Insider Names Potential Replacement for Nathaniel Hackett

Nathaniel Hackett

Getty Denver Broncos HC Nathaniel Hackett looks on before the game against the Seattle Seahawks.

The Denver Broncos have underperformed this season and a lot of the blame has to go on head coach Nathaniel Hackett. Averaging just 14.7 points per game, Hackett’s offense ranks last in the NFL in scoring.

In fact, the Denver offense that is led by quarterback Russell Wilson has only scored more that 16 points twice this season.

With the Broncos likely to miss the playoffs for a seventh straight season, rumblings are starting to come out as to who could replace Hackett after just one year of steering the ship.

According to Dan Graziano of ESPN, there are multiple head coaches that are on the hot seat and Denver might have one. “People are watching Denver closely as a potential opening.”

In the same piece, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN said, “Hackett’s status feels tenuous at best.” Fowler added, ” I haven’t talked to many people who believe he will get a second season.”

If Hackett and the Denver offense can’t help out their top-five scoring defense, Hackett could be replaced by someone on his own coaching staff.

“On the assistants front, Denver defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero is a candidate of interest to multiple teams — including, potentially, Denver, if it moves on from Hackett and doesn’t turn to someone like Dan Quinn. Offensive coordinators Ben Johnson in Detroit, Ken Dorsey in Buffalo and Brian Callahan in Cincinnati are also on teams’ lists,” Graziano said.

Who is Evero?

In 2007, Evero began his coaching career in the NFL as a defensive quality control coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After three years, Evero went back to the college scene and worked at the University of Redlands as the special teams coordinator and safeties coach.

From 2011-2015, Evero would make the jump back to the NFL where he was an assistant coach for the San Francisco 49ers. Evero would work under head coach Jim Harbaugh and Jim Tomsula. While working in San Francisco, Evero was able to learn from legendary defensive coordinator Vic Fangio as well as Eric Mangini as a defensive assistant.

The following season, 2016, Evero landed a job with the Green Bay Packers as the defensive quality control coach and worked under head coach Mike McCarthy along with defensive coordinator Dom Capers.

Evero caught a big break one year later by becoming the safeties coach for the Los Angeles Rams under head coach Sean McVay. After four years in that role, Evero was promoted to the team’s secondary coach and passing game coordinator.

Helping the Rams own one of the best defenses in football year in and year out, Evero and his Rams would go on and win the 2022 Super Bowl over the Cincinnati Bengals.

After being on top of the world as a champion, Evero was then brought in by Denver’s head coach Nathaniel Hackett to be the Broncos’ defensive coordinator.

Other Options to Replace Hackett

Dan Quinn: Last offseason, Quinn was arguably the hottest name that many thought would be hired as a team’s head coach. Instead, Quinn didn’t receive an offer he liked so he remained with the Dallas Cowboys as their defensive coordinator.

In his first season as the defensive coordinator for the Cowboys, Quinn turned the 28th ranked scoring defense into the seventh best in 2021. Through 11 games this season, Dallas owns the top scoring defense with Denver sitting in second-place.

Being a head coach before, Denver could stop their streak of hiring first-time head coaches like Vance Joseph, Vic Fangio, and Hackett.

Quinn will once again be the hottest name in coaching circles in the offseason because of his experience coaching the Atlanta Falcons.

In his six seasons as the leader of the Falcons, Quinn lead Atlanta to an overall record of 43-42 with two winning seasons and a trip to a Super Bowl.

Brian Callahan: In the offseason, Callahan, who was a Broncos offensive assistant and quality control coach from 2010 to 2015, also interviewed with Denver, but he eventually remained with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Callahan, 38, has been on Zac Taylor’s coaching staff since 2019 as offensive coordinator. Learning the West Coast offense under Gary Kubiak in 2015 and being part of it again with the Bengals, Callahan has helped the development of quarterback Joe Burrow.

If the Broncos want to continue to run the West Coast offense for Wilson, Callahan could be a fit to improve the Denver offense in the future.

Kellen Moore: The stock has been rising and continues to rise for Moore. In recent years, Moore has interviewed for multiple jobs, but just hasn’t landed one yet.

Last season, the Broncos interviewed with Moore in the offseason before they made their decision to go with Hackett. Moore, 34, has served as the Dallas Cowboys’ quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator since 2018. During that span, Moore has helped elevate Dak Prescott’s game and even this year, Moore helped Cooper Rush quarterback the Dallas offense to a 4-1 record when Prescott was injured.

Moore could be a solid option if the Broncos want to continue their search of that rising star.