In the highest-viewed NFL game in nearly 30 years, the Las Vegas Raiders dispatched the Dallas Cowboys to end a three-game skid and get back in the thick of the playoff race.
Interim head coach Rich Bisaccia is trying to do what only one other Raiders coach has done in nearly 20 years: bring the Raiders back to the playoffs. Bisaccia has been learning on the job during the toughest stretch of an NFL season.
With the offseason approaching, the Raiders will have a choice to make. Is a playoff berth enough to cement Bisaccia as the permanent head coach of the Raiders?
The Case For Keeping Bisaccia
Let’s be honest about the Raiders. They haven’t exactly cooked up a winning recipe for the last two decades. Exercises in futility, bad drafting, headcase players, and milquetoast coaches have equaled one single playoff berth since 2002.
So if Bisaccia is the one who gets the Raiders back into the postseason, why wouldn’t you give him a chance to run the franchise?
Giving Rich the opportunity would allow a full offseason for the Raiders to match his vision. He can mold a new special teams coordinator, restock on players in the draft, work with Gus Bradley on defense, and Greg Olson on offense.
Bisaccia’s specialty is leadership. He motivates players with respect and honesty. Unlike some modern NFL hires, he doesn’t have a specialty on one side of the ball. His job will be to lead each unit and ensure they have all the tools they need to be successful.
2021 Has Been A Disaster
There is no more evidence of his leadership than this very season.
A highly public scandal ousted Jon Gruden from his throne as king ofÂ Raiderland. Henry Ruggs III is currently imprisoned on charges related to his tragic DUI accident. Damon Arnette was released for threatening someone who we have no evidence of him knowing at all.
High profile coaches and first-round picks, all spectacularly exiting the franchise leaving a gargantuan mess to clean up. AllÂ Rich did, is step right in and keep this team on track.
After all of this, if the Raiders somehow make the playoffs, how can you not give serious consideration to Bisaccia? Other coaches have performed worse under significantly better conditions. There is more to a head coach than Xs and Os.
If he is the one to roam the sidelines in January as the Raiders open Wild Card Weekend, there might be an argument for an extension.
Moving On From Bisaccia
There is no doubt that Bisaccia deserves his flowers for even keeping the Raiders afloat given the distractions he tried to block out.
On the other hand, the Raiders are presented with an opportunity to find a new head coach after having severed the 10-year contract Gruden was locked into.
There could be a hot market in the offseason for up-and-coming names. Guys like Byron Leftwich and Kellen Moore may be highly sought for their offensive prowess. Every year there are a few gems. Matt LaFleur, Sean McVay, Kyle Shanahan, Kevin Stefanski, and Brandon Staley have all had early success taking average teams and making them great.
The Raiders making the playoffs would undoubtedly be a substantial accomplishment. Imagine if they kept everything intact and added a brilliant young coach who could pair with Gus Bradley’s recharged defense?
That’s the difference between a good team whose ceiling is a wild card and a great team whose ceiling is the Lombardi Trophy.
A new coach would be smart to keep Bisaccia around to bind the building together. The players respond to him. The upside of a new coach might be too much to resist for Mark Davis. He might see a team that made the playoffs with Rich but has another level of potential with the right hire.
The Raiders might have their Mark Jackson in the building. It’s time to find Steve Kerr.
*Top Photo: Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal