ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — A disastrous 51-14 street to the Los Angeles Rams in entrance of nationwide viewers loss proved to be the ultimate straw, because the Denver Broncos fired first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett on Monday after falling to 4-11 in a 2022 season rife with disappointment.
The Broncos, who acquired quarterback Russell Wilson within the offseason in hopes of ending their playoff drought, are averaging a league-worst 15.5 factors per recreation, the group’s fewest since 1971, based on ESPN Stats and Info. They’ve missed the postseason seven consecutive seasons since profitable Tremendous Bowl 50.
Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold and NFL entrance workplace insider Mike Tannenbaum reply the most important questions on Hackett’s firing and what comes subsequent for one the league’s most storied franchises.
What went mistaken and why make the decision now with two video games left?
The Broncos have spent many of the season because the league’s lowest-scoring offense and quarterback Russell Wilson’s recreation appears fractured. Denver primarily placed on a how-to-get-the-coach-fired clinic on Christmas Day with three Wilson interceptions, a defensive meltdown that allowed the Rams to attain on eight of 9 possessions and sideline blowups. Exterior linebacker Randy Gregory capped it off with pointless penalties and a postgame punch on a Rams participant. It is one factor to attempt to look composed or hold it in-house, however Hackett appeared to not take care of any of it. His imaginative and prescient was a group “where guys were excited to come to work,” as he said when he was hired, didn’t materialize as the losses piled up. From his decision to have Brandon McManus try a 64-yard field goal in the season opener, almost every decision Hackett seemed to make didn’t work out the way he hoped or planned. — Legwold
What does this mean for Russell Wilson? Is he still the answer at quarterback?
He has to be. No team can say “by no means thoughts” on a five-year, $225 million extension. The Broncos and Wilson should be collectively by means of 2025 until the Broncos wish to make wage cap historical past and play with a roster crammed with rookies and road free brokers. It’s incumbent on Wilson to get to work on the issues behind middle, given his play and the offense’s continued stagnation often is the greatest causes Hackett was fired. He has to restore his footwork and determine why he continued to move up straightforward completions in favor of low-percentage throws down the sphere that had been coated. — Legwold
Who might the Broncos goal as their subsequent coach?
The checklist might be lengthy. Philadelphia Eagles coordinator Shane Steichen might be within the combine after serving to implement one of many league’s finest offenses. San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Demeco Ryans, Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo might additionally emerge as candidates. Former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton’s identify will likely be talked about in any teaching search. He is already leaning towards former Broncos head coach Vic Fangio as his defensive coordinator if he returns to the sideline subsequent season. — Tannenbaum
Can Denver flip issues round shortly sufficient to attempt to contend in 2023?
Sure, but it surely begins and ends with the quarterback. They should discover a approach for Wilson to play higher, enhance the offensive line and produce as a lot of his outdated schemes from the Seattle Seahawks as potential. Wilson was too profitable for too lengthy for the Broncos not to determine a approach for him to be productive. That is by far Wilson’s worst season for whole QBR at 34.9, per ESPN Stats and Info. His prior profession low was 57.1 in 2016 — the one different time he is been beneath 60. –Tannenbaum
How will the Hackett season be remembered?
For the way shortly all of it dissolved. His in-game choices shortly turned fodder for nationwide debate. Poor clock administration emerged early within the season. His group fielded the lowest-scoring offense within the league behind Wilson’s sub-par play and a rising pile of losses. And a few of the Broncos’ lowest moments additionally got here throughout a number of nationwide tv appearances, together with Sunday’s collapse in opposition to the Rams. — Legwold