Insider Hints at Broncos HC Job Security: ‘Always Going to Pay’

Nathaniel Hackett

Getty Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett walks off the field against the Tennessee Titans.

With just three weeks left in the regular season, there’s still some uncertainty on if Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett will remain Denver’s lead man in 2023.

On December 8, ESPN’s NFL insider Adam Schefter said that general manager George Paton’s job is safe and he’ll return next season.

This week on his regular appearance with “Schlereth and Evans” on 104.3 The Fan in Denver, Schefter hinted that Hackett might not return after the season.

“Somebody is always going to pay for a season like this. Usually, you look at the quarterback and head coach, (quarterback) that contract is there.”

So far this season, Hackett’s offense ranks dead last in the NFL averaging 15.6 points per game. Denver has only scored more than 20 points in a game just four times this season.

Hackett’s offense is weekly changing as one of the worst offenses in Denver’s franchise history.

As Schefter also noted, the Broncos can’t move on from quarterback Russell Wilson because they gave him a five-year contract extension worth over $240 million before they even saw him take a regular season snap this season.

It’s safe to say that the only way for the Broncos to make a dramatic change is to move on from their head coach after his first season.

Is There a Way for Hackett to Keep his Job?

While the Broncos currently own a 4-10 overall record, there still might be a way for Hackett to show enough to keep his job for the 2023 season.

Mike Klis of 9News in Denver also jumped on 104.3 The Fan on December 22 and broke down a scenario where Hackett can keep his job.

“When you’re 4-10 and you’re an offensive guy and your No. 32 in scoring, this is after you get (Russell) Wilson, you need to rally.” Klis continued, “If your Nathaniel Hackett and you’re on the bubble, you have to beat the Rams and then you have to win one of the last two against either the Chargers and Chiefs. Not only that, Russ (Wilson) has to play well and this offense has to score in the 20s. Do all those for three games, then I think there’s a chance, there’s a path where Hackett comes back for a second year.”

Luckily for Hackett, Denver will have a chance to take down the Rams on Christmas day since the reigning Super Bowl champions are averaging just 0.8 more points per game than the Broncos.

Los Angeles will also have quarterback Baker Mayfield making his third start for the Rams.

Earlier in the season, Hackett’s Broncos nearly beat the Los Chargers in their home stadium.

Denver started the game off with a 10-0 lead and even owned a 16-13 with 8:21 left in the game until they lost by three points in overtime. The Broncos will host the Chargers in Week 18.

When facing the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 14, Denver struggled early on, but nearly pulled off a miracle.

Down 27-0 with 4:32 left in the first half, the Broncos would show some fight and outplayed the Chiefs for the rest of the game. Denver would outscore Kansas City 28-7 over the remainder of the game, but Wilson got knocked out of the game with a concussion and Denver fell just short.

This was Denver’s 14th straight loss to the Chiefs.

Nathaniel Hackett Needs Russell Wilson

While trade discussions were happening in the offseason, Wilson approved the Broncos as a team he would play for and one big reason was because Hackett was the head coach.

If Wilson wants Hackett to remain his head coach for more than one season, he must play well and show some improvement over the final three games.

In his first 10 seasons with Seattle, Wilson was playing at a Hall-of-Fame-type level. Once he became a Bronco, he’s played the worst football of his career.

In the 12 games that he has appeared in this year, Wilson has completed a career low 60.4 percent of his passes. It gets worse, Wilson isn’t even averaging a passing touchdown per game.

Against Kansas City, Wilson had his best performance of the season by throwing multiple touchdowns (3) for the second time this season and completed nearly 64% of his passes for 247 yards.

The former Super Bowl champion also found a way to use his legs in the running game, by rushing four times for a season-high 57 yards. Wilson didn’t eclipse more than 30 yards on the ground prior to that game.

It’s clear that these final three games can decide which direction the Broncos franchise will move forward under new ownership.

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