Packers to Hire Former Raiders Coach to Fix Special Teams: Report

Rick Bisaccia Packers

Getty Interim head coach/special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia of the Las Vegas Raiders looks on before coaching against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium on January 09, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Green Bay Packers have found the man they believe will fix their special teams unit for the 2022 season.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the Packers are expected to hire former Las Vegas Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia as their new special teams coordinator for next season, making him the third person to hold the job in the three years since Matt LaFleur was hired as Green Bay’s head coach.

Bisaccia has nearly two decades of experience as an NFL special teams coordinator with time spent in Tampa Bay (2002-10), San Diego (2011-12), Dallas (2013-17) and Oakland/Las Vegas. He also served as the Raiders’ interim head coach for the majority of the 2021 season, stepping up in mid-October after Jon Gruden was dismissed and leading the team to a 7-5 record and a wild-card playoff berth.

The Packers didn’t waste much time finding a new special teams boss. Bisaccia’s hiring comes just two days after LaFleur announced that Maurice Drayton would not return as their special teams coordinator in 2022, a decision many anticipated after his one and only season in charge of the unit was filled with constant and costly mistakes.

“We are grateful for all that Mo brought to our team the last several seasons,” LaFleur said, via the Packers’ official website. “He is a great man who is loved by our players and coaches and contributed a lot to our success. We wish nothing but the best for Mo, Tonya and the rest of their family moving forward.”

The Packers have not yet officially announced Bisaccia’s hiring.

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Bisaccia Faces Difficult Renovation Task With Packers

The Packers finished in last place in Rick Gosselin’s annual special teams rankings for the 2021 season and experienced just about every third-phase issue under the sun, from blocked kicks and muffed returns to downright awful coverage on both kickoffs and punts. Veteran kicker Mason Crosby also produced the least efficient season of his 15-season career, making just 73.5% (25 of 34) of his field goals.

No performance was more emblematic of the Packers’ special teams issues than their divisional-round playoff loss to San Francisco. During that game, the Packers had a 39-yard field goal blocked, allowed multiple kickoff returns of more than 30 yards and — worst of all — stood and watched as a fourth-quarter punt was blocked and recorded in the end zone by the 49ers for a game-tying touchdown.

Needless to say, Bisaccia is going to have his work cut out for him in Green Bay.

It is possible Bisaccia could have to rebuild the Packers’ special teams unit from the ground up for 2022, including replacing all three of the team’s specialists from last season. Crosby is coming off a shaky season and could easily become a cap casualty with the Packers standing to save between $2.39 million and $3.4 million — per Over the Cap — by moving on from him before the start of next year. Punter Corey Bojorquez and long snapper Steven Wirtel are also scheduled to become free agents in March.

Packers Tab Dunn as New Tight Ends Coach

Beyond replacing Drayton, the Packers have been forced to make several other adjustments to their coaching staff in the weeks since bowing out of the playoffs. Nathaniel Hackett left to become the Denver Broncos’ new head coach and took tight ends coach Justin Outten with him as his offensive coordinator. The Chicago Bears also poached passing game coordinator/quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy, hiring him to help develop first-round quarterback Justin Fields as their new offensive coordinator.

Fortunately, LaFleur was able to resolve most of the holes in his coaching staff with internal hires. He promoted running game coordinator/offensive line coach Adam Stenavich to Hackett’s old post as offensive coordinator and elevated top assistant Luke Butkus to become their new offensive line coach. He also tabbed assistant John Dunn to replace Outten as their tight ends coach and awarded the title of “passing game coordinator” to wide receivers coach Jason Vrable for the 2022 season.

With LaFleur now locking down his new special teams coordinator, the only notable coaching position left to fill on next year’s staff is quarterbacks coach. It also stands to reason the Packers will look to hire a few more lower-level assistants to replace some of their promoted guys, particularly for their offensive line and tight end units.

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