McDonald: Raiders’ Rich Bisaccia has worked miracles — just don’t ask him how he did it

Black Monday arrived as it does every year, starting another NFL coaching cycle.

Matt Nagy of Chicago, Mike Zimmer of Minnesota and Brian Flores of Miami were sent packing. Vic Fangio of Denver got the word a day early. Jacksonville is interviewing Darrell Bevell, their interim coach in place of Urban Meyer, but he isn’t expected to get the job.

Amongst the carnage, having done the near-impossible, is Rich Bisaccia, front and center for the playoff-bound Raiders and addressing the media via video conference the day after a 32-29 win the previous night against the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Raiders are the improbable No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs, visiting No. 4 Cincinnati on Saturday.

Less than a month ago, after a 48-9 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, you could have gotten good odds Bisaccia would be out the door as well on Black Monday. The Raiders had fallen to 6-7, and if you had told anyone the Raiders would either finish 10-7 or 6-11, the latter scenario would have been near-unanimous.

How did he do it?

“I think a lot of other people do a lot better job of explaining me than I do, to be honest with you,” Bisaccia said.

Unlike his predecessor Jon Gruden, Bisaccia does not invite the spotlight. He doesn’t provide sound bites or use sarcasm and/or exaggeration to make a point. Bisaccia deflects praise directed at himself and distributes credit like a point guard. You’ll never find him in the Monday night TV booth. Gruden, for what it’s worth, swore by Bisaccia, and it’s pretty clear most everyone else in the building feels the same way.

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There are no mixed messages or mind games. Just straight talk that appears to be sincere. If Bisaccia’s got a problem with someone’s effort or behavior, it’s taken care of privately and it stays that way.

“Every guy in the room respects him,” running back Josh Jacobs said Sunday night. “Even before he was the head coach, he is one of those guys you could go talk to about life if you’ve got things going on. When you’ve got a coach that you respect and you genuinely care for and you love, you would do whatever for him. Whatever he asks you to do.”

The list of coaches to lead teams to the NFL playoffs that didn’t coach the first game of the season

2021 Rich Bisaccia (Raiders)
1961 Wally Lemm (Oilers)
1952 Hamp Pool (Rams)
1942 Hunk Anderson/Luke Johnsos (Bears)

— NFL on CBS (@NFLonCBS) January 10, 2022

Defensive end Maxx Crosby, who has been open about being a recovering alcoholic, seconded the notion.

“The dude has had my back. He’s had so many players’ backs for years and I love him to death,” Crosby said.

The last time an interim coach led a team to the playoffs was 1961. His name was Wally Lemm and he coached the Houston Oilers in the early days of the AFL. By definition, interim means “provisional or temporary.”

Bisaccia artfully dodged one question Monday at having the interim …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports


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