Options abound for teams looking to fill their head coaching vacancies.
After Black Monday shook the NFL landscape and left five more head coaches unemployed, teams were swift in asking for permission to interview candidates.
Highly touted coordinators such as the Broncos’ Adam Gase, Patriots’ Josh McDaniels and Seahawks’ Dan Quinn were quickly mentioned as candidates. While each of those three have proven to coordinate productive units at the highest left, other position coaches are often overlooked.
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Cowboys special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, 53, might not excite a local fan base the same way other splashy names would, but he brings 30 years of coaching experience. The Redskins reportedly decided to bring in the longtime coach for an interview on Friday.
Before making his way to Dallas, Bisaccia was hired by Norv Turner in San Diego to repair a unit, which saw coordinator Steve Crosby fired. During his two seasons in San Diego, Bisaccia turned the weakness into a strength. In 2012, Bisaccia’s kickoff team allowed one return for a touchdown, ranked as the third best field goal unit (92.6 percent) in the league and led the NFL in punt blocks (3).
“I would say to sum him up, he’s a guy that you would go to war for,” Chargers linebacker and special teams ace Bront Bird said in a text message to FOXSports.com. “He’s a true leader of men. His intensity, passion and most of all knowledge of the craft brings out the very best of his players.”
Unfortunately, when Turner was fired last season, the entire coaching staff went, too.
“He is a tremendous leader of men and knows how to get the best out of players,” nine-time Pro Bowl safety John Lynch wrote in an email to FOXSports.com. “All you have to do is look at the success of John Harbaugh to see that guys that can lead can lead, regardless of if they have been a offensive coordinator or defensive coordinator.”
Bisaccia, who coached in Tampa Bay from 2002-10, was eventually named the assistant head coach, while coaching Lynch. While there, he won a Super Bowl and was also named associate head coach by Jon Gruden in 2008.
Many times one of the most overlooked qualities about a head coach is their ability to manage a team. As a head coach you are looked upon as the one person who will guide a team through adversity and will keep the team’s focus when it’s going good. Great offensive coordinators don’t always pan out to be great leaders of people.
Special teams units are mostly comprised of young players looking to make a name for themselves and veterans holding onto their roster spots. To motivate these guys is a task in its own, but to maximize their potential and get the most out of them truly says something. Bisaccia has done that everywhere he’s been and other notable head coaches have used their special teams experience as a worthy proving ground for their main gig.
Redskins general manager Bruce Allen’s familiarity with Bisaccia dates back to his time in Tampa Bay. While Bisaccia wasn’t on many teams’ radars early in the hiring process, he could prove to be a dark horse when it matters most.