Go ahead and look up those NFL Mic’d Up segments feature Jon Gruden. When you get to the parts where Gruden was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head honcho, keep a keen eye on who is next to him. In a majority of those sequences, it is Rich Bisaccia, his then special teams coordinator. It is no surprise to see the pair reunite in Oakland. As a result, the Raiders should see an improved return game.
“Rich Bisaccia was our special teams coach when we won the Super Bowl (in 2002). He’s a versatile coach,” Gruden said when he announced a trio of hirings at coordinator during his introductory press conference on Tuesday. “He coached two positions for me in Tampa. He was a running backs coach and the special teams coach. Great leader of men. He’ll do an outstanding job.”
Bisaccia (57 years old) was a defensive back at Yankton College in South Dakota and hails from New York (the Bronx). He cut his teeth in the collegiate coaching ranks for 19 seasons starting back in 1983. As Gruden noted, Bisaccia is a versatile coach holding positions on both sides of the ball. He entered the NFL ranks under Gruden in 2002 and eventually worked with the San Diego Chargers and, most recently, the Dallas Cowboys.
Under Bisaccia, the Cowboys finished third in kickoff return average at 24.8 yards this past season. Dallas ranked 14th in 20-plus yard returns with 17 (one for 40-yards plus).
In comparison, Brad Seely’s Raiders return unit tied for 15th in average (21.7) and 18th for 20-plus yard returns (16) and was tops in 40-plus (four).
Dallas’ punt return unit tied for tenth in average at 8.9 yards, but tied for third with two returns for a score. Oakland’s, meanwhile, ranked 30th (5.7 yards) and hence, did not come close to the end zone.
In the kicking game, Bisaccia’s field goal unit ranked 25th in the league with a 76 percent (22-of-29) rate. Oakland was 24th (76 percent, 16-of-21).
Bisaccia’s punt squad ranked eighth in the league in net yards at 44.1. The group ranked second in punts inside the 20 with 34. In comparison, the Raiders were third in the league in net (47.4) and 15th in punts inside the 20 (28).
Ending the 10-year and seven-year droughts in punt and touchdown returns for a touchdown. Johnnie Lee Higgins 80-yard dash in 2008 stands as the last punt the Raiders housed. Jacoby Ford’s 101-yard sprint in 2011 was the last kick return brought across the goal line.
The electricity provided by the special teams unit is unique and Bisaccia needs to reinvigorate Oakland’s return game.
Additionally, the other challenge is improving the Raiders field goal game while maintaining the quality of the punt unit