Raiders WR Hunter Renfrow Wants Interim Coach Rich Bisaccia Back Next Season: ‘I Think We Need to Get That Narrative Going More’

Article Highlights:

  • Las Vegas Raiders receiver Hunter Renfrow wants the organization to name Rich Bisaccia the full-time head coach
  • Bisaccia, who turns 62 later this year, went 7-5 in the regular season and led Las Vegas to the postseason
  • Unfortunately for Renfrow, the Raiders must strongly consider going in another direction

Few would have known Rich Bisaccia from Richie Rich when he took over the Las Vegas Raiders following Jon Gruden’s resignation in October. Three months later, the veteran special teams coach is arguably the most popular man in Las Vegas right now.

Raiders players and fans alike want Las Vegas’ interim head coach to return in 2022, albeit as the full-time coach. Count third-year receiver Hunter Renfrow among those publicly leading the charge in trying to ensure the long-suffering franchise opts for continuity over a big-name hire.

Hunter Renfrow wants the Raiders to name Rich Bisaccia the full-time head coach

Las Vegas Raiders interim head coach Rich Bisaccia in 2022.
Will Rich Bisaccia become the Las Vegas Raiders’ full-time head coach? | Chris Unger/Getty Images

The book is officially closed on the Raiders’ 2021 season, a stretch where the long-suffering franchise reached the postseason for only the second time since 2003. Despite multiple inconsistent performances, the three-time Super Bowl champions went 7-5 under Bisaccia’s watch and lost to Joe Burrow’s Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Wild Card Round.

Multiple players and media members spent the leading up to the Raiders’ first playoff game since January 2017 advocating for the franchise to name Bisaccia the full-time head coach. That group included Renfrow, who specifically cited the longtime assistant’s ability to “care for us on a personal level more so than a personal level” in an interview with the New York Post.

“I know that’s hard to do in the NFL, with people changing and everything going on, but I can’t tell you how many times people have been cut, and he just called to check on ’em, make sure they know what they’re doing with their next move, and give ’em advice. … He’s just a really great guy, and you want to see him succeed.”

Hunter Renfrow

The Post’s Steve Serby asked Renfrow if the Raiders want to play for Bisaccia next season.

“Without a doubt,” Renfrow replied. “I think we need to get that narrative going more and more.”

As of publication, the Raiders had not announced if Bisaccia would earn the full-time job.

Unfortunately for Renfrow, the Raiders are much better off going in another direction

If Renfrow and his Raiders teammates got their wish, Bisaccia would have signed a five-year contract immediately after defeating the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 18. Veteran quarterback Derek Carr told reporters following the Wild Card Round that the team listens to and respects the interim head coach.

All of that is well and true and is often the case when an interim coach is in place. However, the Raiders must fight the temptation to retain Bisaccia and forgo on a legitimate coaching search.

Bisaccia shouldn’t be handed the full-time job solely because Las Vegas reached the playoffs. Throughout his tenure, the Raiders lacked discipline, whether it was the infamous decision to meet at the Kansas City Chiefs’ logo before a 48-9 loss on Dec. 12 or the team’s repeated penalty problems. Including the postseason, only the Dallas Cowboys’ 141 penalties ranked higher than the Raiders’ 131.

The Raiders also had two players, receiver Henry Ruggs and cornerback Nate Hobbs, arrested for DUI during Bisaccia’s tenure. Ruggs is currently facing 50 years in prison if he is convicted of four felonies, including DUI resulting in death, following a Nov. 2 crash that left him badly injured and killed a 23-year-old woman and her dog.

According to ESPN, Bisaccia was “frustrated” when reporters asked him in January if the team had emphasized alcohol and decision-making following Hobbs’ arrest, especially considering Ruggs’ ongoing situation. 

“I feel good about saying they’ve been hit over the face with distractions and things of that nature,” Bisaccia said. “We’re very cognizant of the city in which we live in, so I’ll leave it at that.”

There is a problem when a head coach suggests the city is to blame for two of his players allegedly drinking and driving. The Raiders also cut second-year cornerback Damon Arnette in November following a disturbing video featuring him brandishing guns and threatening to kill someone. 

Although Bisaccia deserves credit for leading a tumultuous Raiders team to the postseason, he hasn’t shown he can control his players or create a culture in which those in the organization think twice before making a life-changing decision while living in Las Vegas. Whether it is Jim Harbaugh or Todd Bowles, the next head coach must create that culture.

Could the next head coach retain Bisaccia as the special teams head coach?

If the Raiders do not name Bisaccia the full-time head coach, it will be worth watching if his replacement tries keeping him as the special teams coach. Raiders players clearly adore Bisaccia, who is in his fourth year with the franchise.

Although a new head coach typically prefers bringing his own coaches in where he can, an interim head coach remaining on staff is not unheard of in the modern NFL. After serving as the San Francisco 49ers’ interim head coach in the 2010 season finale, Jim Tomsula remained on Harbaugh’s staff as the defensive line coach. Tomsula replaced Harbaugh as head coach following the 2014 season.

There is no guarantee that Carr, Renfrow, or any of the Raiders would be happy if Bisaccia remains the special teams coordinator under a new head coach. However, a championship run next year, coupled with improved discipline, would go a long way in erasing their misgivings.

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