Picture this: the Denver Broncos hire a brand-new, wide-eyed head coach who was previously a successful coordinator for the Green Bay Packers. They sign a $245 million contract with a future-Hall-of-Fame quarterback. They build up an elite defense with Ejiro Evero at the helm. They’re ready to face the AFC West, which is supposed to be completely stacked.
Fast forward to Week 11. Broncos are third in their division, beating only the team with a 2-7 record (at least it’s the Raiders at the bottom). They’re riddled with injuries week after week, and some of those injuries are season-ending.
Make no mistake: this defense is elite. Ejiro Evero may be the best decision Denver’s front office has made all year. But no matter how many times the secondary gets the ball back in the hands of the offense, the offense still has to make scores happen. It’s so obvious it almost hurts.
So, what is it? Why can’t Russell Wilson and his side of the ball close up shop? Why can’t they get the ball in the end zone, especially in the passing game?
Coach Hackett explained that it’s many things at once. “It hasn’t just been one thing. I think we need to be more consistent across the board on the play calling and on how I adjust things for [QB Russell Wilson] and get him and I on the same page,” he shared, “Then it’s just the execution. Something will go well, and then right afterwards, something might not work out the way that we thought it would.”
He added that sometimes it’s a problem with the route, sometimes with protection for Russell Wilson, etc. “Collectively as an offense, we have to be more consistent. That’s what we haven’t shown—for each play—over and over.”
Asked whether consequences would be needed to hold the team accountable, Hackett steered away from confirming or denying, and instead focused on making evaluations.
“I think we are evaluating everything. First, it starts with me. We have to make sure that the play calls are the right play calls and the ones that are going to put the guys in the right position to be successful. We will evaluate that.”
I need to get over my aversion to this sentence, but if I hear “It starts with me” one more time this season, I might throw my computer against the wall. I swear that sentence has been in every one of his press conferences since week one, even if I have no data to prove it.
Hackett went on to acknowledge the glum place that Denver has found itself in. “We are 3-6 and we are not where we want to be. Nobody is accepting that, and that’s not the standard that we want to be.”
Like I said earlier, injuries haven’t made it any easier. Hackett shared another injury update today, and you can find the full list on ESPN.
Aside from the injuries being a major factor, though, and aside from the defense shining brightly, does Hackett feel like he’s coaching for his job? They’ve dropped to 3-6, where as they were 5-5 by this time last year.
“I learned a long time ago that you are coaching for your job every day,” Hackett confirmed, “Every single day you come in that building, you compete, and you fight to be the best version of yourself and try to bring the best out of everybody around you. That is just how this is, and that is how I’ve always known it is.”
The coach referred to the Broncos as a “family” and emphasized that it’s not about him, it’s about the coaches and the team and coming together to win. “We have to come together as a group. I’m secondary. It’s about all of us uniting and coming together and beating the Raiders.”
Speaking of beating the Raiders, do we think that’s going to happen? Share your thoughts.