GAITHERSBURG, Md. (CBSDC) — It is unclear whether the Washington Redskins are planning to speak with Danny Smith about the current head coaching vacancy, but the team did speak with another special teams coordinator on Friday.
Rich Bisaccia, who currently leads the Dallas Cowboys special teams unit, is an enthusiastic educator, well-liked by players.
Two players familiar with Bisaccia’s coaching style are convinced the 53-year-old has the pedigree to make the rare jump from special teams coordinator to head coach.
Indeed, the move from commanding special teams to taking charge of an entire roster is a rarity in the NFL, but a leap of faith taken by the Baltimore Ravens on John Harbaugh has paid dividends.
Harbaugh spent nine seasons as special teams coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles before graduating to defensive backs coach in 2007. The following season he was hired by Baltimore and has thus far guided the Ravens to a 71-37 overall record, including a Super Bowl XLVII victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
Bisaccia, who was hired by Dallas last offseason, has 30 years of coaching experience, including 11 at the helm of special teams units.
His passion for educating players would benefit the entire Redskins organization according to one of the players.
The player, who played for the Redskins during Mike Shanahan’s tenure and spoke under the condition of anonymity, believes Shanahan’s coaching staff did a poor job of educating players, subsequently stunting development and on-field production. Bisaccia would be able to remedy the situation in his eyes.
“Washington could benefit from a lot more coaches that could teach well,” he said. “[Bisaccia] does a great job of teaching his players.”
The player believes his benefits would extend far beyond a troubled special teams unit left without a coach following the firings of Keith Burns and seven other Redskins assistants on Black Monday.
“Robert [Griffin III] needs a coach that would teach him some of the other positions,” he said.
The player insinuated Griffin’s sophomore slump would have been less severe had the quarterback been able to develop, through instruction, a better overall understanding of the game.
Despite being healthy, Griffin was benched for the final three games of the season. At the time the decision was announced, Shanahan said the move was in the best interest of the organization as it ensured Griffin’s health for offseason programs. Reports to the contrary suggested the quarterback was benched for performance-related issues.
The second-year franchise player regressed significantly in 2013 following an offseason spent rehabilitating a twice surgically reconstructed knee.
According to the same player, Bisaccia has a solid understanding of all aspects of the game and frequently adapts offensive and defensive concepts for use on special teams. The understanding would serve him well in dealing with players in all three phases of the game.
Bisaccia also excels at ridding rookies and young players of the unorganized “rugby style bull” type of play in college.
The second player remembers being struck Bisaccia’s thoroughness in preparing for opponents. The coach would create a scouting report for every special teams player on the opposing team each week. He described the coach as “very intense” and “very knowledgeable.”
Both players said the coach is easy to get along with and exceedingly fair to everyone on the roster.
“He’s going to get everybody an ample opportunity to succeed,” said one player. “A lot of times you get caught in a situation where a coach likes a guy and you have to play him because that’s what you’re told to do… Rich is going to put the best guy out there to help. Everybody says that, but Rich means it.”
Translation: He doesn’t play favorites.
The Redskins are scheduled to interview Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott on Saturday according to multiple reports. Interviews with Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell and New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell are also reportedly forthcoming.
General manager Bruce Allen has previously interviewed Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.