'The Realest': Players share what makes Rich Bisaccia an excellent coach on and off the field

Rich Bisaccia is the "realest" coach you'll ever meet.

During practice, the Las Vegas Raiders special teams coordinator can be heard barking orders at his players from across the field, unafraid to tell it like it is.

"He pretty much lets you know all the time what he thinks about your performance," says second-year punter AJ Cole.

Bisaccia shows up to work every day, demanding a level of play that matches his standard for what a member of the Las Vegas Raiders should be and it brings out the best in his players.

Cole and veteran safety Erik Harris have played for a lot of coaches in their life, but none come close to Bisaccia as a football coach or a life coach. 

"Rich Bisaccia is one of my coaches — in my whole career, from Pop Warner till now — life coach, football coach, I haven't been around anybody that's better," Harris said. "He's been truly amazing. He makes you want to play harder on special teams; whether you're a starter or you shouldn't be out there. You don't want to go out there and not be giving 100 percent because of who he is."

"I completely agree with Erik," Cole added. "I've never been around a coach like him and I think for me, he's the realest dude I've ever been around. What you see is what you get, and he's not going to sugar coat anything. He stands up for his guys and the people that he has a lot of respect for. We have so many players that were with him in Dallas and he's brought them over to Las Vegas, and even back in Oakland. He's extremely honest and extremely loyal, and he has the work ethic to compete with anybody."

Since leaving the Dallas Cowboys in 2018, Bisaccia has seen numerous players (Jeff Heath, Kyle Wilber, and Maliek Collins) trade the Star for the Shield because of the reasons Cole and Harris laid out. There's nothing worse than when someone says, "I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed," and that's how players feel when they fall short of Bisaccia's expectations, but they also know, he's always there to support them.

"He's never not there," Cole says. "If he's ever mad or upset with you about your performance it's because you didn't play to your standard and that's a great motivator because you know that someone is holding you accountable and you know there's someone who thinks highly of you. In order to hold you to a high standard, they have to think you're capable of achieving that."

It's hard to tell from his rugged exterior, but Bisaccia is a very family-oriented individual and it's reflected in his meeting rooms. For him, winning a Super Bowl is the goal, but it's not why he comes to work every day. Bisaccia finds joy in connecting with his players and helping them achieve their goals, and they can sense that.

"One thing he continually echos, the reason he comes to work every day is because of the players," Cole said. "He wants us to be the best version of ourselves and to reach all of our goals, and become an awesome unit together."

In the two years Jon Gruden has been the head coach of the Raiders, he's done an excellent job of building out his staff and bringing in coaches players can identify with. On the field, or off the field, Bisaccia has become a favorite among players throughout the league.

Get an exclusive look at photos from the Raiders practice at Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center in Henderson, Nev.

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