Another major shoe dropped in the NFC North, after the Chicago Bears and newly hired head coach Matt Eberflus were able to secure former San Francisco 49ers special teams coordinator Rich Hightower as special teams coordinator in the Windy City. One day later, the Green Bay Packers put pen to paper in making Rich Bisaccia the man for the same job in Wisconsin, in a tit-for-tat signing that adds one of the most respected assistant coaches in the NFL to the Packers' coaching staff.
Bisaccia was a lead candidate in Chicago, but landing in Green Bay is far from a consolation prize for the former Las Vegas Raiders interim head coach.
"Why come here to the Green Bay Packers? Yeah, it's the Green Bay Packers," Bisaccia told media in his first press conference following the hire, via Pro Football Talk. "For me personally, [it's] the opportunity to be at one of the marquee National Football League teams that sets a standard, that has an expectation to play to that standard every day, along with my excitement and my new energy after meeting and visiting with Coach LaFleur.
"What he's done here in a short period of time is unprecedented. He's all football. ... And to be back with [defensive coordinator] Joe Barry, who I was with before — we won a lot of games together at two different places. And just to be a part of a franchise that expects to win and the standard is winning it all. To be a part of something like that, to me, is energizing."
Bisaccia is also wasting no time in trying to figure out the kicker situation at Lambeau Field.
Mason Crosby, the team's resident starter at kicker who's been in a Packers uniform since getting the nod as a sixth-round pick in 2007, is coming off of the worst season of his 15-year career -- missing nine kicks and finishing with a 73.5% field goal percentage in 2021. Despite having not missed a single kick the year prior, there's now plenty of reason for Bisaccia to evaluate the 37-year-old equally against the current staple of backups, namely JJ Molson and Dominik Eberle.
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So, despite Crosby's concrete status as a legend in Green Bay, Bisaccia isn't naming him -- or anyone -- the starter for 2022 just yet.
"Just to kind of see who's who and what's what," he said, via SI.com. "I'd like to see all three before we make a decision."
Bisaccia is a whale of an addition for a Packers team that was summarily dismissed from this year's playoffs on the heels of not only seeing Aaron Rodgers struggle, but also its special teams unit dominated by that of the San Francisco 49ers. It led to the eventual dismissal of special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton and the interviewing of top-shelf candidates like Bisaccia, who also garnered interest as a head coaching candidate for the Jacksonville Jaguars and special teams coordinator for the Bears.
As mentioned above, the Bears going with Hightower kicked the door open for Bisaccia to join their rival.
One of the most respected coaches in all of football, Bisaccia brings both a wealth of knowledge to the Packers as well as the ability to lead -- a players' coach who stepped in during the most controversial time in the history of the Raiders and turned them into a playoff team under the interim tag. But with the Raiders opting for bigger fish in signing former New England Patriots offensive coordinator , the writing was on the wall for Bisaccia, who took his leave and heads to Lambeau.
Bisaccia, 61, began coaching special teams units in 1983 at Wayne State and has long since joined the ranks of the NFL, initially for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and then the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers before taking up residence with the Dallas Cowboys for five seasons -- leaving following the 2017 season to reunite with Jon Gruden, a head coach he won Super Bowl XXXVII with in Tampa. Bisaccia's experience is invaluable, and the Packers should see an instant turnaround in their special teams unit because of it.
"It's not offense [or] defense -- it's We-fense," Bisaccia added. "No other place on the field where offensive and defensive players are together."
As for Crosby, he'll have to show he's still got the juice this summer, or his number might finally be up.