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Rich Eisen to Hackett - ‘Throw away your playbook, it’s not working’

The sports show host and analyst had some harsh - and so very correct - words for head coach Nathaniel Hackett.

Indianapolis Colts v Denver Broncos Photo by Justin Tafoya/Getty Images

Rich Eisen had some fabulous words for Nathaniel Hackett and the Denver Broncos yesterday during his show that he even titled, “Start over.”


“Hey, Nathaniel Hackett, whatever you’re doing, you need to take it, rip it up and throw it out and start over. Literally, start over,” Eisen advised, adding that whatever “power point presentation” he gave to then-owners before getting hired about his offensive scheme, just needed to be trashed. “Take it, throw it out.”

Eisen added what many of us were thinking during the first quarter of the Chargers game - Keep doing THAT!

“Whatever you did in maybe the first quarter of last night’s game, where Russ was cookin? Broncos nation was ridin! Ten nothing lead, keep some of that,” Eisen said. “And throw everything else out because it ain’t workin.”

A-freakin-men to that, Rich Eisen!

Eisen went on to lambast the offense for completely wasting a defense that keeps holding teams to an amount of points that an offense like Denver’s should have no problem overcoming.

“If you have a quarterback, who prior to joinging your team was a damn near perennial Pro Bowler who took his team to the playoffs every year and not just the playoffs but the divisional round...If you have someone like Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy to throw the football to and you’re allowing just 16.5 points per game, and you’re only winning one-third of your games...something is up and wrong!” Eisen said. “Whatever you’re doing offensively, get it out of here,” he said, adding “whatever they were doing second, third, fourth quarter, it was just so difficult to watch.”

Eisen couldn’t be more explicit.

Or more correct.

Unfortunately, it seems his advice will go unheeded as Hackett generally believes it’s just execution and consistency to fix.

“You see some good things. I thought that in the first half, there was a lot of good. …We just have to be consistent,” Hackett said during Tuesday’s presser. “You come out in the second half and get yourself in a couple of manageable third downs and don’t convert on those, that’s frustrating. It’s frustrating for all of us. We need better plays from the coaches. We need better execution. ...We can’t leave the defense out there as long as we did. Again, it’s about consistency, consistency, consistency.”

Hackett mentioned the biggest problem but seemed to gloss over his role - “We need better plays from the coaches. We need better execution.”

I have a thought.

The execution and consistency are bad because the play calling is TERRIBLE. I’m no Xs and Os analyst, and I appreciate the people like Tim Jenkins and Dan Orlovsky who break down all the options drawn up in a play. And based on my reading comprehension, it appears that much of Hackett’s “design” is really good.

Sometimes the problem is Wilson not seeing the field. Sometimes the problem is protection. Sometimes the problem is the situation in which the well-designed play is called.

The first two strike me as things Hackett should be asking himself why those things are happening with the play design, and perhaps - just perhaps - the answer is that although it may be a genius idea, it’s not a good one for this line or this QB.

I know. Mind-blowing.

Benjamin Allbright has said multiple times that Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan both struggled the first year they had to run this style of offense. To me, Wilson is not the same kind of QB as Rodgers and Ryan so maybe “this offense” isn’t the best for our players - which is ironically something Hackett keeps saying he’s doing.

But with the third issue - the specific situation for some of the plays - Hackett can be maddeningly dense.

I still can’t get over the first drive in OT in which Broncos ran on first and second down - AND HAD SUCCESS - to come up to 3rd-and-1 and that’s where he decided to draw up a pass play...and not one that has Wilson rolling out or getting away from the rush but one in which he has to stay in the pocket behind an overwhelmed line to make a ONE YARD first down.

So unbelievably aggravating. The play design could be amazing but if there’s zero chance of getting through it - OR OF GETTING ANY YARDS - then it’s a bad play call and all the execution in the world isn’t going to make it happen.

Speaking specifically to the problems against the Chargers, Hackett noted the lack of urgency out of the huddle for Wilson and the line to pick up protection issues and make adjustments.

“Again, it’s more of that overall consistency of guys getting open, being able protect it and Russell being able to see it,” Hackett said. “There is so many things that go on within a football game. They were throwing a lot of interesting, unique things at us and we have to be able to believe in the system and know those things will come to us. We just have to believe in that.”

See, I’m not feeling that “just believe in the system” thing right now. If your QB isn’t made for that system, and you have an elite, $250-million QB, believing in it isn’t going to help.

And I don’t think Eisen thinks so either.

“I will not be part of the crew that thinks Russell Wilson is washed,” Eisen said. “You can’t. He’s just not feeling it.”

Eisen believes there are different reasons for Wilson’s issues - some could be mental - but the underlying problem is an offensive scheme that does not work for this quarterback.

“Just take it, burn it and throw it the hell out,” he advised once more, “and never acknowledge its existence and start again.”

I am 100 percent in favor of this move.