It’s impossible to convince Denver Broncos fans that Nathaniel Hackett will be their head coach for another season.
Broncos fans have been vocal since the team got off to a bad start with a bizarre week one loss punctuated by Hackett’s bizarre decision to accept a 64-yard field goal at the Seattle Seahawks. Giving in to the desires of impatient fans is usually unwise. In this case, this may be the only way out.
On Sunday, Denver’s season took a turn for the worse when the Las Vegas Raiders lost in overtime, 22–16. It had more serious errors. You can’t blame the coach for everything, but the Broncos are a team with a bad coach.
The Raiders were leading 2-7, and although the Broncos were again struggling on offense, they had a 16-13 lead with two minutes left. They had a break to discuss the upcoming third and tenth. The first try would have ended the game. And Russell Wilson made a mistake he can’t make.
Wilson threw an incomplete third down. He wasn’t even close to the target, and it looked like he could throw it away. Even if Hackett relinquished his playing duties last week, someone needs to let Wilson know the bag isn’t bad at this place. Wilson is a veteran and should know better. The bag would speed up by 40 seconds. In hindsight, the Broncos should have just taken the middle. At the very least, burning 40 seconds on the clock would do something positive for their chances of winning.
The Broncos took a hit and ended up losing. It’s possible the Raiders would still have tied without an extra 40 seconds, but a complete flop in coverage allowed running back Josh Jacobs to catch the ball from 43 yards in the last minute to set up a field goal and then another broken coverage in overtime. left Davante Adams wide open for a 35-yard touchdown. Two failed reports on two key games in the game aren’t entirely up to Hackett, but it’s a sign of a team that looks unprepared every week.
Broncos fans are fed up. This is not how they imagined their season. Something will give way, and the next big step seems predictable. The Broncos were stuck with Wilson for at least another couple of years due to his contract. This is not the case with Hacket.
Denver 3-7. Hackett was hired after being the Green Bay Packers’ offensive coordinator, but his offense was poor. Denver scored the fewest points in the NFL in 10 weeks. For the entire season, they did not score more than 23 points per game. Hackett pulled out of a game with passing coordinator and quarterbacks coach Clint Kubiak this week, and the offense didn’t get much better. However, there was no control of the game.
The Broncos have not made the playoffs since the end of the 2015 season, when they won Super Bowl 50 in the last game of Peyton Manning’s career. Hackett and Wilson had to fix it. Instead, the Broncos didn’t look offensive for most of the weeks as losses piled up. A new group of owners bought the team after Hackett was hired. He has no investment in it – the Walton family paid $4.65 billion for the Broncos, so let’s assume they can afford to buy out the rest of Hackett’s contract – so there’s no reason to keep him for a second season. Hackett was unlucky with an injury-ravaged squad, but that doesn’t fully justify the pathetic attacking formation and game management errors.
It seems very hard to believe that Hackett will be back next season, short of a long winning streak that starts right away. If he is given a chance to start a winning streak. The owner should have taken note when fans left the stadium before overtime against the Indianapolis Colts or during a one-possession game against the New York Jets. Fans are fed up with a product that the new owners have spent a record amount on.
The biggest question may be whether Hackett will last through a disappointing season that no one in Denver expected.