Standouts on special teams have played a pivotal role in the Green Bay Packers’ history. From Desmond Howard winning MVP of Super Bowl XXXI to all-time leading scorer Mason Crosby, it’s part of this team’s identity.
While Howard and Crosby will forever be remembered in Green Bay, the collective performance of the Packers’ special teams in recent years has been nothing short of a disaster.
Atrocious special teams play has cost the Packers games during the regular season and postseason alike. Most recently, special teams played a major role in Green Bay’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the Division Round of last season’s playoffs with a blocked punt returned for a touchdown devastating the crowd at Lambeau Field.
Determined to exercise their demons and ensure devastating mistakes never happen again, the Packers hired Rich Bisaccia as their special teams coordinator. Ever since being hired, one of the best special teams coordinators in the NFL has made his mark on Green Bay.
Rich Bisaccia’s influence on the Packers’ 2022 draft class
After decades of utter incompetence, the Packers’ coaching staff and front office finally realized that if they wanted good special teams, they should focus on acquiring them in the draft, just like every other position.
For this reason, Bisaccia convinced the front office to focus on special teams players in the later rounds of the NFL Draft. As a result, the Packers drafted safety/linebacker Tariq Carpenter, defensive lineman Jonathan Ford, offensive lineman Rasheed Walker, and wide receiver Samori Toure. Toure, by the way, really stood out in the Packers’ recent Family Night.
Pat O’Donnell landed in Green Bay because of ST coach
Last season, Corey Bojorquez was the Packers’ punter and holder for Mason Crosby’s kicks. As the weather in Green Bay got colder, Bojorquez’s holds and punts became messier. One of Bisaccia’s first acts as the team’s special teams coordinator was convincing the front office to move on from “Bojo” and sign punter Pat O’Donnell.
Pat O’Donnell previously punted for the Chicago Bears. He knows what it takes to be an effective holder and punter in the elements. The fact that he struck up a hilarious friendship with Mason Crosby is just an added bonus.
New mentality from Green Bay Packers special teams
After the 2021 season ended for the Las Vegas Raiders, interim head coach Bisaccia took the time to personally write each and every player on the team a “thank you” note. Bisaccia may be tough on his players – with Packers’ beat writers are saying its the most yelling and cursing they’ve heard from that unit in years – but he sure does care for them. They, in turn, care for him too.
Amari Rodgers has already stated that he embraces when Bisaccia chews him out in practice because he knows it’s coming from a man who genuinely wants him to succeed. New Packers safety, and former Raider, Dallin Leavitt, has said he will run through a wall for Bisaccia.
Bisaccia sure likes Leavitt, too, as Matt Schneidman of The Athletic tweeted below:
The only place the Packers’ special teams can go from last season is up. With Bisaccia at the reins, they may be even better than expected.