4 ways the Broncos could talk themselves into keeping Nathaniel Hackett
4. Broncos may be stuck between a rock and a hard place
Let’s look at the Denver Broncos’ situation for what it is at the moment. The team is in last place in the AFC West. Russell Wilson had such a down year that it could scare off potential candidates. The team could have a GM on a short leash in 2023, which could potentially also complicate things for a prospective head coach.
If the Broncos are considered a mess right now, and many would (rightfully) consider them to be exactly that, then George Paton has a mess to clean up this offseason. Does that start with removing Hackett?
Hackett was given full authority to pick his coaching staff, which has been hit and miss. As much blame as he deserves for bringing in the “coach to coach the coaches” which could have been a turn-off for veteran coaches on the previous staff, as much blame as he deserves for letting Mike Munchak and even Curtis Modkins out the door, he deserves credit for the Ejiro Evero hire and how fantastic that has turned out to be. The Broncos have had an elite-level defense all year long.
We’ve been talking about the offense changing and being better for seven years now, and Hackett’s offensive staff has been an abject disaster. Nobody knows what “offensive coordinator” Justin Outten contributes. Klint Kubiak, the quarterbacks coach, was promoted to offensive play-caller after Hackett came under so much fire for that aspect of his job.
In recent weeks, things have been better. Does that mean the winning formula is already in place for 2023 and beyond? Not necessarily, but it does mean that the Broncos’ coaching staff may just be a couple of tweaks away.
Let’s say Hackett is able to finish the year strong, perhaps even beating Kansas City or — let’s get crazy — the Broncos win out and beat the Rams, Chiefs, and Chargers. Does that change the discussion? What if they don’t win out, but what if they are consistently scoring 24 or more points per game?
Is it already too little, too late? Or does Hackett have a shot to still impress the higher-ups in Denver?
I think changes to the coaching staff are coming regardless, but I don’t know at this point if firing Nathaniel Hackett is a foregone conclusion. Some have already staked their mortgage on it happening, and I’m just not 100 percent sold yet. George Paton and the Broncos’ hiring committee fell in love with Hackett for his personality, his promises of innovation, and I think it’s going to be hard for them to fall out of love with the guy.
Hackett also hasn’t lost the Broncos’ locker room, contrary to what some would have you believe. He is well-liked personally by the players and that was to be expected when he came in. He’s a player’s coach and perhaps even to a fault.
5 elite prospects Broncos will miss out on because of Russell Wilson trade
The Denver Broncos are poised to miss out on some top-flight 2023 NFL Draft prospects thanks to the Russell Wilson trade.
Hard decisions will be coming for the Broncos in the coming weeks, but Hackett will be on the books in 2023 regardless if he’s fired or still in the head coach’s chair. Perhaps the Broncos will decide that what they need, more than anything, is a “bad cop” to Hackett’s good cop on that offensive staff.