COLTS

Colts interview Packers ST coordinator Rich Bisaccia, who impressed in Raiders interim gig

Joel A. Erickson
Indianapolis Star
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INDIANAPOLIS—A wide-ranging Colts coaching search has led Indianapolis to a special teams coordinator who turned in a surprising performance in a difficult situation last year.

Indianapolis interviewed Green Bay Packers special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia on Friday morning.

Bisaccia, 62, has long been considered one of the NFL’s best special teams coordinators, but he turned heads last season by taking over a Raiders team torpedoed by Jon Gruden and Henry Ruggs scandals, steadied the ship and guided Las Vegas to a 7-5 record and a playoff berth under his direction.

Green Bay Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry (foreground) is shown with special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia during the first quarter Sunday, January 8, 2023 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. the Detroit Lions beat the Green Bay Packers 20-16.

Players in Las Vegas openly lobbied for Bisaccia’s candidacy, but the Raiders ultimately decided to go with Josh McDaniels, the long-time Patriots coordinator who backed out of the Colts head coaching job in 2018, a move that ultimately led Indianapolis to Frank Reich.

Bisaccia’s work in Las Vegas was widely respected.

Indianapolis defensive coordinator Gus Bradley had a front row seat, serving as Bisaccia’s coordinator for the Raiders during their improbable playoff run.

“Each team in the league goes through challenging times, three or four a year, and the team that handles those crisis-type situations the best are usually effective,” Bradley said. “It kind of hardened the team, all the adversity that they went through. They were a talented team and they just came together.”

Bisaccia deserved credit for being a steadying force through all the turmoil.

“Rich is a leader of men — he was great — but the advantage of that was he was the special teams coach, so he knew offensively, defensively, he knew every player,” Bradley said. “They knew how he was going to be in the room.”

Bisaccia is the second special teams coordinator the Colts have interviewed in a wide-ranging search, joining in-house candidate Bubba Ventrone, the first candidate to get an interview in Indianapolis.

A special teams coordinator has the advantage of knowing how to work with the entire roster, but they also have to prove they have a vision offensively and defensively, and that they know how to hire the coordinators to execute that vision, a key part of Ravens coach John Harbaugh’s success in Baltimore after a career spent on special teams in Philadelphia before taking over the head job.

Bisaccia has been in the NFL for the past two decades, mostly coaching with Gruden and former Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, but he’s had a chance to work with a lot of coaches, and obviously has a relationship with Bradley, whose Colts defense played good football last year until collapsing under the weight of everything else that had gone wrong in Indianapolis.

“If you can get good people at a great place, then magic can happen,” Bisaccia told the Associated Press after being hired in Green Bay last season.

When the Colts coaching search began, general manager Chris Ballard vowed he’d be patient and leave no stone unturned.

The search so far has reflected Ballard's promise.

In addition to Colts interim coach Jeff Saturday, Indianapolis has targeted five offensive coordinators, six defensive coordinators and two special teams coordinators.

The Colts interviewed special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone, Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn and Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen last week, along with Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson, who elected to stay in Detroit.

Indianapolis is reportedly interviewing Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan on Friday afternoon, Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn on Friday night, and the Colts have reportedly put in requests for 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka and Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale that will likely be granted soon.

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