Three weeks ago, it was fair to wonder whether a loss to the Jaguars would result in the Broncos firing first-year coach Nathaniel Hackett. It’s now fair to ask whether, three weeks from today, Hackett will still be the team’s head coach.
Hackett gave up play-calling duties for today’s game. The Broncos still scored only 16 points. And Hackett became more involved in the team’s defense. Which allowed the Raiders to drive from their own 22 to inside the Denver 10, forcing overtime. Which then let the Raiders go right down the field on the first drive of overtime to win the game, in three plays.
And so the Broncos lost to the Raiders, who are now 3-7 overall — and 1-7 in games against teams other than the Broncos. The Broncos are also 3-7. More importantly, there’s just no sense that anything is working, or that it will start working any time soon.
Again, current ownership didn’t hire Hackett. And current ownership can blink an eye and have enough Wal-Mart money to finance Hackett’s buyout.
Plenty of competent coordinators don’t make good head coaches. Through 10 games, the evidence has become abundant that Hackett is overmatched. Hiring Jerry Rosburg to help Hackett manage the game didn’t help. Giving up play calling duties, a move that was kept secret long enough to keep the Raiders from being prepared for Klint Kubiak’s tendencies, didn’t help.
It’s harsh, I know. But harsh decisions are made every year about who will, or won’t, be coaching NFL teams.
This year, the bar in Denver was too high. Hackett has failed to come close to meeting expectations. While plenty of the blame traces to the underwhelming performance of quarterback Russell Wilson, he’s not going anywhere. They need someone who can help Wilson take the Broncos somewhere — somewhere other than the basement of the AFC West.
While it’s unclear who that will be. It’s becoming more clear all the time that it will be someone other than the team’s current head coach.