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Hackett describes mentality after preseason loss: ‘In the end, you get to evaluate your guys’

Amid a 15-42 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Saturday, Denver’s head coach described the quarterbacks who shared the game, as well as how the team will improve going forward.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Saturday was a disappointing one for Denver Broncos fans and players alike. Though thankfully we’re still in the preseason, a loss is a loss — and it stings differently coming off a victory from last week.

During a post-game press conference, head coach Nathaniel Hackett discussed the no. 2 quarterbacks competition, as well as how they can clean up overall performance.

For starters, the head coach admitted that the first half was tough for both sides of the ball, but that he needs to watch the film for a better idea of how to modify their practices.

No. 2 QB Competition

On the offensive side, Hackett talked about QB Josh Johnson and his handling of the game’s first drive. Johnson is currently in a competition with QB Brett Rypien for the number two quarterback spot.

“Yeah, I thought it was great. Obviously, I’m upset we didn’t score a touchdown...he missed an opportunity, but he bounced right back and was able to get the ball down the field,” Hackett stated.

According to Hackett, there is a healthy competition between Johnson and Brett Rypien, with both quarterbacks vying for the second-string position. You always want your team members supporting one another and being cordial, which is a good throwback to last year’s amicable Bridgewater-Lock competition.

“Both those guys are battling out,” he said, noting that Rypien also had a good day on the field, “They support each other, there for each other, they make each other better. We just want to keep that competition rolling.”

Always improving

Asked what he’ll be looking for when he examines the tape for issues running the football, he shared three key elements, highlighted in bold below:

“Alignment assignment is always the most important thing,” he insisted, “We want to make sure that they know what they’re doing. Then you go to their technique...and then just [determine] simply if they’re getting physically outmatched.”

Regarding his decision to go for a touchdown on fourth down while in field goal range, Hackett expressed frustration about the results of that, but he seemed to stick to his mental process behind it.

“They were about on the 30-yard line. I think there was under 30 seconds left. So, we had a feel that we were going to back them up, take advantage of that,” he explained, adding that the pre-snap penalties really got the best of them.

“That stuff has shown up in practice. Whatever happens in practice is going to show up in the game,” he said, “So we got to get those guys not to do that because they got a free play, got an explosive play down the field and we should have had them right where we wanted them.”

He also discussed the changes needed in their tackling, blatantly stating that nobody did well.

“Yeah, you get six touchdowns on six drives. Obviously, nobody did good,” Hackett admitted, “We have to evaluate the group as a whole and we have to tackle better, we have to hold the point better, everything.”

Preseason is a time of evaluation + adjustment.

In a nutshell, what’s going on right now is a detailed process of stacking up player and overall team performance, and adjusting where necessary. It goes without saying that this is why the preseason is a blessing, but I’m saying it anyway.

In Hackett’s words, “It doesn’t count. But in the end, you get to evaluate all your guys.”