The Green Bay Packers hire coveted special teams coach Rich Bisaccia
GREEN BAY - Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur pursued special teams coach Rich Bisaccia with everything he had and on Tuesday, he landed his guy.
A source said the former Las Vegas Raiders interim head coach and longtime special teams coach agreed to a deal and would be signed by the end of the day. The Packers announced the deal Tuesday afternoon.
Bisaccia replaces Maurice Drayton, who was fired after one year.
Bisaccia has 20 years of experience coaching special teams in the NFL and has been an assistant head coach with five teams. Undoubtedly, LaFleur had to convince him that he would give him leeway in evaluating players and deciding which ones to use on special teams on game day.
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Despite being enormously popular among Raiders players and guiding the team to a 7-5 record and playoff berth after coach Jon Gruden resigned Oct. 11, Bisaccia was not retained by Las Vegas. He was a candidate for the Raiders’ head-coaching position but lost out to New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniel and was given permission to seek a job elsewhere.
He interviewed for head-coaching jobs in Jacksonville and Las Vegas, but both teams went in different directions, leaving him open to pursue a special teams job. Among the teams that pursued him were the Chicago Bears and San Francisco 49ers, but LaFleur was able to sell him on coming to Green Bay.
"He has a great relationship with players obviously, respected and liked," said a former Raiders assistant who worked with Bisaccia. "He's a very good teacher, communicator and motivator in the classroom and on the field.
"He's an experienced, solid person you will not have to worry about having any distractions in his life."
Several sources familiar with the pursuit of Bisaccia said the Packers had made it known they were willing to pay a lot for an experienced special teams coordinator. If they offered to make him the highest-paid at his position, as some speculated, they will be paying him around $2 million per year.
However, exact terms of the deal aren’t known and may remain under wraps for a while. Regardless, the Packers are reversing the way they have approached special teams, which had been to not invest a lot of money in coaching contracts. They are investing in a veteran with a proven record coaching special teams after hiring Shawn Mennenga in ’19 and Drayton in ’21, both of whom had been special teams assistants in the NFL.
Bisaccia has been a special teams coordinator for four NFL teams: Tampa Bay (2002-10), San Diego (’11-12), Dallas (’13-17) and Oakland/Las Vegas (’18-21).
Over the last four years, his special teams have ranked 11th, 16th, 25th and 19th in the Rick Gosselin annual special teams ratings.
In 20 seasons, Bisaccia has had eight top-10 finishes in those rankings, including four in nine seasons with the Buccaneers. His best season was in 2009 at Tampa when he finished second.
Bisaccia began his NFL career with Tampa Bay in ’02 when Gruden hired him from Ole Miss to become his special teams coordinator. He had coached for 19 seasons in the college ranks, mostly in charge of running backs and special teams, before joining the Buccaneers.
In 2008, Gruden promoted him to assistant head coach and added running backs to his special teams duties.
After Bisaccia spent nine seasons with the Bucs, Chargers head coach Norv Turner hired him to be his special teams coordinator. His units finished 25th in ’11 and sixth in ’12. After Turner was fired, Jason Garrett hired him to coach Dallas’ special teams and his units finished fourth in ’13, 13th in ‘14, fourth in ’15, 11th in ’16 and fifth in ’17.
It doesn’t appear LaFleur and Bisaccia have any career connections, but Bisaccia has strong ties to defensive coordinator Joe Barry. The two of them coached under Gruden in Tampa Bay and Barry is the son-in-law of Bisaccia’s best friend, Rod Marinelli.
Bisaccia and former New York Giants head coach Joe Judge were considered the top special teams coordinators available when LaFleur began his search. Unlike Judge, Bisaccia developed strong ties to his players and was widely respected.
“Rich is one of a kind," Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby said in an appearance on "The Rich Eisen Show" prior to the McDaniel hire. "Everybody's been asking, what's going to happen? Everybody knows my vote. I made that very clear. I love Rich. I think he's the best man for the job.
“He's come in and done such an amazing job. We won 10 games with a team that's had tragedy, loss, everything you could imagine. And he's found a way to get a group of guys to come together and win football games in January and December, which is rare. Rich is the real deal, he's a leader of men."