Oakland Raiders Interviewing Special Teams Coach Joe DeCamillis


Sep 22, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan (right) and Chicago Bears Bears assistant head coach Joe Decamillis (left) chat before the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Various media sources today are reporting that, along with interviewing March Trestman for the Offensive Coordinator job, and Eric Mangini for the Defensive Coordinator position, they will be interviewing longtime NFL Special Teams coach Joe DeCamillis.

DeCamillis has been an NFL coach since 1988, and has been a special teams coordinator everywhere he has coached. His first NFL coaching job was with the Denver Broncos, where he was ST coordinator from 1988 through 1992 under Dan Reeves. One feature of the Broncos’ kicking game during that time was the (very) occasional use of Hall of Fame Quarterback and current Broncos’ President John Elway as a drop-kick punter. Such duties once also fell to then-backup QB and new head coach of the Broncos Gary Kubiak. In 1992, the Broncos needed to use four separate punters during the season after injuries to veteran punter Mike Horan.

In 1993, DeCamillis followed Reeves to New York, where he continued as his Special Teams Coordinator, this time for the Giants. Both kicker David Treadwell and punter Mike Horan followed DeCamillis to New York, Horan replaced punter Sean Landeta midway through the season. In New York, DeCamillis also worked with long-time Giants return ace David Meggett, who by 1993 was already one of the more respected return specialists in the game.

In their three years together, Meggett scored three of his seven career punt return TD’s. In 1996, Meggett left for New England and was replaced with rookie Amani Toomer. Toomer returned two punts for touchdowns in just seven games before suffering a season-ending injury.

More from Las Vegas Raiders News

In 1997, DeCamillis followed Reeves to yet another stop, landing in Atlanta with the Falcons. Rookie kick returner Byron Hanspard excelled under DeCamillis, returning two kickoffs for touchdowns and averaging nearly 25 yards per return. Unfortunately, the young Hanspard suffered a severe injury in training camp before the following season, and could never return to form.

During the remainder of his tenure in Atlanta, DeCamillis worked with a number of returners, like Tim Dwight and Allen Rossum. He also worked with some of the more respected kickers and punters in the league, including years with Morten Anderson, Chris Mohr and Jay Feely.  DeCamillis’ work with the Falcons special teams under Reeves earned him the respect of Reeves’ replacement, Jim Mora, who kept him on in Atlanta. DeCamillis finally left Atlanta after the 2006 season, when Mora was relieved.

DeCamillis landed another gig quickly, joining Jack Del Rio in Jacksonville to work with the Jaguars’ special teams.DeCamillis’ primary kickoff returner that year was a young Maurice Jones-Drew, who returned 31 kickoffs that season, averaging 26.2 yards per return, and scored the second of two kick return TDs that year. DeCamillis worked with aging kicker John Carney during the first half of the year, before Carney was replaced by the young Josh Scobee. Scobee made 12 of 13 field goals during the last half of the 2007 season.

After the 2008 season, DeCamillis left Jacksonville to be re-united with Wade Phillips in Dallas – he and Phillips had worked together in Atlanta. In 2009, one of the more memorable events in DeCamillis’ career occured when a spring wind storm struck the Cowboys’ training facility, where they were holding an Organized Team Activity. The roof of the facility collapsed, fracturing several of DeCamillis’ vertabrae. DeCamillis returned to work nine days after having surgery on his vertebrae, and coached throughout the summer with a neck brace on before finally removing it midway through training camp. He was given a courage award by the organization after the season for his efforts.

During DeCamillis’ four years in Dallas (he was retained by Jason Garrett), the Cowboys as a team averaged over 12 yards per punt return for three seasons, while holding opposing returners to an average of less than ten yards per return in each of those four years.

DeCamillis’ last stop was in Chicago, working under Marc Trestman. DeCamillis’ spent time coaching Devin Hester before he left for the Falcons, at various points worked with two players with whom he had prior experience: Adam Podlesh, who had been his punter in Jacksonville and Jay Feely, who was brought in to replace Robbie Gould late this season.

DeCamillis is an experienced Special Teams coordinator, having spent 27 years in the league working at his craft. In his tenure with the Bears, he was criticized heavily by the Chicago media for some of the Bears’ special teams issues, but the general consensus around the league is that DeCamillis’ is one of the most respected in the league at what he does. He has worked with a number of quality return men and kickers and his units generally don’t make a lot of ugly mistakes.

He is also a very high-energy, enthusiastic coach whom players respond to well and his players tend to be loyal to him. If hired by the Raiders, he will inherit one of the most seasoned kickers in the game in Sebastian Janikowski, who has struggled in recent years with his accuracy. He will also have an opportunity to shape the game of the young Marquette King, a very capable punter who is still working on his consistency.

It will be interesting to see what DeCamillis can do with the Raiders return game, if he will continue to use TJ Carrie or not, and how he can improve what was in 2014 among the weaker spots on the field for the Raiders. An important piece of the special teams coaching pie is how well he works with the other coaches, and his background with both the Raiders current Head Coach, the likely Offensive Coordinator, and the current OL coach (Tice was also on the Jaguars’ staff in 07-08) suggests he will fit in well with the coaching staff. Even if he doesn’t get the job, him being in the building is another sign that the Raiders front office, and the new Head Coach, are truly committed to excellence in coaching, interviewing the most respected and experienced coaches in the league for nearly every position.