The Denver Broncos have fired head coach Nathaniel Hackett with two games remaining in the 2022 season after the team’s embarrassing blowout loss in Los Angeles against the Rams. Hackett has now become just the second NFL coach to be fired before the end of his rookie season since 1994, something that actually happened last year with Jacksonville and Urban Meyer. Such a historic firing means there’s plenty of blame to go around besides just Nathaniel Hackett, and quarterback Russell Wilson is going to be one of the first people to come into focus.
General manager George Paton is the one who put this whole thing together, but the organization has expressed a level of confidence in him stating that he will be part of the next coaching search in a statement:
Broncos decision to fire Nathaniel Hackett sends a message to Russell Wilson
Broncos ownership has confidence in George Paton as the general manager of the team…for now. Paton made an aggressive move to go out and get Russell Wilson last offseason, a move that had fans clamoring for a Paton statue to be built outside of Mile High, but the Wilson trade is now being talked about among the Herschel Walkers of the world as far as being one of the worst trades in league history.
In his first season in Denver, it looks like Russell Wilson has bamboozled the Broncos more than anything else, but this next coaching search will revolve around him first and foremost.
I personally fall in the camp that believes there’s no possible way that Russell Wilson’s play has dropped off to such a significant level that he doesn’t even resemble a passable NFL quarterback at this point. There has to be something else going on health-related or in terms of the coaching that has caused Wilson to play so poorly in 2022, but he also deserves a ton of blame for his wildly inconsistent and mostly bad decision-making out there, if we’re being completely honest.
Wilson deserves a ton of blame for the Broncos being 4-11 at this point, and he deserves a ton of blame for the offense being borderline historically bad. Anytime you’re talked about in the same breath as the 2000 Cleveland Browns, a team that was one year out from being an expansion team, you know it’s bad.
The Broncos have been so awful offensively in 2022 that fans really have no idea what to think for the future. People have been concocting ideas of making Wilson a post-June 1 cut in 2023, they have wondered if his contract is tradeable, and they have simply wondered if the Broncos should just consider Wilson a sunk cost and go for someone else immediately, even if it means keeping him on the roster.
In my mind, I simply don’t see any possible way the Broncos move on from Wilson in 2023, but I guess nothing is impossible.
Hackett was nothing but supportive of the Russell Wilson move from Day 1, at least from what we could see with the public, and while he deserves plenty of blame for how bad the Broncos were in 2022, I think Wilson needs to take a long look in the mirror this offseason as well.
The Broncos traded and paid for a top-10 quarterback and they got someone who had fans wondering if Drew Lock would have been preferable in the final year of his rookie deal. At least then the Broncos would have their draft picks…
Now, the next coaching search begins with trying to find someone who:
A. Wants to work with Russell Wilson and;
B. Is willing to work for an organization that has fired:
- Vance Joseph
- Vic Fangio
- Nathaniel Hackett
All since early 2019.
Russell Wilson simply didn’t play well enough in 2022. He was bad. I don’t think his NFL career is over, by any means, but that’s simply belief that 2022 is an outlier and not a devastating sign of things to come for one of the best QBs the league has had in the last decade.
On Monday, the Denver Broncos announced that they fired Nathaniel Hackett after 15 games. They also indicated that they still trust in George Paton.
Whatever the Broncos decide to do in the 2022 offseason, it has to be for the best of the organization, not just Russ. Although with a $245 million contract, Wilson kind of is the organization right now, isn’t he?