The Broncos may have saved coach Nathaniel Hackett’s job (for now) by beating the Jaguars in London. Hackett helped his own cause by settling down quarterback Russell Wilson after a very rocky start in the Sunday morning (our time) game.
“We come out and we go three-and-out, throw a pick on the second play,” Hackett told reporters after the Denver win. “Again, that comes to that pressing, people wanting to make things happen instead of operating and not trying to do too much. Talked with Russell, told him to take a breath, breathe, just do what he does. I think that as we kind of came into what we wanted to do in this game after we saw the adjustments that Jacksonville had made, we were able to get some efficient plays for him. That’s how he started feeling in that groove, because it’s a long football game, and with a great defense like we have you’re always going to be in that game and I think he knows that.”
Hackett later received a request to elaborate on his “breathe” directive to Wilson.
“We hadn’t had something like that happen to us that early and that quick, both one three-and-out and in the second play an interception,” Hackett said. “Just went up to him and just tried to explain, ‘Hey, take what they give you. Don’t force it.’ He looked, and it was like he had a big smile on his face. You learn a lot about a quarterback when they throw a pick, especially early. I’ve had some quarterbacks that go in the tank; I’ve had some quarterbacks that are like, ‘Hey, got that one out of the way.’ That’s what you want to see. He got it out of the way early. I’m glad. We didn’t need that later in the game, and he was able to rebound and come back and make some plays.”
Hackett also was asked what the win meant for him, given the chatter regarding his job security.
“I mean, all that stuff I can’t control,” Hackett said. “For me, it’s about controlling what I can control. All the coaches, all the players. We always want to focus in on what we can do so we continue to get better. We’ve had opportunities to win a lot of football games. That’s facts. We’ve hurt ourselves. So it’s about us continually learning to not hurt ourselves to give us a chance to win the game, and I think this game is more important for us because of how we won it, being up and then down and then up and being able to weather that storm.
“That I love so much about this game and this team in here, is sticking together throughout what anybody says. They’ve been staying together through it all, and that is what I appreciate and that gives you a sign that it’s a chance to be a good team.”
They still need to do a lot more winning, when the Broncos exit their bye. And they won’t be facing the Jaguars every week, either. In two weeks, it’s the Titans. The schedule also includes the Ravens, the Chargers, the Rams, and not one but two games against the Chiefs.
One last point. Don’t assume with 100-percent certainty that Hackett survives the bye week. The new owners didn’t hire him, and they didn’t build and expand a discount retail empire by NOT being strategic, calculating, and ruthless. It’s not a report or a prediction or anything other than an observation.