DROP THE MIKE

The honeymoon is already over for Nathaniel Hackett in Denver

Sep 14, 2022, 6:33 AM
Nathaniel Hackett...
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Well, that didn’t take long. Six months of unbridled optimism got wiped out in one noisy night in Seattle.

The biggest takeaway from the Broncos’ 17-16 loss to the Seahawks? The Nathaniel Hackett honeymoon is over.

Maybe Hackett will go onto be a great coach for the Broncos. But, he had one chance to make a good first impression and he failed, miserably. All the former players on The Fan who were skeptical or outright critical of Hackett’s laid-back approach to training camp and the preseason games have every reason to say “I told you so.”

I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Even when the Sean McVay/Matt LaFleur model was a bust on Thursday and Sunday of Week 1. Even when going into the Seattle game, quarterbacks who didn’t play in the preseason went 3-7 in to start the season.

But that faith was misplaced, as Hackett’s team was sloppy, undisciplined and mistake prone. The Broncos looked like a team that hadn’t practiced hard or played in the preseason.

It’s one thing to think that strategy will prepare your team to play in any environment, nevermind what the Broncos walked into in Seattle. That lack of preparation was only exacerbated by the raucous, blood thirsty 12s.

And yet, despite all that, the Broncos still had a chance to win! Fourth-and-five at the Seattle 46. One minute left in the game. A full complement of timeouts at your disposal. Russell Wilson, the man you gave up a kings ransom to trade for. The man you showered a five-year, $250-million contract upon. Russ, the author of 32 fourth-quarter, game-winning drives. Instead of putting the game in his hands, Coach Hackett decided to go with a 64-yard field goal.

By now, you’ve probably heard the numbers that prove how bad a decision it was. Brandon McManus is 1-for-8 on field goals of more than 60 yards. All-time, field-goal attempts of 64-plus yards are now 2-for-41. It was the kind of late-game management that got Vance Joseph and Vic Fangio killed around here.

That is why the Hackett Honeymoon is over. What’s the old saying, “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it?” Sorry, I don’t want to hear about how unfair it is for Hackett to be judged by past Broncos’ first-time head coaches. There is a discernible pattern when it comes to recent first-time head coaches here in Denver.

We are currently riding a three coach losing streak with Josh McDaniels, VJ and Vic. We’ve seen their struggles. We know what inexperienced, in over your head, the game is moving too fast for them, coaching looks like.

Hackett doesn’t get the benefit of the doubt with me. I would bet the majority of Broncos Country feels the same way. We’ve been burned too many times before. Hackett had six months of momentum at his back. After one night in Seattle, he has lost it all. He and the Broncos now start from scratch.

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The honeymoon is already over for Nathaniel Hackett in Denver