The Denver Broncos have hired former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett as their new head coach, according to Tom Pelissero.
With the firing of defensive mastermind Vic Fangio, Broncos general manager George Paton has steered the franchise in a different direction with the hiring of Nathaniel Hackett. However, there may an ulterior motive behind this new hire.
Hackett was in charge of the Packers offence this past season which saw the unit rank second in Football Outsiders‘ total offensive DVOA rankings as well as buoying the great Aaron Rodgers to the 2021 regular-season MVP award. Hackett’s reputation as an offensive play-caller more than likely played a large part in him landing the job.
Denver Broncos head coach: Hackett hired
Per Pro Football Reference, Hackett’s new team saw their offence rank 23rd in the NFL in points scored (tied with the Washington Football Team), 19th in passing yards and 23rd in total first downs gained via the pass. Moreover, the Broncos anaemic attack is only made worse by their lacklustre quarterback play; a problem that Paton is hoping Hackett can solve in one of two ways.
The first method in which Hackett could improve the quarterback position in Denver is by coaching, developing and improving the talent that is already there in Drew Lock.
Drafted in the second round in 2019, Lock has featured in 24 games for the Broncos, starting 21 of those. In those 24 appearances, Lock has strung together 25 touchdowns to 20 interceptions with a completion percentage of 59.3%.
There is still time for Lock to salvage a good career in the NFL. However, time is running out and the play he’s put on tape thus far has not bought him a lot of time. His only season as a starter saw the former Missouri gunslinger go 4-9 in 13 starts, throwing 16 touchdowns to 15 interceptions and 2,933 yards. Resulting in Lock getting benched for Teddy Bridgewater for the bulk of 2021.
The second method in which Hackett can save this slumbering Broncos offence is by acting as bait for the enigmatic, egotistical and, more often than not, electric Aaron Rodgers.
With the Broncos set to hire Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett as head coach, there’s been a theory in league circles in recent days the Broncos would also inquire about QB Aaron Rodgers’ availability this offseason.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) January 27, 2022
Rodgers’ discontent in Green Bay was widely publicised this past season. Strong reports that Rodgers was mulling over retirement in lieu of becoming a game show host, inflammatory and politically charged comments and an embarrassing ‘one and done’ playoff campaign has made Rodgers’ position in Green Bay borderline untenable.
Rodgers to Denver?
Moreover, from the Packers end, they are facing severe cap issues and, despite Rodgers’ excellence, could take the decision to move on from their second consecutive Hall of Fame quarterback.
If Rodgers were to vacate the frozen tundra for the rocky mountains out West then there is a possibility that star wide-out Davante Adams could join him. Adams is looking for a payday that the Packers aren’t going to be able to offer him. Similar to Rodgers, Adams hinted at his intention to leave Green Bay after this past season by posting references to the ‘Last Dance’ Netflix documentary (which was based on the David Halberstam book entitled ‘Playing for Keeps’).
Whether or not you believe the Hackett hire is a Machiavellian move by George Paton to lure Aaron Rodgers, and his sidekick Davante Adams, to Colorado or an earnest attempt to breathe life into this Broncos offence and, in turn, revive Drew Lock’s career, one thing is for sure: the hiring of Nathaniel Hackett is a statement of intent by the Denver Broncos.