Rich Bisaccia

Poll: Who Will Become Next Colts HC?

Five years after their Josh McDaniels-to-Frank Reich pivot, the Colts are again conducting a rather interesting head coaching search. This process may well produce an unusual stage.

Indianapolis potentially planning a third round on HC interviews, after holding 12-hour meetings — in some cases — with candidates during the second round, adds a memorable wrinkle to its search to replace Reich. A third round of a coaching search has not happened in at least 40 years, Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star notes. GM Chris Ballard has run the search, but Jim Irsay will make the call. Where will this search end up?

Almost everyone involved in this Indy journey has been mentioned as a finalist or scheduled a second interview. Dan Quinn hopped off the ride midway through, doing so hours after he scheduled a second meeting about the position. Ben Johnson backed out after his virtual interview, staying with the Lions. Giants OC Mike Kafka also has not been mentioned as being summoned for a second meeting. DeMeco Ryans cancelled his virtual interview and chose the Texans over the Broncos. Jim Harbaugh was mentioned as a candidate in December, but the ex-Colts QB did not interview. Otherwise, this search remains one of the most wide open in memory.

Rich Bisaccia, Brian Callahan, Ejiro Evero, Aaron Glenn, Don Martindale, Raheem Morris, Jeff Saturday and Shane Steichen have either gone through a second interview or will do so soon. Eric Bieniemy and Colts special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone have also been mentioned as potential finalists, though neither is believed to have scheduled a second meeting.

This search has produced the rare mix of all three phases, with Bisaccia and Ventrone representing the special teams wing. Ventrone, 40, was Reich’s ST coordinator throughout the latter’s HC tenure, while Bisaccia, 62, is the rare interim HC to have guided his team to the playoffs. The Raiders passed on Bisaccia, leading him to Green Bay. Could he join John Harbaugh as a former ST coordinator to become a head coach?

Irsay went offense twice in 2018, hiring McDaniels and then Reich. This year’s lot of OCs in contention includes Andy Reid‘s right-hand man. Ballard and Bieniemy worked together in Kansas City for four years, and since Ballard left for Indiana, Bieniemy has become Reid’s top lieutenant. Of course, that has famously not led to a head coaching opportunity. Both Doug Pederson and Matt Nagy earned HC chances as Reid’s HC, but teams have paused on Bieniemy, 53. After this latest Chiefs attack led the NFL in offensive DVOA despite trading Tyreek Hill, will the Colts be the team that goes with the oft-bypassed candidate?

Callahan and Steichen are the only other offense-based candidates linked to having paths to the job. Steichen is just 37 and worked with Reich during the future Colts leader’s time as Chargers OC. Ex-Reich lieutenant Nick Sirianni gave Steichen the play-calling reins midway through last season, and it made a major difference in the Eagles’ trajectory. Philadelphia led the NFL in rushing in 2021 and has produced a top-three attack this year, as Jalen Hurts has made considerable strides as a passer. Callahan, 38, does not call plays in Cincinnati but is a candidate for both the Colts and Cardinals’ HC gigs. Joe Burrow is primed to book one of Zac Taylor‘s assistants a promotion, and Callahan is this year’s candidate.

Evero, 42, leads the league in connections to jobs during this year’s cycle, being summoned by all five HC-seeking teams for interviews and being pursued for DC gigs. It appears the Broncos’ DC will land on his feet, despite Nathaniel Hackett‘s one-and-done, and Denver remains interested in keeping him. The Rams also have Evero in mind as a Morris contingency plan. Morris, 46, would be a second-chance HC, but the ex-Buccaneers leader’s first chance came more than 10 years ago. He has rebuilt his stock in Los Angeles, helping the Rams to a Super Bowl LVI win, and Sean McVay staffers are quite popular on coaching carousels. Morris also has a near-three-month run as an interim leader under his belt, having replaced Quinn with the 2020 Falcons.

Martindale, 59 is believed to have interviewed well in his second meeting (the Irsay stage), and he played a key role in the Giants making a surprising surge to the divisional round. He coached the Ravens to three top-five defensive finishes in four DC seasons. Glenn, 50, started late in coaching due to his playing career spanning 16 seasons. The ex-cornerback joins Evero and Callahan as Cards candidates.

Saturday, of course, is the main variable here. Irsay stunned the NFL by hiring the former Pro Bowl center as his interim coach, pulling him off various ESPN sets and onto the sideline. Saturday, 47, won his first game but oversaw a brutal stretch in the weeks that followed. The Colts lost their final seven games and blew an NFL-record 33-point lead during that stretch. While Irsay’s unorthodox choice appeared to backfire, the owner bypassed advice against hiring Saturday in November and is believed to be receiving similar counsel now. Will the Irsay-Saturday partnership somehow continue? The 1-7 record aside, he has consistently been mentioned as a live candidate. With the Panthers passing on Steve Wilks, no interim HC has been promoted in six years.

Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts on this situation in the comments section.

Colts Schedule Second HC Interviews With Shane Steichen, Rich Bisaccia

The Colts have added two more names to their list of HC finalists. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that Indianapolis will conduct a second interview with Eagles OC Shane Steichen this week, while Tom Pelissero of says that Packers special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia will get a second look as well.

Steichen, who also secured HC interviews with the Panthers and Texans in this year’s cycle, has quickly turned into a hot commodity on the head coaching market. The 37-year-old was the Chargers’ offensive coordinator in 2020 — which happened to be Justin Herbert‘s impressive rookie year — and he joined Philadelphia in the same capacity in 2021. Eagles HC Nick Sirianni handed Steichen the play-calling reins midway through the 2021 season, and the Eagles’ pivot to a run-heavy offense drove them to last year’s playoff bracket. Jalen Hurts’ progression as a passer this year helped the team secure the NFC’s No. 1 seed and a spot in today’s NFC Championship Game.

Bisaccia, 62, is one of the league’s most-respected third phase coaches. Of course, he took over as the Raiders’ interim HC in the wake of Jon Gruden‘s resignation in 2021, and he led Las Vegas to a 7-5 record down the stretch, which was enough to secure a playoff berth. That level of success earned him an interview to retain the position on a full-time basis, but the organization pivoted to Josh McDaniels instead. Bisaccia also took an HC interview with the Jaguars last offseason before accepting a job as Green Bay’s special teams coordinator.

Steichen and Bisaccia join a large group of candidates to advance from the Colts’ first round of virtual interviews — which did not include owner Jim Irsay — to a second round of meetings for which Irsay will be present. That group includes interim HC Jeff Saturday, Broncos DC Ejiro Evero, Rams DC Raheem Morris, and Giants DC Wink Martindale. Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy and Indy’s own ST coordinator, Bubba Ventrone, also remain in the mix.

The shadow of Saturday continues to loom over these proceedings. Despite both internal and external backlash, Irsay is said to be “pushing” to remove the interim tag from Saturday’s title and keep the Colts’ former center aboard as the team’s permanent head coach. Here’s the full list of Indianapolis’ HC candidates:

Colts Conduct HC Interview With Rich Bisaccia

Staying true to their stated intentions of a widespread search for their next full-time head coach, the Colts’ list of HC candidates continues to grow. The team announced on Friday that they have completed an interview with Packers special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia.

The 62-year-old has a thorough background as an NFL assistant, having served on five different pro staffs. In each case, he worked primarily on special teams, establishing himself as one of the league’s most well-respected third phase coaches. He expanded his duties on a temporary basis last season, however.

In the wake of Jon Gruden‘s resignation from the Raiders in 2021, Bisaccia took over as head coach on an interim basis. He led Vegas to a 7-5 record down the stretch, which was enough to secure a surprising playoff berth. That level of success earned him an interview to retain the position on a full-time basis, but the organization pivoted to ex-Patriots staffers both in the front office (hiring GM Dave Ziegler) and on the sidelines (hiring Josh McDaniels).

Bisaccia also interviewed in Jacksonville last offseason, but he ultimately ended up making a lateral move to Green Bay. The Packers entered the offseason once again looking for a solution to their long-standing special teams problems, and the team saw notable improvement in that department. Green Bay ranked 17th in special teams DVOA in 2022, after finishing dead last the year before.

One element of their success was the play of first-team All-Pro returner Keisean Nixon. The former UDFA led the NFL in kick return yards, including a 105-yarder which led to his only touchdown. His 25.6 return average ranked fourth in the league, and has helped put Bisaccia back on the HC radar for the 2023 cycle. This is the latter’s first interview of the winter.

With Bisaccia having sat down with the Colts, here is an updated breakdown of their ongoing search:

Packers To Hire Rich Bisaccia As ST Coordinator

Green Bay looks to have their latest special teams coordinator in place. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that Rich Bisaccia is set to be hired by the Packers. 

[Related: Packers Eyeing Rich Bisaccia For ST Coordinator]

The move shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, given the interest the Packers had in Bisaccia and their stated goal of dramatically improving their ST unit moving forward. Not long after the season ended, it was announced that former coordinator Maurice Drayton would not be returning. That marked the eighth consecutive time the top ST coach either retired or was forced out of Green Bay.

Bisaccia was a candidate for the Raiders’ head coaching job, but was always thought to be a longshot for the role. He also interviewed with the Jaguars for their HC vacancy, but he will now be making a lateral move to Green Bay. The 61-year-old will be joining his fifth NFL team, holding the title of ST coordinator with each of the Buccaneers, Chargers, Cowboys and Raiders previously.

While the move isn’t a promotion for Bisaccia, it looks like it will nevertheless be a lucrative one. Brad Biggs of The Chicago Tribune tweets that his contract is expected to “set a new compensation bar for special teams coordinators”. Perhaps this will bring an end to the cycle of underwhelming performances in the third phase of the game for the Packers, while also giving one of the league’s most well-respected coaches a position on a Super Bowl contender.

2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker

Last year, seven NFL teams opted to make a head coaching change. Sean Payton stepping away from the Saints created nine full-time vacancies available this year.

Listed below are the head coaching candidates that have been linked to each of the teams with vacancies, along with their current status. If and when other teams decide to make head coaching changes, they’ll be added to this list. Here is the current breakdown:

Updated 2-7-22 (1:45pm CT)

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Las Vegas Raiders

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

Bears Hire Richard Hightower As ST Coordinator

New Bears head coach Matt Eberflus continues to fill out his first staff. Chicago has hired Richard Hightower as its special teams coordinator, the team announced.

This move qualifies as something of a surprise. Hightower had served as the 49ers’ ST coordinator since 2017, joining the Niners when Kyle Shanahan accepted the team’s head coaching post. The two men were college teammates at the University of Texas, and they also worked together on coaching staffs in Houston, Washington, and Cleveland, so it may have been difficult for Eberflus to prise Hightower away from San Francisco.

On the other hand, the 49ers’ special teams units generally struggled over the past several years and ranked 26th in the league in terms of DVOA in 2021, so Shanahan may have been more willing to let his longtime colleague depart than he might have been in years past. Still, Hightower remains a respected coach, and from 2017-19, San Francisco’s kicking unit ranked first in the NFL in made field goals (102) and fourth in field goal percentage (89.5). The club’s punt coverage ranked second in the league over that three-year span (h/t Of course, Hightower’s charges also played a pivotal role in the Niners’ upset of the Packers in this year’s divisional round matchup, blocking a field goal on the final play of the first half and returning a blocked punt for the team’s only touchdown.

Rich Bisaccia was recently considered the favorite for the Bears’ ST coordinator post, and as Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets, Bisaccia was indeed the first choice. It sounds as if Eberflus would have been willing to let Chris Tabor, who worked as Chicago’s special teams coordinator from 2018-21, to continue in his role, but Tabor jumped ship to the Panthers.

Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, among others, believes this move means that Bisaccia will be heading to Green Bay (Twitter link). We heard just yesterday that the Packers are in talks with Bisaccia about their own ST coordinator vacancy.

Hightower, 41, worked as Chicago’s assistant special teams coordinator in 2016. He has 15 years of coaching experience in the NFL.

Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network first reported that the Bears were hiring Hightower (via Twitter).

Packers Eyeing Rich Bisaccia For ST Coordinator

After losing out on the Raiders HC job, Rich Bisaccia may quickly land on his feet. According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (via Twitter), Bisaccia has had talks with Packers head coach Matt LaFleur about joining the staff as special teams coordinator.

Per the reporter, the Packers would have to pay up if they want the long-time ST coach to join Green Bay, but the organization may be willing to meet his demands. One thing going for the Packers is Bisaccia’s relationship with defensive coordinator Joe Barry; per Silverstein (on Twitter), the two worked together in Tampa Bay, and Barry is the son-in-law of Rod Marinelli, who is Bisaccia’s “best friend.”

Bisaccia has spent close to two decades in the NFL as a special teams coordinator, having worked for the Buccaneers, Chargers, Cowboys, and Raiders. He joined the Raiders organization in 2018, and he took on the role of interim head coach following the ousting of Jon Gruden in 2021. The 61-year-old ended up guiding the team to a 7-5 record and a playoff appearance.

Following his brief success as HC, Bisaccia had been considered for head coaching gigs with the Raiders and Jaguars this offseason. Meanwhile, the Packers recently moved on from ST coordinator Maurice Drayton following a playoff loss that saw the Packers allow a blocked punt (which was returned for a touchdown) and a blocked field goal.

Updates To Eberflus’ New Bears’ Staff

New head coach Matt Eberflus has wasted no time in starting to piece together his new coaching staff in Chicago. 

The Colts’ former defensive coordinator will bring some familiar names with him from Indianapolis on the defensive side of the ball. According to Zak Keefer, of The Athletic, it’s been confirmed that linebackers coach Dave Borgonzi will follow Eberflus to Chicago to retain the same position. Borgonzi has played a crucial role in the development of players like Darius Leonard, Anthony Walker, and Bobby Okereke. Rumors have been circulating that cornerbacks coach James Rowe and defensive line coach Rod Marinelli could soon follow in Borgonzi’s footsteps.

On the offensive side of the ball, Eberflus will have to build a new system. We’ve already seen Eagles’ passing-game coordinator Kevin Patullo’s name surface as a potential coordinator, especially being a former coworker of the Bears’ new skipper in Indianapolis. We’ve also seen Packers’ quarterbacks coach Luke Getsy‘s name mentioned as the favorite candidate to land the coordinator job.

Still nothing has been announced, but Sanjay Lal, who has coached wide receivers for six different NFL teams, most recently in Jacksonville, is reportedly interviewing today for the offensive coordinator job, according to Jane Slater of NFL Network. A London-native, Lal started out coaching in a California high school for about six years before earning opportunities to coach at a few local colleges, culminating in a position as the quarterbacks coach at the University of California, Berkeley. Lal got his first NFL opportunity joining Lane Kiffin‘s Oakland Raiders staff in 2007 as a quality control coach, getting promoted to wide receivers coach in 2009. The journeyman coach then spent time as a wide receivers coach for the Jets, Bills, Colts, and Cowboys before not being retained in Dallas when Mike McCarthy took over. After spending a year as a senior offensive assistant in Seattle for a year, Lal got another chance to coach wide receivers for the Jaguars under Urban Meyer, where he spent the past season.

The only other offensive position we’ve heard about comes from Sports Mockery writer Erik Lambert who reports that Eberflus and the Bears will pursue Browns’ offensive line coach Bill Callahan. Callahan has coached a laundry list of Pro Bowl players over the years and has two connections to the Bears’ job. Firstly, he worked with Eberflus in Dallas for about three seasons, and, second, Callahan was born and raised in Chicago.

Two names have surfaced so far at the special teams coordinator position. Lambert mentions Raiders’ interim-head coach Rich Bisaccia as the favorite to take over the special teams unit in Chicago as it becomes less and less likely that he’ll be retained as the head ball coach in Las Vegas. The other name mentioned came from Jordan Raanan who covers the Giants for ESPN. Ranaan tweeted out that Giants’ special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey is scheduled to interview for the same position with the Bears tomorrow. McGaughey has already interviewed for the Chargers’ special teams coordinator job and has not ruled out remaining with the Giants.

It’s an impressive potential lineup for Eberflus as he attempts to put together his first full staff as a head coach. Updates should be expected shortly as all the names mentioned so far are no longer participating in the playoffs.

Matt Rhule Eyeing Michigan Job

With next season looking more and more like a make-or-break year for Matt Rhule, the Panthers’ head coach may be making anticipatory moves to stay employed. Jason La Canfora, of CBS Sports, reported that Rhule, and potentially other head coaches in the NFL, may set their sights on the University of Michigan opening, should current head coach Jim Harbaugh be drawn to Las Vegas. 

Harbaugh is currently negotiating with Michigan after he led the Wolverines to their first College Football Playoff appearance and their first outright Big Ten Championship since 2003. He had signed an extension at the start of the season to secure him in Ann Arbor through 2025, but, with mounting interest from the Raiders, the negotiations are giving Michigan a chance to convince him to stay. The Raiders are searching for a new general manager as well as head coach, following the departures of Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden. Harbaugh isn’t the only target in Vegas, though. He’ll have to compete with interim head coach Rich Bisaccia, who, despite a season of turmoil, led the Raiders to a Wild Card spot in the playoffs. Jerod Mayo and DeMeco Ryans have also been mentioned as candidates.

Rhule’s interest in heading back down to the college ranks of coaching have not quite been a secret. Sources have informed La Canfora that Rhule was watching the situations at Penn State and LSU closely, in case a beneficial opportunity presented itself.

Rhule got his first head coaching opportunity at Temple in Philadelphia, where he had spent years as an assistant under Al Golden. He took his first Power 5 opportunity as the head coach at Baylor, following the scandal that led to Art Briles‘s dismissal. He took the Bears from 1-11 in his first season to 11-3 in his third season and rode that success straight to the NFL.

There are still many situations that need to play out. Harbaugh would have to leave Michigan. Rhule would have to decide to put his name in the ring for the vacancy at Michigan. Michigan would have to determine that Rhule is the best candidate for the position. None of this is guaranteed, but, if it all plays out, look for Carolina to be added to our 2022 NFL Head Coaching Search Tracker.

Raiders Won’t Retain GM Mike Mayock

We heard earlier this evening that the Raiders had requested permission to interview two GM candidates. There was one issue: Mike Mayock was still the team’s general manager. Now, we’re learning that Mayock is out in Las Vegas. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the Raiders have informed Mayock that he won’t be retained.

[RELATED: Raiders Request Interviews With Patriots’ Jerod Mayo, Dave Ziegler]

“We have relieved Mike Mayock of his duties as General Manager of the Las Vegas Raiders,” the team said in a statement (via Albert Breer on Twitter). “We thank Mike for his contributions over the last three years in helping to form the foundation for the franchise to build upon in its future.”

Per Rapoport (on Twitter), the Raiders organization made their decision to fire Mayock “several days ago.” Their requests to interview Patriots exec Dave Ziegler and Colts exec Ed Dobbs were made earlier this evening. It’s uncertain when Mayock learned of his fate. According to Breer (on Twitter), there were rumblings prior to the draft that Mayock could be on his way out with the organization. He kept his gig and saw his team make the playoffs, but Aaron Wilson tweets that the organization had been putting out feelers on potential HC and GM candidates over the past few days. It doesn’t sound like that sits well with current Raiders staffers; NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe tweets that scouts, coaches, and executives were currently prepping for the draft and free agency without knowing there could be a major shakeup atop the front office.

The broadcaster-turned-GM didn’t have final say over transactions during much of his tenure with the Raiders; that honor belonged to head coach Jon Gruden before he resigned this season. There were plenty of misfires during the duo’s time with the organization; both of the Raiders’ 2020 first-round picks (Henry Ruggs and Damon Arnette) were cut this year, and the front office surely has regrets with how things unfolded with acquisitions like Antonio Brown, Trent Brown, and Lamarcus Joyner.

However, as PFF’s Doug Kyed tweets, Mayock should be credited with a handful of late-round hits, including defensive end Maxx Crosby, wideout Hunter Renfrow, tight end Foster Moreau, and cornerback Nate Hobbs. The Raiders also improved during each of Mayock’s three seasons at the helm, culminating in the GM’s first playoff appearance this season following a 10-win regular season. Not to mention, that playoff performance came amid a tumultuous season off the field. Alas, the organization will now look for a new GM to guide the front office, with Ziegler and Dobbs first on the list of candidates.

Meanwhile, this news doesn’t bode well for interim head coach Rich Bisaccia‘s chances of keeping his gig. The long-time special teams coordinator guided the team to a 7-5 record and a playoff appearance, but a new GM will surely prefer their own coaching staff. We already heard earlier tonight that the organization requested permission to interview Patriots linebackers coach Jerod Mayo. According to Schefter (on Twitter), Bisaccia “remains with the team at this time.”