Things in Denver haven’t gone as planned during the 2022 NFL season. The team has underachieved mightily through seven weeks, sporting a paltry 2-5 record and mired in a four-game losing streak. With new quarterback Russell Wilson not playing well in the new system and a team that looks fractured, GM George Paton who put this together in the offseason decided to give his rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett a “vote of confidence.”
In the NFL, such an assurance is often the beginning of the end for a struggling coach.
Hackett, who was hired for his offensive prowess, has seen his putrid offense average a putrid 14.2 points per game. In fact, the Broncos reached the 20-point mark once, in a loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. As his team prepares to face the Jaguars in London on Sunday — in a do-or-die game — Paton had this to say about Hackett.
“I believe in Nathaniel, I support Nathaniel 100%. He’s been in this for seven games as a head coach. The scrutiny he’s faced is unprecedented. We’ve had four primetime games, so he’s kind of had to learn in front of the entire world. I really like how he’s kept the team together. They’re connected. … He’s kept our building together and I appreciate how he’s fought through that.”
“I see him in front of the team,” Paton continued. “He’s kept this team together. It’s hard to lose five games like we’ve lost and Nathaniel has great leadership and he’s kept this team together, he’s kept his coaching staff and really our entire building together.”
What else is Paton going to say? He hired Hackett over current Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell, who has his team at 5-1 and comfortably in first place in the NFC North. President of football operations and Broncos legend John Elway recently talked about how the team nearly hired O’Connell over Hackett. His remarks surely sounded like he wished they had.
Paton Gives Awkward Reasoning For Extending Russell Wilson So Soon
On top of showing confidence in Hackett, Paton also recently explained why the team was in such a hurry to sign Russell Wilson to that mega extension without playing a single down in a Broncos uniform
Paton told reporters this:
“We wanted to get ahead of the contract cycle. We had seen how Russ was in the offseason and training camp and we felt really good about Russ. We feel really good about Russ. … We feel really good about it. I feel good about the deal. I feel like it will hold up.”
Wilson Hasn’t Played Like He’s Worth The $245M Extension
Hackett’s play-calling hasn’t been anything to brag about, but even with that you’d expect much better play from Wilson. That hasn’t happened at all. Wilson has routinely missed open receivers or just flat looked unsure about where he should throw the ball.
Russell Wilson had 2 years, $51M remaining on his contract, so a 5 year, $245M extension means 7 years, $296M in total value for the almost 34 year old. https://t.co/qcKoC6COfx
— Spotrac (@spotrac) September 1, 2022
With all the confidence Paton has in the Wilson and Hackett’s “partnership” that was supposed to be piling up the points in Denver, they better get it right or fans in the Mile High City will be calling for somebody’s head.