Friday, January 20, 2023

Ex-Raiders coach lands interview for head job at AFC team

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The Las Vegas Raiders made a controversial decision when they decided not to give Rich Bisaccia the permanent job as head coach after guiding them to the playoffs. He replaced Jon Gruden after the manager resigned and did an admirable job given the circumstances. The veteran coach did not get another head coaching job this past offseason, eventually taking on the job as special teams coordinator at the Green Bay Packers.

Now that a year has passed, he is once again wanted for head coaching jobs. The Indianapolis Colts announced that they interviewed Bisaccia for their chief post.

Ironically, Bisaccia would replace interim head coach Jeff Saturday if hired. Saturday wasn’t nearly as successful as Bisaccia as head coach, however, so it wouldn’t be a controversial choice. The Colts have interviewed several notable candidates for head coach, including Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, and Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey. That’ll be a tough field for Bisaccia to compete in, but Colts owner Jim Irsay has shown he’s willing to make big swings when it comes to hiring a head coach. Maybe he’s willing to roll the dice at Bisaccia.

Based on what he did with the Raiders in 2021, Bisaccia at least deserves strong consideration for head coaching jobs. However, hiring him would be a significant risk. Teams typically like to hire offensive or defensive gurus as head coaches with the idea that they can fix at least one side of the ball. Bisaccia has coached special teams since the 1980s.

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh is the most notable special teams coordinator to land a head coaching job. He has won 60.7% of his games as a head coach and has won a Super Bowl. However, he is quite the outlier. Joe Judge is the youngest special teams coordinator to land a head coaching job with the New York Giants, and he was fired after two seasons.

Bisaccia is a person in his own right and should be judged for his skills as a coach. He proved last year that he can be the man who calls the shots. However, being the head coach for a full year is a whole different thing. Head coaches have to make tough personnel decisions. That’s something Bisaccia didn’t have much to do with. Pairing him with a strong general manager like Chris Ballard could be a smart move. That would relieve him of having to worry too much about the staff.

What Bisaccia does best are leaders. Several Raiders players wanted him to get the permanent job as head coach after last season. As a leader, it’s hard to find a better coach. The Raiders grappled with chaos last season, but his composed style helped keep the team from imploding. Pairing him with a strong general manager, offensive coordinator and defensive coordinator could be a great recipe for success. It might be worth a team trying to see if Bisaccia can be the guy. If not, it’s hard to imagine that he’ll be nearly as expensive as other top trainer candidates.

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