The Broncos introduced the 18th Head Coach in Broncos History, Friday, as Nathaniel Hackett met the media. Hackett comes to Denver after spending the last 3 years as the Offensive Coordinator in Green Bay. It's easy to tell from the second he opened his mouth how affable he is, and how he was able to win over General Manager George Paton and the rest of the organization to beat out 9 other candidates, and ultimately land the job of replacing Vic Fangio, changing the culture in the building and as Hackett said as it relates to enthusiasm, "football isn't much fun, unless you win games."
Paton said he didn't need to wait for second interviews with any of his other candidates. Not only did Hackett blow Paton and his "search party" out of the water, he blew everyone in the building at The UC Health Training Center Away on Monday, when he spent nearly 9 hours in Denver, including a dinner with Paton and his right-hand man, Darren Mougey, the team's Director of Player Personnel at "Los Dos Potrillos" Mexican Restaurant. Paton admitted that Tuesday via zoom was when Hackett sealed the deal, "I have no doubt about his football acumen, Paton said, "I think he has a brilliant football mind." Paton on Hackett. Said Hackett's success in finding success at Syracuse, Buffalo and Jax mattered. "He blew us away with his vision. I am so sold on this relationship.
Hackett didn't comment about the prospect of bringing 3-time league MVP, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers to Denver, but did glow about what it was like to work with the future Hall of Famer, "Coaching a man like that ... you better have an answer for every question because he's going to ask every single question about every single thing you do, Hackett said"
The Broncos offensive has been anything but explosive in recent years, and has averaged about 17 points in the Fangio Era. Hackett said he would call plays, and the offense would look familiar, "First of all, any offense you have has to be adjustable to whoever you have on your team," he said. "The starting point for me is outside zone and you want to be able to build off of that with play action passes.” And he referenced that it's an evolved version of what Mike Shanahan and Gary Kubiak ran in Denver, but still routed in he "West Coast Principles" he learned from his Dad. The son of former NFL coach Paul Hackett, the younger Hackett grew up around the game before playing collegiate football at the University of California, Davis.
Hackett began his NFL coaching career as an offensive quality control coach for the Buccaneers (2006-07) and Bills (2008-09) before he was hired as the quarterbacks/tight ends coach for Syracuse University. Hackett then served as offensive coordinator for the Orange from 2011-12 before he returned to the pro ranks in 2013 as the Bills' offensive coordinator.
In Hackett's 7 seasons as an NFL offensive coordinator, not including his stint in 2016 as Jackonsville's interim offensive coordinator, his teams have ranked in the top 10 in total offense and scoring offense on 3 occasions.
While we don't know if Hackett can Coach, and if he'll help the Broncos return to the post-season, the one thing we know about Hackett, is he marches to the beat of his own drum. He studied Neuroscience in college with designs on being a doctor. He also had aspirations to be a back-up dancer for Justin Timberlake and even taught hip-hop dance classes while in college. And he loves Star Wars to the point that he's had lots of plays that were named after some of his favorite characters. When asked who his favorite Star Wars character was, he smiled, said he didn't think he'd be asked that, and admitted, "that's like asking me to pick which one my kids is my favorite." Ultimately, he did pick a favorite character that he thought he was most like, "I have always felt like I'm a Han Solo, he was always smooth and cool and got the Princess...she(his wife Megan sitting in the front row of the team auditorium) she is so mad at me right now!"