Hackett and Evero have to find balance between friendship and work
Aug 24, 2022, 1:03 PM | Updated: 1:50 pm
(Photo by RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
The life of a coordinator can sometimes be tricky. When things aren’t going well on their side of the ball, there’s often nowhere to hide; they’re in the crosshairs for criticism.
This often comes from various sources. Fans are mad. The media is trying to dissect the problem. And players can sometimes grumble, whether publicly or privately.
Those things aren’t good. But they aren’t the worse-case scenario for a coordinator.
That comes when the head coach is upset. That’s when it becomes time to worry.
As long as everything is going well, the boss is happy. When things get off track, however, he can get worried. When things go off the rails, well, that can get uncomfortable.
Saturday’s debacle in Buffalo was a prime example of when that might happen. The Broncos surrendered a touchdown on each of the Bills first six drives, en route to a 42-15 loss that wasn’t as close as that score would indicate.
Denver’s defense was a sieve, allowing Buffalo to do whatever they wanted. The Bills threw for 302 yards, rushed for another 208 and averaged 9.1 yards per play. They had their way with the Broncos defense.
That would put Ejiro Evero on the hot seat. Yes, the defensive coordinator wasn’t working with his best players, as the Broncos sat their starters once again. But that doesn’t totally excuse such a hapless effort.
The performance of the defense was going to get the head coach’s attention. Nathaniel Hackett couldn’t ignore it.
That’s normal. What makes the Broncos situation a little trickier, however, is the fact that Hackett and Evero are long-time friends.
They were college teammates at UC-Davis and worked together in Tampa Bay during the 2007 season. They go back decades.
So when it came time to evaluate the defense’s performance on Saturday, there was another dynamic at play. It was something Hackett was prepared for before it every happened.
“We are close, but it is a business,” the head coach said on Wednesday. “We made that clear when we brought this ‘marriage’ together. My job is to make sure I hold him accountable.”
That sounds a little harsh, which Hackett was quick to correct. As is his norm, the Broncos head coach spun the conversation toward the collaborative effort of his staff.
“I want everyone to hold everyone accountable,” he added. “We sat down, we watched (the game) and talked through it. He was able to explain what should’ve happened.”
Hackett sees that as an invaluable asset. He views his close relationship with Evero as a major positive.
“Part of the game is being able to communicate,” Hackett added. To have someone like him in this building, that I know I can communicate with at all times, and fix those things, is the most important thing to being successful throughout the season.”
Time will tell if that pans out. Too many more performances like what the Broncos put on display on Saturday could change things. It could lead to some interesting conversations amongst friends.