Packers’ Rich Bisaccia to host kicking competition after Mason Crosby’s 2021 struggles

Another major shoe fell 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 teams coordinator stages in the Windy City. A day later, the Green Bay Packers put pen to paper by making Rich Bisaccia the man for the same job in Wisconsin, in a tit-for-tat signing that adds one of the most respected NFL players at Packers practice. Staff.

Bisaccia was a top contender for Chicago, but landing in Green Bay is no 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 during his first post-hire press conference, via Pro Football Talk. “For me personally, [it’s] the opportunity to be on one of the flagship teams in the National Football League that sets a standard, that expects to play to that standard every day, and my excitement and newfound energy after meeting and making visit to Coach LaFleur.

“What he has done here in such a short time is unprecedented. He is 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 part of a franchise that expects to win and the norm is to win it all. To be a part of something like that, for me, is energizing.”

Bisaccia is also wasting no time trying to figure out the kicking situation at Lambeau Field.

Mason Crosby, the team’s resident starter at kicker who has worn the Packers uniform since being picked in the sixth round in 2007, is coming off the worst season of his 15-year career – missing nine shots kicking and finishing with a 73.5% field goal percentage in 2021. Despite not missing a single kick the previous year, Bisaccia now has plenty of reason to rate the player 37-year-old equally to current replacements JJ Molson and Dominik Eberle.

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 see who’s who and what,” he said via SI.com. “I would like to see all three of them before making a decision.”

Bisaccia is an addition whale for a Packers team that was summarily kicked out of this year’s playoffs after seeing not only Aaron Rodgers struggle, but also his special teams unit dominated by the San Francisco 49ers. This led to the eventual firing of special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton and the interviewing of high-profile candidates like Bisaccia, who also sparked interest as a Jacksonville Jaguars head coach candidate and special teams coordinator. for the Bears.

As mentioned above, the Bears with Hightower opened the door 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 player coach who stepped in during the most controversial period in Raiders history. and turned them into a playoff team under the interim tag. But with the Raiders opting for bigger fish by signing the former Patriots offensive coordinator from New England Josh McDaniels as Head Coachthe writing was on the wall for Bisaccia, who took his leave and headed for Lambeau.

Bisaccia, 61, began coaching special teams units in 1983 at Wayne State and has long since joined the NFL ranks, first for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and then the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers before settling with the Dallas Cowboys for five years. seasons – leaving after the 2017 season to reunite with Jon Gruden, a head coach with whom he won Super Bowl XXXVII 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 an offense [or] defense – it’s We-fense”, Bisaccia added. “No other place on the pitch where offensive and defensive players are together.”

As for Crosby, he’ll have to show he still has the juice this summer, or his number could finally be up.

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