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Nathaniel Hackett ‘hugging’ his way to effective leadership with Broncos

Even if you haven’t set foot at Broncos training camp, you can tell Hackett is connecting with his players. That’s a huge step toward getting the team back in contention.

Denver Broncos Training Camp Photo by Andy Cross/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Good morning, Broncos Country!

The difference is notable.

You could take it a step further if you wanted and call it startling.

Through the first 10 days of Denver Broncos training camp, Nathaniel Hackett is already proving to be an effective leader.

He gets it.

Even if you haven’t set foot at the UC Health Training Center, you can tell Hackett is connecting with his players.

That’s certainly not something you could say about the previous regime.

In part, it’s because the Broncos head coach is a “hugger.” That aspect of his leadership style and personality helps him connect with the players.

“Yeah, I’ve been a hugger since I was born,” he told the media after practice on Friday. “I think I came out trying to hug the nurse. It’s one of those things. It’s just who I am. I got it from my grandma; she was the same way — my mom. That’s how I grew up, and I’m not going to change. I’m going to be me. It throws the guys off at first because you come in hot. But hey, it’s me.”

It’s that connection that helps build trust with the players and is so vital.

The trust that players know Hackett and his staff will put them in the best situations to succeed. That they’re on the same page and will work together to achieve what everyone in the organization expects.

That cohesive relationship has been missing from the Broncos, especially the last three seasons.

Obviously, all of this doesn’t guarantee success on the field for Denver.

But through 10 training camp practices, the Broncos have a leader whom the players already have connected with and trust.

That’s a huge step in getting this franchise back in contention.

“In the end, it’s about relationships,” Hackett told the media. “You ask these guys to do so much, work so hard, work every day, love the game, study the game. You want them to do that for themselves, but for their whole team, their coaches, for everybody. I think the better the relationship you have with them, the more they will open up, the more they’ll talk to you, the more you can figure out problems. All of those things are positives to get them to play better on game day. That’s what we’re aiming for. I want to see them (be) successful on that field in any way I can get that.”

Broncos Blast

I joined Klahr and Kompany on Saturday morning for my weekly Broncos Blast segment on ESPN 1600 AM. We rank the quarterbacks in the AFC West and I offer my prediction for how the division plays out in 2022.

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