Hackett admits he’s still learning to think like a head coach and not an OC

Sep 22, 2022, 12:22 PM
Nathaniel Hackett...
(Photo by Andrew Mason /
(Photo by Andrew Mason /

Another day, another reflective press conference from Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett.

On Monday, he owned his numerous mistakes against the Texans. On Wednesday, Hackett acknowledged “potential” doesn’t win you football games, points do. And on Thursday, it was all about the transition from being an offensive coordinator to a head coach.

Hackett was asked about 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan telling the Denver media that early in his career as the top dog, he was probably too aggressive on fourth downs. The mind of an offensive coordinator is always about scoring. The mind of a head coach needs to be a more balanced approach.

“It definitely has been a transition. I think that you’ve always been a coordinator. You’ve always been from the standpoint that you want to score touchdowns. That’s always your initial gut reaction. As I’m learning more, you have to remove that emotion as an offensive play caller. You have to look at it from a head coach standpoint and what’s best for the team at that time,” Hackett said.

The Broncos have been indecisive on several fourth down plays early in the season. There was the decision in Seattle to try a 64-yard field goal with Brandon McManus rather than let Russell Wilson go for it on fourth-and-five. Against the Texans, they couldn’t make up their minds whether to leave the offense on the field or kick a 54-yard field goal. That led to a delay of game and ultimately a punt. Hackett knows it must get better.

“I think as I continually reflect on what has happened and continually learn from it, that’ll make me more efficient. And utilizing as many people as I can so that it’s not about just trying to be aggressive all the time, but be aggressive in the right situation,” Hackett said.

Our Senior Broncos writer Andrew Mason followed up and asked Hackett if it’s difficult to remove the emotion of wanting to always be aggressive. Hackett’s answer was short and sweet, but spot on.

“Regardless of how difficult it is, it has to be done,” Hackett said.

It’s been a good week of press conferences for Denver’s head coach. But those don’t win you games. Execution does. And a big test awaits on Sunday night against the 49ers, with the whole football world watching in primetime.



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