Update — The Broncos moved on and fired Hackett on Monday morning. Here’s the statement from the Broncos and owner and CEO Greg Penner.
We have parted ways with Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett.— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) December 26, 2022
A statement from Broncos Owner & CEO Greg Penner: pic.twitter.com/1tWMjHv6em
The Denver Broncos entered the season with high hopes centered around franchise quarterback Russell Wilson. Head coach Nathaniel Hackett was making a big leap after previously serving as the quarterbacks coach for the Green Bay Packers, but Wilson was set to bring back the quarterback standards Broncos fans are used to. The season has been a nightmare.
It all started with a loss in the opener to the Seattle Seahawks, where Hackett made several questionable decisions regarding game management. Those problems continued for a few weeks before the Broncos hired a special consultant to help Hackett make those decisions. The consultant clearly didn’t have a big impact, as Hackett continued to have questionable game management calls. Getting those right more often than not is one of the major responsibilities of being a head coach.
Wilson arguably regressed as a quarterback under Hackett, on pace to set career lows in completion percentage, touchdown passes, rating and QBR. It’s hard to think Wilson threw 40 touchdown passes just two seasons ago.
When the Broncos were searching for a head coach, they were simultaneously shopping around for a quarterback. Given the rumors about Aaron Rodgers, it’s not hard to think they hired Hackett believing Rodgers would demand a trade to Denver. That didn’t happen, and now the Broncos are stuck with a head coach who they might not have felt was the most qualified for the position. Wilson is locked into a massive contract, so making this offense work likely means moving on from Hackett.
Playing out the season with an interim coach, especially when the team has been eliminated, doesn’t really do anyone any good. There’s no face-saving way of firing Hackett after one season but doing it with two weeks left is just poor taste. The Broncos will allow Hackett to finish out the season before likely changing directions.