Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett gives up play-calling duties

Whatever it takes.

First-year Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett has ceded his play-calling duties to quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak amid what’s been a challenging year in Denver. Hackett, whose Broncos are off to a dismal 3-6 start, confirmed the change Saturday in a team meeting, according to NFL Network, expressing “he’s willing to do whatever it takes to help the team get better.”

Kubiak, the 35-year-old son of Super Bowl-winning head coach Gary Kubiak, will relay the calls to Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson beginning this week. Wilson is said to have known about the move prior to Saturday.

Although Kubiak will call the plays, Hackett and the team’s offensive coordinator, Justin Outten, will still be “heavily involved in the game plan and on the headset during the game.”

Broncos coach Russell Wilson (left) speaks with head coach Nathaniel Hackett during a game against the Texans on Sept. 18, 2022.
Broncos coach Russell Wilson (left) speaks with head coach Nathaniel Hackett during a game against the Texans on Sept. 18, 2022.
AP

With Hackett, 42, turning over play-calling duties to Kubiak, who has previous experience in this area, the Broncos coach will now be able to “focus more on game management,” which has come under fire in recent months.

The Broncos entered the 2022 season with lofty expectations after acquiring Wilson, 33, in March in a blockbuster trade with the Seahawks. But as the regular season got underway, Hackett’s decision-making was called into question, specifically a Week 1 blunder, when he sent the Broncos’ kicker out for a 64-yard field goal try instead of letting Wilson try to covert on a fourth-and-5.

Broncos quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak (left) with quarterback Russell Wilson on Sept. 18, 2022.
Broncos quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak (left) with quarterback Russell Wilson on Sept. 18, 2022.
AP
Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett on the sidelines in a game against the Titans on Nov. 13, 2022.
Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett on the sidelines in a game against the Titans on Nov. 13, 2022.
Denver Post via Getty Images

Broncos GM George Paton vouched for Hackett in late October, stating, “I support Nathaniel 100 percent.”

“He’s been in this for seven games as a head coach. The scrutiny he’s faced is unprecedented,” Paton said, per Denver7’s Troy Renck. “He’s been in this for seven games as a head coach. The scrutiny he’s faced is unprecedented. We’ve had four primetime games so he’s had to learn in front of the entire world.”

The Broncos, who have also been saddled with injuries, will try to get their fourth win of the season Sunday in an AFC West matchup against the Raiders in Denver.


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