Broncos Country has been unsurprisingly ecstatic about former Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett taking the reins in Denver.
And All-Pro safety Justin Simmons seems to be speaking for all of us when he says he is “extremely excited” to have Hackett as his new head coach.
“He’s coming into a hungry team,” Simmons told Mile High Report in a recent exclusive interview highlighting his impact in the community. “We’ve had our ups and downs, but we are tired of losing.”
Hackett’s energy is palpable - something sorely needed for both a team and fan base tired of the end result the past five years.
“I think George [Paton] nailed it,” Simmons added. “And I’m excited to prove him right.”
The perfect hire.— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) January 29, 2022
And a "damn good football coach." pic.twitter.com/2woWzUJ8sE
Before the Broncos’ tapped Hackett as the 18th head coach, there was a lot of speculation about whether the team needed to go with an offensive-minded leader and if so doing would mean a drop-off for the defense - the one area that has consistently ranked a top NFL unit despite a sputtering offense.
Simmons is here to tell Broncos Country that whether the head coach hails from the offensive or defensive side of the ball is not all that important.
What is important is whether that coach can lead the entire team.
“I have mostly had all defensive-minded coaches,” he pointed out, saying without saying the obvious because we all know where that has gotten the Broncos in the past five years - a great defense but a losing record.
And ask any defensive player which they’d rather have.
“It’s just your style of leadership,” that really matters, Simmons said, adding that he believes Hackett will be a “tremendous” leader.
Having asked buddies who know Hackett, he said they had “not good things to say about him, but great things.”
The consummate team player, Simmons was quick to note he doesn’t advocate for anyone to lose his/her job, but he believes the Broncos did need a fresh start.
Following the team’s loss to the Chiefs in their final game of the season, Simmons expressed how much he believes in the players the Broncos have in the locker room.
“I think the foundation is there,” he said in his final presser. “I know it hasn’t been easy on the winning perspective of things, but I know this is trending in the right direction and that’s why I keep reiterating that it’s our job as leaders, myself obviously included—we have to find a way to continue to gel and make sure that foundation is there and win the close ones. That’s what’s going to get us over the hump. It’s not always going to look pretty but we have to win the close ones.”
After going 9-7 with the Broncos his rookie year under Gary Kubiak, Simmons hasn’t experienced a winning season in the NFL.
And he would desperately like to do that.
“He’s going to bring a lot of juice, a lot of energy,” Simmons added about the new coach. “I’m looking forward to building a relationship with him, and really, like he said, looking forward to winning some games.”