Former Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett earned his chance to become the former coach of the Broncos based on his work as the offensive coordinator of the Packers.
Now that Hackett is available, could he return to the Packers?
“I think I’ve definitely entertained all that,” coach Matt LaFleur said Monday, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, regarding the possibility of Hackett returning. “I think you can never have enough great coaches, and certainly you guys know how I feel about Nathaniel and the job he did here. But again, just getting started into the evaluation phase. I did talk to him after he got let go in Denver. I know that he needs some family time as well.”
Hackett, who was the offensive coordinator in Green Bay from 2019 through 2021, has a multi-year buyout, which surely includes standard offset language. Thus, if he coaches elsewhere, he’d essentially be working for free.
Still, coaches coach. And Hackett may crave a better experience in 2023, to erase the bad situation he had in 2022.
The failure of his Broncos doesn’t mean he doesn’t know what he’s doing. It just means he did one job so well that he got promoted into a position with which he clearly struggled.
One of the problems for Hackett in Denver was that, after not calling plays in Green Bay, Hackett was both running the team and selecting the offensive plays. If he goes back to Green Bay, he or some other assistant would potentially call the plays — because LaFleur hasn’t ruled out the possibility of delegating those duties in the name of paying more attention to the rest of the team.
“As far as the playcalling’s concerned, yeah that’s crossed my mind in terms of I want to do whatever’s best for us to have success,” LaFleur told reporters. “If we feel like that is the best way for us to win games, then I would 100 percent hand that over.”
Playcalling has become a thing for the Packers because quarterback Aaron Rodgers complained a little bit about LaFleur’s decisions late in Sunday night’s loss to the Lions.
“Those last three calls definitely sting a little bit,” Rodgers said on Sunday. “But [we’ve] still got to execute.”
Asked about the comment from Rodgers on Monday, LaFleur was very linear and literal: “I would say yeah, if that’s what he said, then he probably didn’t like the playcall.”
At some point, it’s hard not to wonder whether LaFleur’s effort to take better control of the team will include taking better control of his passive-aggressor passer of the football — especially since at times Rodgers seems more interested in settling scores and/or making points over doing whatever needs to be done to become the best possible player and teammate he can be.