Nathaniel Hackett being fired in season is a legitimate possibility

Denver Broncos, Nathaniel Hackett (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos, Nathaniel Hackett (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

First year Broncos’ head coach Nathaniel Hackett has been a disaster, and the team cutting ties in season is a legitimate possibility.  Most head coaches in the NFL, or even professional sports for that matter get more than one season to prove their worth for the team.

Unless something major happens, it’s not common to see coaches get the boot after year one.  Furthermore, it’d be even more unlikely to see a coach get the axe during their first season, as opposed to after the first campaign is over.

Some may think that it’s a gross overreaction to think that Nathaniel Hackett could get fired during the season.  I’m sure some may think that letting Hackett play out the year is more appropriate.

However, there are reasons why the Broncos could and perhaps should cut ties with the coach during the season.

Should the Denver Broncos fire Nathaniel Hackett in-season?

When George Paton was hired as GM and made his first head coaching hire, the team was still dug into that very long and sometimes confusing ownership situation.  In essence, there was no one who was putting much pressure on George Paton at the time to ensure he is held accountable for his actions.

He was hired by the likes of John Elway and Joe Ellis, who already had one foot out of the door.  Paton essentially had the franchise to himself.  He was the decision maker, and was there genuinely anyone to tell him no?  With that said, up until this point, Paton had done a marvelous job, especially in the draft, so it’s not like he was running wild making bad decisions.

Now that the ownership group is in place, Paton has to feel some sort of pressure now to produce results.  The Walton-Penner group was not involved in the process of hiring Paton or in the process of hiring Hackett either.

They have no connections to either man, and the head coach would clearly be the scapegoat much before the GM.  Most GMs in the NFL will get multiple chances to get the head coach right, and Paton appears to be on strike one with Hackett.

Now that there is some accountability above Paton, he may feel compelled to cut ties, especially because of just how poorly the Denver Broncos have played, which brings me to the next reason why Hackett could and should be fired in-season.

The Broncos are 2-3 and have the 31st ranked scoring offense.  They have been objectively the most undisciplined team in the NFL.  The offense is virtually non-existent and Hackett has shown little to no growth with the offense through the first five weeks.

Denver is now buried in the 20s in most power rankings, and most teams likely don’t consider Denver to be much of a threat at this point.  Some may say that this is expected under a new head coach regime, but to this extent?  My point is that the Broncos haven’t even come close to the expectations that many had for the team.

Based on the on-field performances, you’d think that the Broncos were a rebuilding team devoid of talent.  But no, they are a team with excellent players on both sides of the ball and a Hall of Fame quarterback.  Because of just how badly the Broncos have played, that could prompt Paton to act.

I’m sure some in the organization expected there to be growing pains, but these pains are much, much too great to not notice.  To be fair to Hackett, the hiring of Ejiro Evero appears to be a grand slam, and I think Dwayne Stukes, the special teams coordinator, is solid.

However, I think red flags should have gone off the second Hackett decided to replace guys like Mike Munchak, Chris Kuper, and Curtis Modkins, three excellent coaches who are either with the Minnesota Vikings, or, in Munchak’s case, were involved with the team during the offseason.

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There has been exponentially more bad than good through five games, and if the team cannot show some improvement on Monday night, after an 11 day mini bye week, Hackett should be fired.