New star QB Russell Wilson, with his ability to lead and teach on the field, should help make the progression of the new young coaching staff much easier.
A cavalcade of coaches and staff have marched through the doors of Dove Valley over the past half-decade.
Much of the Broncos’ woes in the years following a 2015 Super Bowl championship can be attributed to poor coaching, the inability of the previous coaching staff to evolve to the needs of the players and the team, and sometimes their own hubris.
The Broncos’ new Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett has decades of experience in the game of football. The son of legendary pro and college football coach Paul Hackett, Nathaniel has been around or involved in football for his entire life.
In college, Hackett who possesses a high IQ, was mere months away from completing a degree in neurobiology when he chose to go the path of football coach instead.
Such a decision speaks volumes about his love and commitment to the game and the beginning of a storied career for the super ambitious, high-energy, hip hop dancing, Star Wars fanboy from Northern California.
Hackett entered the coaching scene nearly twenty years ago starting as an assistant coach in the UC Davis and Stanford programs before transitioning to the NFL in 2006. As an NFL coach he has held multiple coaching positions on all sides of the ball for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, and most recently was the Offensive Coordinator for the Green Bay Packers.
Garnering a plethora of knowledge and experience at each location that he has coached due to the repertoire of those that he has coached under, Hackett is projected to possess a very balanced and impressive playbook as the 2022 season begins.
However, some questions do remain as this is his very first experience as a Head Coach. The concern with inexperience is a subject that continues to be brought up around Broncos Country and the NFL national media.
Coach Hackett has experience coaching offenses, defenses, and special teams, and such history will serve to balance him well as a head coach. Although, he is vastly more experienced offensively.
With the help of Broncos GM George Paton, Hackett filled out his first coaching staff as a head coach with a lot of very exciting young coaches that are all considered up and comers in their previous positions. The key word being young.
If the combined average age of most other NFL coaching staffs could be likened to a University, the Broncos might be considered Elementary School.
Along with being young, this Denver Broncos coaching staff does not boast an overabundance of experience in play calling and decision making. That is not to say that the staff does not have immense potential and expectation to be great, just that they may require some help as they find their proverbial “sea legs.”
Such help may have already arrived in the form of the Broncos’ new franchise QB Russell Wilson. The blockbuster trade of Wilson to Denver in the offseason will likely go down in history as one of the most impressive and important trades not only in Broncos history but the NFL as a whole.
Much like HOF quarterback and Broncos legend Peyton Manning, Wilson exhibits not only an immense natural ability and skillset in inarguably the most difficult and most important position to play but a brilliant mind and incomparable passion for the game. Russ wants nothing more than to win and be the very best.
Yet the margin between wanting to win and be the best, and actually winning and being the best in a league like the NFL is thinner than wet rice paper. In order to actually achieve that goal, one has to be willing to put in more work, effort, time on the field, and studying than not only anyone else on the team, but anyone else in general.
So I guess it is a good thing that Denver has Russell Wilson.
Wilson’s dedication to his craft and bettering himself is not only inspiring but in many ways astounding. However, even more impressive is his dedication and desire to better those surrounding him.
Russ, who is still in the Prime of his career, already has more football knowledge and understanding locked under his black curls at the age of 33 than most professionals could hope to amass in a lifetime. Better though, is what he does with that knowledge.
Russell Wilson fully expects his teammates to be up to speed and on the same page with him, and be the very best versions of themselves that they can possibly be. But he does not expect them to get there without putting in the work himself to make sure that everyone attains that level of expectation.
Russ puts so much work into bettering those around him that players and coaches alike have recently been quoted likening him to a coach, but on the field.
Broncos starting ILB Josey Jewell during a press conference on May 04 stated;
"It’s the professionalism that you see when he’s walking around. How he talks to you. He’s pretty much like a coach in the way he talks and the level of football knowledge and I.Q. that he has.Josey Jewell (via denverbroncos.com )"
An endorsement of that nature has to be worth its weight in gold coming from a player that plays on the opposite side of the ball from Wilson.
At an earlier press conference on April 12, starting WR Courtland Sutton was asked about what is different about Wilson from his previous experiences with QBs.
"His knowledge of the game is to a different level and you can tell that it comes to him so easy and he wants everyone around him to be able to understand it the way he understands it, so that we can all kind of play as fast as we possibly can.It’s nice to be able to have him have the knowledge that he has, but then also be able to break it down to a way that we can all understand it and we can all be on the same page.Courtland Sutton (via Broncos Youtube)"
With high expectations within Broncos Country for this season and going forward under this new leadership, the coaching staff with their minimal experience to some is a cause for concern. Some heavy pressure and scrutiny across the NFL is definitely going to be felt in the offices and on the practice field of Dove Valley.
Someone like Russell Wilson, can take all that he has learned over his already legendary 10-year career and apply it to the newly installed scheme of Nathaniel Hackett and first-time OC Justin Outten.
His ability to also fill a role as an on-field coach and help get the rest of the team up to speed should greatly reduce some of the pressure currently being felt by this young staff.
Letting some of the steam out of the metaphorical pressure cooker should allow this staff to hopefully find their footing a little bit easier and not feel rushed and forced to try to get everything perfect right away.
Because when processes are rushed or forced, that is when mistakes happen and bad habits are formed.
A collective breath of fresh air has been had in Denver with the arrival of a new coaching staff and a new star QB.
The AFC West was already loaded with quarterbacks before Russell Wilson arrived. Where does the 11 year veteran rank among the other AFC West QBs?
With the collaboration and cooperation of all, 2022 should be off to the races with nothing but smooth progression and a winning season for the first time in a long time on the not-so-distant horizon.