It has been a busy couple days for the Raiders. Friday they hired Greg Olson as their offensive coordinator and Saturday they announced they have also hired Bobby April as their Special Teams Coordinator.
April takes the position vacated by Steve Hoffman who was fired after just one season at the post.
The longtime Special Teams guru was most recently with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was out of a job when Eagles head coach Andy Reid was fired the day after the seasons ended. Reid went to Kansas City to take over the head job with the Chiefs and April did not go with him.
One of the most respected special-teams tutors in the NFL, April has overseen NFL special-teams units in the league for 21 seasons, including the last three with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Last season, Eagles punter Matt McBriar averaged 46.5 yards per punt and punt returner Damaris Johnson returned a punt 98 yards for a touchdown at Dallas on Dec. 2, marking a franchise record and tying for the third-longest punt return in NFL history.
April's punt-return unit, including punter Chas Henry, allowed just 176 return yards, the fourth best in the NFL, and the team ranked third in the league in punt coverage.
Prior to joining the Eagles, April spent six seasons as special teams coordinator for the Buffalo Bills where he guided Buffalo's special-teams units to the top ranking in the NFL three times. Punter Brian Moorman earned two Pro Bowl berths and punt returner Roscoe Parrish led the NFL with a 15.3-yard punt-return average in 2008. April also coached Terrence McGee to a Pro Bowl selection as a kick returner in 2004, when McGee set a franchise record with three kick returns for touchdowns.
Among his personal accolades, April was named special teams coach of the year by his peers in both 2004 and 2008. He was special teams coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1994-95, helping the Steelers to an appearance in Super Bowl XXX.
The Raiders are hoping he can bring their coverage and return units back to respectability. They will also likely have a new punter next season so having someone with April's experience as a talent evaluator and teacher will be invaluable.