Sunday, November 27, 2022

NFL insider lists possible replacement for HC Nathaniel Hackett

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The Denver Broncos have emerged as the NFL’s most disappointing team in the 2022 season. Denver’s offense is averaging its worst NFL ratings of 14.6 points per game and is its worst offensive stat in team history in the first nine games of the season.

General manager George Paton fired head coach Vic Fangio last season and traded his two quarterbacks, Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater. Last season, Denver averaged 19.7 points per game, and if that were the case for the Broncos this season, they would own a winning record.

Paton went out and hired Nathaniel Hackett as his head coach, and the team plant folks believed Hackett was an offensive genius, but that wasn’t the case this season. Even after trading for Russell Wilson, the Broncos’ quarterback carousel seemed to be coming to an end, but not so quickly.

Wilson is having the worst season of his career. The former Seahawk completes just 57.4 percent of his passes and has a 33 QBR (54.7 last season, which was the worst in his career).

The Broncos have also owned a double-digit lead this season, twice disappearing and turning into losses.

As the Broncos continue to struggle this season and show no improvement, talks are beginning as to whether Hackett will be finished after just one season.

“If Denver doesn’t start winning in the coming weeks, you’re bound to hear rumors about Hackett’s job security, and especially if they can’t get past the Raiders and Panthers in the next two weeks,” Albert Breer said in his recent post for si. com. “It’s possible that Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will be reconnected with the job (perhaps with fellow assistant and former Seahawks Lt. Brian Schottenheimer as OC), given his relationship with GM George Paton and his experience with Wilson.”

Schottenheimer was with Wilson in Seattle from 2018 to 2020. While the two were together, they won double-digit games in each of their three seasons, making the playoffs each time. While Schottenheimer made calling plays for the former Super Bowl champion, Wilson completed 67 percent of his passes for an average of 3,923 yards per season. Wilson averaged 38 touchdowns with just nine interceptions.

Right now, it seems unlikely that the current coaching staff can get Wilson back on track the way he did in Seattle.

Dan Quinn aside, there are a few potential candidates out there who could replace Hackett if he gets the ax before or after the season.

Sean Payton: Rumors have been circulating that the former Super Bowl-winning head coach is ready to return to the NFL after stepping down for a year.

If Payton wants to return to the sidelines, he has a choice of teams to choose from. He wants an established quarterback who knows how to win in the NFL. Payton coached Drew Brees, who wasn’t a great quarterback, so he’ll know how to work with Wilson under center.

It’s unclear how much money Payton wants as head coach, but if you look at the Broncos’ owners, they have money to spend.

Everything sounds great, but Denver would have to trade for Payton as the New Orleans Saints still own his rights.

Kellen Moore: 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 served as the Dallas Cowboys quarterbacks coach and offensive line coordinator since 2018. During that time, Moore helped improve Dak Prescott’s game, and even that year, Moore helped Cooper Rush quarterback lead the Dallas offense to a 4-1 record when Prescott was injured.

If the Broncos want a potential rising star, Moore could be a solid option.

Brian Callahan: During the offseason, Callahan also interviewed the Broncos but ended up staying with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Callahan previously worked as an offensive assistant and quality control coach for the Broncos from 2010-2015. The 38-year-old 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 ramp up the Denver offense going forward.

Since the Broncos are the most injured team in the NFL, they put more players on the injured list after their last game against the Titans.

On the first offensive play of the game for Denver, wide receiver Jerry Jeudy went out for a pass and as he planted his right foot in the ground, he went down clutching his ankle.

Jeudy would not return to the game, but Hackett told reporters he is day-to-day.

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

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