The Green Bay Packers would be foolish not to pursue ex-Buffalo Bills’ special teams coach Bobby April in the offseason.
April, 56, exercised a clause in his contract Tuesday making him a free agent after the Bills organization told him Monday he and the other assistant coaches had the right to pursue other coaching jobs as the team searches for a new head coach.
April, who had two years left on his deal with Buffalo, led his special teams units to three No. 1 rankings in five years and has been named Special Teams Coach of the Year twice in the last six years. He also served as assistant head coach for the Bills, and has coached with the Steelers, Falcons, Saints and Rams.
ESPN reports that April has been trying to decide what to do with the final years of his contract since the mid-season firing of Dick Jauron as head coach.
In a statement, the Bills said the team’s current staff remains under contract, but the coaches have been informed that their obligations for this season have been completed, and they now “have the opportunity to seek positions elsewhere.” The release said their status will then be determined by the Bills’ next head coach.
However, a person familiar with the team’s decisions told The Associated Press that the staff was fired.
Politics aside, the Packers should make a play for April now that he’s a free agent. Green Bay needs major help on special teams, a unit ranked dead last in the NFL by Football Outsiders, by a large margin.
Granted, current special teams coach Shawn Slocum, who replaced Mike Stock after last season, has hammered his unit into better shape in recent weeks, but it doesn’t make up for a dreadful showing most of the season. The unit is suspect in covering punts and kickoffs and hasn’t shown anything in the return game. It’s pathetic.
It may be drastic to call for Slocum’s head after only one year, but adding someone like April to the mix would show that the Packers are serious about addressing their flaws in the offseason.