Sean Payton, the newly appointed head coach of the Denver Broncos, along with a prominent player from the team’s 2022 roster, recently gave scathing critiques of Nathaniel Hackett’s tenure as head coach.
Hackett, known for his offensive expertise from his previous roles with the Buffalo Bills, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Green Bay Packers, was expected to bring success to the Broncos when he was hired in 2022.
The excitement was further fueled when the team acquired Russell Wilson in a blockbuster trade with the Seattle Seahawks. However, it didn’t take long to realize that Hackett was not ready for the role.
The team’s performance suffered greatly during his 15-game stint, plunging them to the bottom of the standings.
As a result, Hackett was dismissed before the season concluded, leading the Broncos to search for a new coach once again. In the offseason, the Broncos made a bold move by bringing in retired New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, who had a successful tenure with the Saints.
Payton, having learned about the drama surrounding Hackett and Wilson’s relationship, opened up about it in a conversation with USA Today.
“There’s so much dirt around [the issues between Hackett and Wilson]. There’s 20 dirty hands, for what was allowed, tolerated in the fricking training rooms, the meeting rooms. The offense. I don’t know Hackett. A lot of people had dirt on their hands. It wasn’t just Russell. He didn’t just flip. He still has it. This B.S. that he hit a wall? Shoot, they couldn’t get a play-in. They were 29th in the league in pre-snap penalties on both sides of the ball.”
He expressed that there were numerous issues that contributed to the team’s downfall, not solely blaming Wilson. Payton also criticized the team’s management for allowing Wilson to have his own office in the facility, a perk that seemed unnecessary during the team’s poor 5-12 season.
Veteran running back Melvin Gordon also chimed in on his time with Hackett, mentioning that while he doesn’t believe Hackett was a bad coach, there was a lack of cohesion among the staff.
“My experience with Denver was bad … but I don’t want people to think Hack was a bad coach. Like I said before, It was a lot of great people on the staff. I don’t think they meshed well together and it showed,” Gordon said.
Ultimately, the Broncos fired Hackett with one week remaining in the season after a disappointing 4-12 record under his leadership.
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