The Denver Broncos have hired Green Bay Packers OC Nathaniel Hackett as their new head coach. Is this an Aaron Rodgers-inspired move?
Of course, the immediate reaction and next step everyone wants to talk about is the potential of the Broncos now acquiring Aaron Rodgers in a trade. After all of the rumors dating back to the first night of the 2021 NFL Draft, how could you not make those connections?
As of this particular point in time, the hiring of Hackett is independent of Rodgers becoming a member of the Denver Broncos. Broncos general manager George Paton had an extensive list of candidates he interviewed and flew all over the country to meet.
Hackett emerged victorious.
If you want to know about the head coach candidate in this cycle with the strangest list of skills on his resume, look no further.
Hackett was a neurobiology major at UC Davis, is a hip-hop dancer (seriously), he’s a Star Wars nerd, son of longtime coach Paul Hackett who comes from the Bill Walsh coaching tree, and he can say he’s one of the people in this world that NFL MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers actually likes.
Now that’s saying something.
The unconventional skill set of Hackett involves a depth and wealth of football knowledge, of course. Not only does his father come from a broad coaching tree that includes years in the late 80s with Bill Walsh, but Hackett himself has worked with a variety of coaches including his most recent boss, Matt LaFleur, who comes from the Kyle Shanahan/Sean McVay coaching tree.
There’s a background of West Coast in his blood but with the modern twists and wrinkles that we’ve seen coaches like Shanahan and McVay bringing to the table. Hackett hasn’t been the lead play-caller since he was with Jacksonville where he helped Blake Bortles to three relatively successful years, including a trip to the AFC Championship game along with that strong Jaguars defense.
Of course now, though, all eyes will be on the way Hackett can shape his own staff and team as a whole. He’s been the primary offensive coordinator before. He’s been the quarterbacks coach. He’s had his hand in plenty of different areas, and now he gets to be the CEO.
As a coach, Hackett’s personality comes off as very much a “Ted Lasso” type, and if you haven’t yet seen that show on Apple TV you’ve got to snap to.
As quirky and humorous as Hackett can be, he’s also a great teacher of the game and brings energy, something the Denver Broncos need after the very stoic Vic Fangio and his no-nonsense style.
Will Hackett be able to convince Aaron Rodgers to force a trade to Denver? Maybe. That may not matter, ultimately. The Denver Broncos have been stuck in the NFL’s basement in terms of offensive production since their 2015 Super Bowl season.
For the first time since they hired Gary Kubiak in 2015, the Broncos have an offensive-centric head coach whose philosophy is to coach every player like they are a starter. That kind of emphasis on player development along with Hackett’s expertise on the offensive side of the ball were likely the top selling points in this particular hire.