The Denver Broncos Far below expectations, and fans want coach Nathaniel Hackett to be sacked sooner rather than later. But, of course, that would entail shooting in the season, which is hard to argue against with the offense’s performance this season.
Although the quality of play on the offensive line and, more importantly, the poor performance of the quarterback that the Broncos get from Russell Wilson are issues, Hackett is not blameless.
Hackett’s scheme has been reworked with heavy input from Wilson as to what he wants to do, and the head coach has to put his foot down and basically dictate what works with this offense.
Despite the issues with Hackett, the scheme opens up receivers at the right time, but it gets missed. When Wilson’s offense runs on schedule, the offense looks great.
QBs coach Clint Kubik was handed the playing duties, and he turned Wilson into a glorified game manager. In the game against the Raiders, Wilson threw six of his 31 passes beyond 10 yards, with many of them being thrown behind the line of scrimmage.
Despite his quarterback woes, Hackett must put his foot down and put the team above all else, calling plays the offense can pull off. He did it with the running game, moving away from concepts that the Broncos don’t have the staff to run.
This did not improve the running game but slightly improved Denver’s efficiency. Not much difference, but he does show some presence of mind by a coach who mocked him for not wanting to adapt his passing game. I wonder why.
Hackett’s clock management and decision-making to start the season was so terrible that the Broncos hired another coach to take over the field. Then he turned over the playing duties. Additionally, creating the 15- to 18-game opening script to open a game is a process that involves multiple other coaches. Hackett isn’t doing anything on his own at this point.
There are plenty of reasons for Hackett to be sacked, and while it is unlikely to happen in the off-season, Josh McDaniels is led by Josh McDaniels. Las Vegas Raiders increases the likelihood of it happening. If Hackett is fired mid-season, what are the options for him to take over on an interim basis?
Let’s dive into the candidates to see which coach makes the most sense internally.
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Evero | Capital
Eveiro was mentioned as one of the most trained candidates for the upcoming tournament. His defense, with the exception of the Raiders’ two games, has been playing good football. As a young, creative defensive mind, and because his unit plays at such a high level, even with all the injuries, it’s easy to see why he’d be considered a candidate for head coaching.
Making Eveiro a caretaker would give the Broncos a look at him at the job if they wanted to consider him a permanent replacement for Hackett. In addition, Denver will get a great look at how Evero performs daily tasks and manages the team in-game.
If the confidence of mind makes him a head coach and he decides he doesn’t want to make him a full-time coach, the Broncos will give every other team a look at him. It will be very difficult to keep him if the Broncos want to go in a different direction in 2023 while keeping him as defensive coordinator. Besides, with the way the defense has been working, you don’t want to take his focus away from the unit to give every team a look at Eveiro as head coach.
Of all the candidates on this list, this has to be one of the last options, simply because of how difficult it will be to keep Evero after the season if you make it temporary. He’s already starting to be considered as a candidate for training, so unless you make him your next trainer, don’t give him a peep about doing the job.
Justin Ooten | O.C
Outten has been involved throughout the process with the crime. With Over as the play caller, you can turn to Outten to take over to give him more to do.
There are several downsides to having an Outten take on a temporary position. First, he was ignored as the play-caller when Hackett abandoned his duties. He doesn’t have much experience in his current position, and adding more to his profile could be more problematic. Outten’s relationship with Hackett wouldn’t be an issue, but it’s probably a sideways move at best.
Outten is included in this list because he is the offensive coordinator. His resume does not suggest him as interim coordinator (or offensive coordinator). While he is involved in the game plan and scenario, it is a collaborative process.
There isn’t anything really to point to Outten except maybe cause the slightest bit of change to the team, but if you’re firing your coach late, it means you’ve been eliminated from the playoffs. So even that fact doesn’t help his case.
Dwayne Stokes | Saudi Telecom Company
Stukes is a young coach that the players seem to like. But, similar to Outten, there probably won’t be a lot of changes late in the season.
It’s hard to consider a coordinator a temp when his unit is playing terribly. Denver has the worst special teams unit in the NFL in DVOA football at -6.1%. The 31st special teams is at -5.3%.
Stokes’ projects, Montreal Washington and Corliss Whitman, failed more than they succeeded. The Broncos’ special teams have played one good game this season: the first game against the Raiders. Outside of that, at least one special teams side has been terrible in every contest.
Stukes made this list because he’s the curator. However, his resume does not support it as a stopgap option.
Clint Kubik | QBs coach and run caller
Kubiak was given playing duties, which speaks to his coaching ability. He also has his father who he can turn to (outside of the games) to give him tips and pointers (as Hackett does).
Two years ago, Kubiak was seen as an up-and-coming offensive mind who would eventually ascend to the head coach position soon, but there were hurdles in the way that derailed that run.
You see Kubik as the offensive coordinator, with him primarily being the play-caller. He always had a hand in the script and the offensive game plan. The scheme he’s already running may be just what Wilson needs, but such a drastic shake-up late in the season will be hard to come by.
He will give Denver a look at someone previously seen as a rookie coach to see if that potential is still there. You also don’t worry about other teams wanting to hire Kubiak like you would Evero, and that’s a big difference between the two.
It would be a huge leap in charge for Kubiak, but he has shown he can handle the extra pressure during his short career. The biggest problem is that he did a great job with the script in Minnesota but struggled once he was off script. This problem has been present in Raiders, and the temporary shift will make it more difficult to focus on improving this.
While Kubiak isn’t a bad choice, it’s not a great one either. Your inexperience with this coaching staff hurts when you get into this kind of situation. Kubiak has his own problems, and we must understand that he is not his father.
Bill Kollar | Special defense projects
Kollar was in Denver for a few years and went down from D-Line coach to Defense/Special Projects coach. There isn’t much on his plate, and he has the gruff attitude a team needs while never being so rude as to have players confront him.
Kollar makes this list because of the difference in attitude between Kollar and Hackett. Hackett is focused on being a friendly player, while Kollar will bond with the players, but hold them accountable heavily.
Kollar has been a defensive coach for most of his career. He was the assistant head coach at Houston for a few years, but it would still be quite the leap. However, the jump isn’t about how long he’s been around the NFL and how highly respected he is as a coach.
Denver needs someone who is more willing to hold the players accountable and do what’s best for the team. While it would be a huge jump for Kollar, this is the kind of coach he is.
Dom Capers | Senior defensive assistant
Capers has extensive experience in the coaching business, though it came more than 15 years ago. He has the same kind of attitude as Kollar, which is what this team could use. Since it was abandoned as Green Bay Packers As defensive coordinator, the Capers bounced back as a senior defensive assistant.
The best aspect of making Capers a head coach is that he can sidestep both offense and defense. He can let Evero run the defense, and Kubiak/Outten run the offense while he focuses on running the game and minimizing the lack of discipline penalties this team suffers from.
There are no downsides to having the Capers a caretaker coach. He won’t be considered as a full-time coach due to his age (72), so you don’t have to worry about giving other teams a preview. There is no shortage of experience either.
Of all the options to make this list, Capers is the best candidate. His attitude and experience is a change from Hackett’s, where attitude is just what this young team needs. You don’t have to look for a big change late in the season, but it will give more to the offensive and defensive coaches.
It would allow the head coach to be the head coach and the other coaches to focus on their side of the ball.
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