Green Bay Packers

Rich Bisaccia Levels Out All the Coaching Departures For Green Bay

Photo Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie (USA TODAY Sports)

When Nathaniel Hackett left to fill the head coaching vacancy in Denver, the Green Bay Packers were left without an offensive coordinator. He took Justin Outten with him, making the former tight ends coach his OC. The Chicago Bears swiped Luke Getsy, leaving the Packers without a passing-game coordinator and quarterbacks coach. But all of it has evened out when Green Bay hired Rich Bisaccia to be the new special teams coordinator.

Green Bay’s offensive coaching staff was massively shaken up early this offseason by all the departures. They all left for promotions: Hackett went from an offensive coordinator to a head coach, Outten went from coaching tight ends to being an offensive coordinator, and Getsy went from passing-game coordinator to calling the plays in Chicago. That is the price of admission when you have an offense that’s been as brilliant as Green Bay’s in three years under Matt LaFleur. Coaches will get bigger opportunities elsewhere. However, it all came in one big wave for the Packers.

But special teams is a whole different story. The Packers were abysmal on special teams under Sean Mennenga in 2019 and 2020. They fired him. But for some reason, they decided the best option was to promote from within for his replacement. It led to utter incompetence from Maurice Drayton and his units across the board. It was flat-out embarrassing in 2021. Green Bay couldn’t do that again. With the hire of Bisaccia, they can finally turn the page. Quantity and quality need to find a balance, and the Packers were dealt a brutal hand, losing Hackett, Outten, and Getsy. But they filled those spots with familiar faces and then went outside the box to get Bisaccia.

Green Bay has long had issues with special teams, but never to the degree displayed this past year. Drayton made an absolute mockery of the title “special teams coordinator” and lasted only one season. He’s fortunate to have made it through the entire campaign. There were multiple reasons to show him the door in-season. Nobody would’ve blamed LaFleur for doing so. In Drayton’s defense, the Packers set up their special teams to fail when they decided not to go outside the organization for the hire. But not even they could’ve predicted it would be as horrendous as it was. Some will wonder if the offense won’t be as dynamic without Hackett, Getsy, and Outten. However, Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams can put most of the doubt to rest if they return.

The offense was terrible against the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs, but the larger sample size paints a far different picture. The offense has never been the problem; the special teams has. That’s why hiring Bisaccia will level out the three main departures to the offensive coaching staff. That, and the wisdom to stick with coaches who know the system on offense by promoting from within that more successful group.

The Packers primarily stuck to in-house candidates to fill those holes on the offense. They named Adam Stenavich the new offensive coordinator, bumped up Luke Butkus to the offensive line coach, and named Jason Vrable the new passing-game coordinator and wide receivers coach. LaFleur had mentioned his desire to promote from within in the offseason, and he stuck to his word. One area he couldn’t afford to do that was in the special teams, and he didn’t.

Bisaccia’s players in Las Vegas raved about him after he took over for Jon Gruden midseason. There may not be a single team in the NFL that went through more turmoil this year than Las Vegas, and Bisaccia got them to the playoffs.

Las Vegas ultimately landed on Josh McDaniels to be the new full-time head coach, and it immediately put Bisaccia in the spotlight. For Green Bay, they will hope the flashy name turns out also to be the right hire. It can’t possibly get any worse than Drayton in 2021.

There will be a lot of changes in 2022. But if No. 12 and No. 17 are back, there’s no reason to believe Green Bay won’t be as dynamic. There may be some hiccups along the way, but remember that LaFleur will continue to call plays for the offense. Losing Hackett is huge, but the Packers aren’t changing play-callers.

The coaching shuffle on offense shouldn’t lead to drastic changes on the field. The plan is for Bisaccia to make drastic changes. His hiring is step one for the Packers to overhaul their entire approach to special teams.

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