PALM BEACH, Fla._After twp years of no in-person Annual NFL League Meeting, the "Owner's Meetings" return in earnest at the swanky Breakers Resort. It's a first for second-year general manager George Paton and his rookie head coach, Nathaniel Hackett. Although Paton has been to this event in the past, two things are different. For one, it's the first time he's here as a GM, and secondly, it's also the first time he's had a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback on his roster, with the acquisition of Russell Wilson.
"The Head Coach was really the first thing you need to do, we did that, I feel really good about Nathaniel (Hackett)," Paton said. "Obviously, you need to establish your franchise quarterback, we have that. If you can have a franchise coach, franchise quarterback, you know you can really take that a long way. Hopefully, that's what happens."
As for the Hackett, he's just spent the last three seasons with future Hall-of-fame QB in Aaron Rodgers, and said his focus since Wilson became a Bronco was finding the plays that he could implement in his offense that fit the Nine-time Pro Bowler, "The first part is just about evaluating what I've seen on tape with him, and I've watched him and gone against him so many different times," Hackett said, "and understanding that's gonna come be something that's gonna come up and we're talk about, and we're gonna be sure that we have it in the system. And then, kind of think of the things I've done in the past with all the different guys I've been around and coached. And, realize that now you can kind of experiment and do those things too. Then it's about the two of us just making it the Bronco offense, and everybody kinda joining in and doing those different things, so, with a guy like Russell, we can do a lot, and I think that's exciting."
However, his interactions with his new signal-caller haven't really been about X's and O's to this point, "I think right now it's just really been about getting to know each other," Hackett said. "We don't talk really much football, we're gonna save that for April. Right now it's just about getting to know each other as people, as father's husbands, as husbands, I think it's just been a great time."
Paton also weighed in on some of the free agent moves. When asked about bringing inside linebacker Josey Jewell back on a two-year deal he said, "I think he's a special guy. He's special in our locker room, special on the field. I've said a number of times he's the glue that kept our defense together. He's just a guy we really wanted back. Really instinctive, tough, physical, makes plays. Doesn't have all the traits you want, but he makes up for it with his mind."
He also explained why they wanted to bring former Broncos offensive lineman Billy Turner back after he spent the last 3 years with Hackett in Green Bay, joking that Hackett and Turner's relationship was so good, and their families are so close, that his Head Coach was almost "too biased" on bringing the versatile lineman back. Hackett said the versatility was the big factor in wanting Turner to follow him to Denver but wouldn't ignore the human component, "Anybody who's a great player and a great man, you want on your team," Hackett said, "The fact that it worked out the way it did, is awesome for the both of us."
Listen to Both Media Sessions Below: