Thursday, December 22, 2022

Insider names potential replacement for Nathaniel Hackett

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

In fact, the Denver offense led by quarterback Russell Wilson has only surpassed 16 points twice this season.

With the Broncos likely to miss the playoffs for a seventh straight season, rumors are starting to spread about who might replace Hackett after just a year at the helm of the ship.

According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, several head coaches are in the hot seat, and Denver could have one. “People are watching Denver closely as a potential opening.”

In the same article, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said, “Hackett’s status feels flimsy at best.” Fowler added, “I haven’t spoken to a lot of people who think he’s going to get a second season.”

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

“On the assistants front, Denver defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero is a candidate who will be of interest to multiple teams — potentially Denver as well if it departs from Hackett and doesn’t reach out to someone like Dan Quinn. Offensive coordinators Ben Johnson at Detroit, Ken Dorsey at Buffalo and Brian Callahan at Cincinnati are also on the team roster,” Graziano said.

Evero began his NFL coaching career in 2007 as the defensive quality control coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After three years, Evero returned to the collegiate scene, working at the University of Redlands as a special teams coordinator and safety coach.

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

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

Evero had a big break a year later when he became safety coach for the Los Angeles Rams under head coach Sean McVay. After four years in that capacity, Evero was promoted to the team’s secondary manager and passing coordinator.

Evero and his Rams helped the Rams own one of the best defenses in football year after year and would win the 2022 Super Bowl against the Cincinnati Bengals.

After topping the world as a champion, Evero was hired by Denver head coach Nathaniel Hackett as the Broncos’ defensive coordinator.

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

In his first season as defensive coordinator for the Cowboys, Quinn turned the 28th defense into the seventh-best in 2021. In 11 games this season, Dallas has the top-scoring defense while Denver is second.

As a former head coach, Denver has been able to halt its streak of hiring head coaches like Vance Joseph, Vic Fangio, and Hackett.

Quinn will once again be the hottest name in coaching circles this offseason due to his experience coaching the Atlanta Falcons.

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

Brian Callahan: During the offseason, Callahan, who was the Broncos’ offensive assistant and quality control coach from 2010-2015, also interviewed Denver but ended up staying with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Callahan, 38, has been on Zac Taylor’s coaching staff as offensive coordinator since 2019. Callahan learned offense on the West Coast under Gary Kubiak in 2015 and was back with the Bengals. He has assisted in the development of quarterback Joe Burrow.

If the Broncos want to continue leading the West Coast offense for Wilson, Callahan could be a good fit to bolster the Denver offense going forward.

Kellen Moore: The stock is up and continues to rise for Moore. In recent years, Moore has applied for several jobs but has yet to get one.

Last season, the Broncos spoke to Moore in the offseason before settling on Hackett. Moore, 34, has been the Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks coach and offensive line coordinator since 2018. During that time, Moore has helped improve Dak Prescott’s game, and even that year, Moore helped Cooper Rush lead the Dallas offensive quarterback to a 4-1 record even though Prescott was injured.

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

As a former head coach, Denver has been able to halt its streak of hiring head coaches like Vance Joseph, Vic Fangio, and Hackett.

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