesday afternoon, confirming reporting from the previous 36 hours that the decision was coming together.
Ian Rapoport first had the news that the two sides were expected to work out a deal on Monday, the day after the Pro Bowl took place in Las Vegas. That city was Bisaccia’s most recent residence, as he spent the last four years with the Raiders — the last two coming in Las Vegas after the franchise moved from Oakland.
Bisaccia’s hiring likely comes with a big payday from the Packers, who have been loath to offer top-of-market salaries to assistant coaches. However, the mistakes by the special teams in 2021 under Maurice Drayton, who was an internal promotion last offseason, gave the organization the impetus to pay up for a respected, established outside hire.
Those mistakes were numerous, of course. The Packers had four kicks blocked on the season — three field goals and one punt, with one of each coming in the Divisional Playoffs — while kicker Mason Crosby missed nine of his 34 field goal attempts and two of 51 extra point attempts on the season. That gave the Packers by far the worst performance in DVOA on place-kicks of any team this season, while the kick and punt return units both ranked in the bottom three in the NFL.
Bisaccia’s charge will be to turn around this unit, which might feature new faces at all three major specialist positions. Crosby could retire or be released as a potential cap casualty, while punter Corey Bojorquez is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. Meanwhile, long snapper Steven Wirtel was largely responsible for the blocked punt in the playoffs, and was inconsistent after taking over for Hunter Bradley at midseason.
For Bisaccia to succeed in improving the special teams substantially, the Packers may need to re-evaluate their stance on investing in special teams at an organizational level. The Packers have had only one top-ten finish in special teams DVOA in the past 14 years, ranking 8th in 2011, a sign that the franchise has not placed as high a priority on these units as other teams around the league.