The Denver Broncos interviewed more candidates and waited longer than the last two searches combined. The wait looks worth it at after they secure Hackett on a 4-year deal.Embed from Getty Images
Much was made by the Kizla’s, Klis’s, and Albright’s of the world that everyone needed to look at Dan Quinn for the Denver Broncos head coaching job. Jeff Legwold told you he didn’t see it. We told you to pay attention. I and my Co-Host of Breakin’ Broncos Dylan Miles told you to look at Hackett. And unlike those above, we didn’t have a single person in the building, Looks like we have some kind of a pulse.
Now I don’t want to make this into an “I told you so piece”. I’m much too jubilant for that. This should be a celebration in Broncos Country. Paton got one of the best offensive minds on the market. This is a man that built an offense around Blake Bortles that was 15:00 minutes and Tom Brady away from a Super Bowl birth. Every QB that Hackett has tutored improved dramatically. His history suggests that he works with what was given.Embed from Getty Images
At every stop, Hackett has made in his journey from Syracuse where he got his first Offensive Coordinator position 12 years ago, to his latest stint in Green Bay, where he worked with every type of QB from no-name to Hall-of-Fame, they have all raved about his tutorship. I believe that Adam Schefter on Get Up! on ESPN this morning was prudent in pointing out “They didn’t hire Nathaniel Hackett as a chip to trade for Aaron Rodgers…they believe he is the best guy for the job.”
In a very rare instance, I agree and believe Schefter is correct. Dan Quinn getting hired would have smelt funny. This screams a fresh start with a new perspective. Something this franchise sorely needed with first George Paton, and now Nathaniel Hackett. Harking back to just a few paragraphs ago. Hackett is a gourmet chef that works with the available ingredients in the kitchen to create a masterpiece.Embed from Getty Images
What does Nathaniel Hackett bring to Denver Broncos?
In Syracuse orange, he took a little ballyhooed QB Ryan Nassib to set and re-set pretty much every school record for QBs. He also elevated Nassib from a likely undrafted prospect into a 4th-round pick who enjoyed a journeyman career in the league. He never really looked like the man he was in northern New York state though.
In Buffalo during the 2013 season where he followed Doug Marrone from Syracuse he had the 29th ranked passing offense. It was led by EJ Manuel, Jeff Tuel, and Thad Lewis as his signal-callers. He had TE Scott Chandler as his leading receiver. Though he still had C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson both go for at least 890 yards rushing. The next year he got a QB “upgrade” in Kyle Orton, whom he lead to his 3rd best season in the final year of his career. The running game fell off a cliff, though I believe that is on the personnel rather than the scheme.Embed from Getty Images
After Marrone opted out of his contract with the Bills following the 2014 season. Hackett would once again follow his mentor to Jacksonville as the QB coach on Gus Bradley’s staff. After Bradley was let go in the middle of the 2016 season Hackett was promoted to OC and in 2017 he did his greatest work as he took Blake Bortles and Leonard Fournette to the best rushing offense in the league and the aforementioned birth in the AFC Championship game. He was unceremoniously fired by Marrone less than a year later after a 3-6 start and being scape-goated by a coach on the hot seat.
He finally got a real top-level QB when hired by the Green Bay Packers in 2019 as the OC for Matt LaFleur’s staff. Then came back-to-back NFC Championship losses and another MVP for Aaron Rodgers on the back of one of if not the best offenses in the league in that time span. Unfortunately for Rodgers and Green Bay, they ended up one-and-done in the playoffs this year after an offensive clunker at home in sub-zero temps against the San Francisco 49ers.Embed from Getty Images
Should Divisional Round Loss Worry Broncos Country?
Simply, no. You should never get hung up on one result in 12-years of data. That is an exercise in futility, by all accounts, they are getting a charismatic leader that knows how to work an NFL locker room. He has gained the trust and respect of everyone from the undrafted rookies to the G.O.A.T.’s at every stop. His schemes are fresh and tailored to the talent at hand, no more square pegs in round holes. That alone should be a comfort to Broncos faithful.Embed from Getty Images
What does this mean when it comes to Aaron Rodgers?
Again, simply, nothing. Yes, it makes Denver a softer landing spot than most others. And despite his ignorance on COVID and politics, A A Ron is smart enough football-wise to pick up any offense fairly easily and hit the ground running. So there is no lock that Paton and Co. are locked on A-Rod. Remember less than a year ago he passed on Matthew Stafford after the bidding got stupid. And yes, I’m taking Stafford over Rodgers every day strictly based on talent/body of work.
Paton will not mortgage the future and believes in stockpiling picks, not giving them away. He’s also a cap hawk, see Kareem Jackson’s contract talks just last year. So don’t hang your hat on Rodgers being a lock to be in Broncos orange in 2022. This is just low-hanging fruit for lazy writers and talking heads. Again, this will most likely make Denver more appealing to Rodgers, but by no means are all eggs are in one basket.Embed from Getty Images
What’s next for Denver Broncos?
Now the really good stuff starts. Even though free agency is almost 2-months away, trades can be discussed, and terms can be agreed to. There is no reason for Paton to wait for March before working the phones. Since he made the first hire, he gets first dibs at the possibly available veteran QBs. This is actually two-fold, it fills not only the biggest hole on the roster but finalizes the Denver Broncos draft as well. It will let George Paton know exactly what he gets to work with in May. As well as the cap-space to add in free agency. As I have stated multiple times in multiple places, The money in the NFL is big, but not endless.
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