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#pounditWednesday, April 24, 2024

Report reveals big reason behind Broncos’ Nathaniel Hackett decision

Nathaniel Hackett in sunglasses

Aug 20, 2022; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett enters the field before a pre-season game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos acted quickly Monday to fire head coach Nathaniel Hackett before he could even finish his first season. There was apparently one significant reason the Broncos acted now instead of waiting for the end of the season to make a change.

As bad as the play on the field was in Sunday’s 51-14 loss to the Rams, a major motivating factor apparently was what transpired on the Denver sideline instead. Broncos players could be seen arguing on the sideline, and the level of disorganization led Broncos ownership to fear that Hackett had completely lost the team, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

“The play on the field was terrible. The quarterback play, terrible. But the fighting on the sideline may have been worse, because that was a sign that coach Nathaniel Hackett had really lost his team,” Rapoport said. “Complete disorganization on the sideline, players running amok, yelling at each other. It was all bad, but that was really a sign that it could actually get worse. Things could really implode in the locker room.”

The fighting that Rapoport is alluding to is a confrontation in which offensive lineman Dalton Risner shoved backup quarterback Brett Rypien during the game. The Broncos also got into a physical confrontation with the Rams after the game ended.

The Broncos have been plagued by rumors of tension for much of the second half of the season. Hints of it have emerged on the sideline before, but Sunday was the most obvious manifestation of it, and played a significant role in Hackett’s dismissal a day later.

Ultimately, Hackett’s tenure had plenty of problems, a number of which emerged early in the season. The offense never improved, and the discord among the team was the last straw.

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