Denver Broncos fire coach Nathaniel Hackett after 4-11 start

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Denver Broncos fired first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett on Monday.

The move comes after a 4-11 start and Sunday’s 51-14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Hackett’s firing abruptly ends the shortest tenure of any non-interim head coach in franchise history. The Broncos’ new ownership, the Walton-Penner Group, led by Walmart heir Rob Walton, his daughter Carrie Walton Penner and son-in-law Greg Penner, quickly ran out of patience with a team that had one of the best in the league. defenses but an offense that just couldn’t score.

“After extensive discussions with [general manager] Jorge [Paton] and our ownership group, we determined that new management would ultimately be in the best interest of the Broncos,” Greg Penner said in a statement. “This change was made now out of respect for all involved and allows us to immediately begin the search for a new head coach.

“Going forward, we will carefully evaluate all aspects of our soccer operations and make any changes necessary to restore this franchise’s winning tradition,” Penner said, adding that Paton will assist in the coaching search. No interim coach has been named.

The team has scheduled a press conference for Tuesday at noon ET.

At one point this season, the Broncos boasted the No. 1 scoring defense and No. 32 scoring offense. The Broncos also missed the playoffs for the seventh straight year, the longest playoff drought since the franchise’s early years, when he missed the playoffs between 1960 and 1976.

It’s a far cry from Hall of Famer Pat Bowlen’s three-decade career as owner, when the Broncos went to more Super Bowls (seven) than losing seasons. This season also marks the fifth time the Broncos have averaged less than 20 points per game in the past seven years. Until Hackett’s firing, Wade Phillips had had the shortest tenure as the team’s non-interim head coach in the post-AFL-NFL merger era, two seasons (1993–1994), before he was fired by Bowlen and Mike Shanahan. was hired.

Hackett, 42, was hired in January as the franchise’s 18th head coach after serving three seasons as the Green Bay Packers’ offensive coordinator under Matt LaFleur. At the time, Paton called Hackett a “dynamic leader and coach whose intelligence, innovation and charisma impressed us early in the process.”

Then-Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O’Connell and Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn were also finalists for the job. O’Connell was later signed by the Minnesota Vikings, whose resurgent offense has gotten them off to a 12-3 start. Shortly after Hackett’s signing, the Broncos traded five draft picks, including two first-round and two second-round picks, as well as three players to the Seattle Seahawks to acquire the quarterback. russell wilson. Wilson signed a five-year, $245 million contract extension just before the start of the season.

But the excitement of the Broncos’ offseason quickly faded when Hackett’s in-game decision-making came into question from the start of the season.

In Week 1, his call to have a kicker Brandon McManus attempting a 64-yard field goal instead of Wilson trying to convert a 4th-and-5 in the last minute of a 17–16 loss to Seattle proved controversial.

“Looking back, I definitely should have,” Hackett said the day after the loss. “One of those things, you look back and say, ‘Of course we should try; we missed the field goal.’ But in that situation we had a plan, we knew that 46 was the mark.”

Game management issues continued in the weeks that followed, with fans even counting down the game clock during some home games, and former Baltimore Ravens assistant coach Jerry Rosburg was brought in in September to help with management decisions. of the game. However, the disconnect between Hackett, Wilson and the offense persisted. Hackett routinely emphasized that he wanted to “build this thing around [Wilson]and doing what Wilson was “comfortable” doing on offense, even as Wilson repeatedly said he was comfortable “doing a lot of things.”

At 15.5 points per game, the Broncos are at their lowest point total at this point in a season since 1966.

Injuries to frontline players at left tackle Garett Bollesrunning backwards javonte williamsthe wide receiver tim patrick and outside linebacker randy gregory it certainly didn’t help anything. But as the season progressed, there was much less talk in the public domain about Hackett’s willingness to think outside the box about his teaching methods and more about why the Broncos’ offense was historically so bad. Five of the Broncos’ first six losses and eight total have been one-run games.

That wasn’t the case Sunday, as Denver’s defense saw the Rams score on eight of their nine possessions. Also, backup quarterback Brett Rypien and guard Dalton Risner they exchanged words on the sidelines after a sequence in the third quarter when Wilson was sacked on back-to-back plays.

Gregory was taken out of the game twice by Hackett, once in the first half when he was flagged after he threw his helmet after a Rams touchdown, and later when he was flagged for a late hit on the Los Angeles quarterback. . mayfield baker. “After that second we removed it, that’s unacceptable,” Hackett said.

As the teams packed the middle of the field on their way to their locker rooms after the game, Gregory and the Rams guard Elder Aboushi they exchanged words, with their headphones on, and Gregory hit Aboushi on the helmet. Aboushi responded with a punch before they parted ways.

With the richest ownership group in the NFL, as well as a fan base passionate enough even now to have given the Broncos a home-sell streak dating back to 1970, the role of head coach for the Broncos will be an attractive job.

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