Its widely known around the NFL that the Green Bay Packers have had quite an atrocious special teams for some time now. With Green Bay’s former special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton being fired this offseason and replaced by Rich Bisaccia, , some might believe this unit might be turning over a new leaf.
The fact remains that the Packers have replaced plenty of special teams coaches before, and seemingly always to no avail. According to the rankings of Pro Football Focus, the Green Bay Packers have showcased a 30th or worse ranked special teams in five of the last six seasons, with the unit being ranked dead last in 2021.
If firing Drayton and hiring another unknown entity was as big of a change as the Packers were willing to make moving forward there would have been surely been some unrest. This being due to the fact that during a three year span the Packers fired two special teams coaches in Ron Zook and Shawn Mennenga, only to continue the cycle.
Bringing on Bisaccia
The Packers, however, did something uncharacteristic. They didn’t hire internally, Matt Lafleur didn’t find an old buddy to hire, they made an aggressive play. Bringing on Rich Bisaccia, a highly sought after special teams coordinator who had the chops to take over as the head coach of the Raiders last season, was the last thing many expected.
It was widely believed that the Raiders would retain Bisaccia as head coach, but nonetheless Packers head coach Matt Lafleur had his eyes on him. “I didn’t even think it was gonna happen…” Lafleur said, “but, their loss is our gain.”
Coach Bisaccia also had some encouraging words about his outlook on being in Green Bay. “To be honest with you, I’m kinda re-energized,” Bisaccia said, “I’m in the Mecca of football.”
It is certainly not too bold to assume that this hiring might go differently than others in past years, but only time will tell. The fact remains that the Packers tend to try to develop as many offensive and defensive players as possible, and they don’t often keep a group of guys around year to year just for their special teams ability.
Everyone knows the Packers need a long-snapper who doesn’t get backed up into his own punter. Everyone knows developing defensive players can’t all be amazing at special teams. What remains unknown is if Rich Bisaccia can do enough in one year to at least get the special teams unit to play even. Ideally, Aaron Rodgers’ philosophy of wanting special teams to be “a wash,” would hold true for a team that is trying to handle the departure of one of its best players in Davante Adams.
You certainly don’t need the best unit of specialists in the NFL to avoid having a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown in a close playoff game. It may finally be time for the Packers to return to being at least average when it comes to the oft-overlooked third phase of football.——————
Zack is a college student and cheesehead from California. When he’s not in class or writing, you can find him talking about the Packers on Twitter at @Zack_Upchurch.