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#pounditThursday, December 8, 2022

Former NFL head coach explains big Nathaniel Hackett mistake

Nathaniel Hackett talks with the media

Jun 6, 2022; Englewood, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett speaks to the media following OTA workouts at the UC Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Nathaniel Hackett’s tenure as Denver Broncos head coach has gotten off to a very rocky start. One former coach who has been in Hackett’s shoes cited one key issue that probably has not helped matters.

Longtime NFL coach Todd Haley appeared on Wednesday’s edition of “The Pat McAfee Show” and discussed the Broncos’ issues managing the play clock in Sunday’s win over the Houston Texans, which saw fans count down the play clock to try to help the team. Haley, who served as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs from 2009 to 2011, suggested that Hackett had made a mistake with the makeup of his coaching staff.

“There is a lot of stuff you’ve got to worry about. The one thing he didn’t do is surround himself with a lot of veteran coaches,” Haley said of Hackett. “I had a bunch of older coaches on the staff that I leaned on a bunch in some of those situational things. I had Mike Vrabel on the team. He’d be standing over my shoulder telling me ‘Hey Todd, look at the clock, look at the clock.'”

Haley is correct that Hackett has surrounded himself with a younger coaching staff. Neither offensive coordinator Justin Outten or defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero have served in those roles before. Outside of Hackett, the only member of the Denver staff with previous NFL offensive or defensive coordinator experience is Dom Capers, who serves as a senior defensive assistant.

Hackett has said he does not plan to reduce his duties going forward despite looking overwhelmed at times through the first two weeks. Ultimately, if lack of experience is the issue, it’s probably too late to really fix that at this stage.

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