BRONCOS

Stubborn Hackett defends preseason plan, despite injuries and sloppiness

Oct 18, 2022, 3:48 PM
Nathaniel Hackett...
(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
(Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

The debate all summer in Broncos Country was whether or not “Camp Hackett” would work.

It clearly hasn’t, as Denver doesn’t look prepared at all to start the 2022 season. Hardly any of the starters played in preseason. Every third day at training camp was a “jog-through” that saw the players get in very little football work.

At 2-4, the offense looks sloppy, the penalties are out of control and the injuries are piling up. Whatever head coach Nathaniel Hackett though he was getting out of a light preseason and camp hasn’t paid off.

At his press conference on Tuesday, the day after another embarrassing overtime loss, Hackett was asked if he looks back at the preseason plan and regrets going “easy” on the guys. Hackett defended the plan, essentially blaming the injuries on bad luck.

“When it comes to the preseason, I don’t think that, I really don’t. I think that a lot of the injuries that we’re having are kind of crazy, from the standpoint of the amount of ACLs and so forth,” Hackett said.

The Broncos suffered their fifth torn ACL of the year in the Chargers game on Monday night. Special teams cog Aaron Patrick is done for the season. To be fair, Patrick got hurt on an extremely fluky play — colliding with someone on the overcrowded NFL sideline.

But that’s three ACLs in three weeks, with Denver also losing Javonte Williams and Ronald Darby for the season. Throw in Tim Patrick’s ACL in training camp, and the injury situation with key players is insane.

Meanwhile, the Broncos are last in the NFL in points per game at just 15.16 overall. They’re tops in penalties, after committing a ridiculous 10 fouls for 151 yards against the Chargers. Hackett says these things are not related to his preseason plan. And even pulled the dreaded Vance Joseph “great practice” line out on Tuesday.

“I think that from the standpoint of the offense getting in rhythm, I think we had a lot of great practices. Guys being able to do and execute a lot of different stuff. For whatever reason, there’s certain things that we’re missing. Whether they’re pressing, or wanting it to better, that consistency is not there and it needs to be there,” Hackett said.

It’d be difficult for Hackett to admit at this moment he botched things in the summer. But a little accountability would also be nice. For now, if he gets a second year (a big if), Broncos fans can only hope next year’s training camp and preseason look a lot different.

The way things are trending, Hackett won’t be the guy running both of them.

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