Losing Phil Galiano could be a big hit to the Saints special teams units

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are interviewing Phil Galiano for their open special teams coordinator job on Tuesday — and losing him could be a big hit to the New Orleans Saints kicking units.

Galiano isn’t a big name in New Orleans. He’s worked as the assistant to Saints special teams coordinator Darren Rizzi since they were both hired in 2019, rarely speaking to the media or taking the spotlight. But they have both played a key role in maintaining the Saints’ excellence in the game’s third phase.

We tend to think of special teams as being all about kicking field goals and punting the ball away. But it’s a real team effort. Finding the right players who can get downfield in a hurry and limit returns is critical. And Galiano deserves some credit for helping the Saints outperform the rest of the league in that phase.

Since Rizzi and Galiano arrived in 2019, the Saints are the only team in the NFL to allow fewer than 1,000 punt return yards (998) and 2,500 kick return yards (2,350). Only one team, the Washington Commanders, has given up fewer total return yards with 3,103 to the Saints’ 3,348. The other 30 teams in the NFL have all allowed 3,500 or more.

Here’s how they all stack up:

It’s possible the Buccaneers end up hiring a different candidate for their special teams coordinator opening. At the same time, there’s a chance Galiano could leave for the promotion. If he does exit this isn’t a loss that Saints fans should overlook. Hopefully Rizzi already has an idea of possible replacements should he need to hire a new assistant.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire