Impassioned George Paton admits Broncos mess is completely his fault

Dec 27, 2022, 10:47 AM

George Paton...

Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Now that was a press conference.

Broncos CEO Greg Penner and GM George Paton met with the media on Tuesday morning, just about 24 hours after firing head coach Nathaniel Hackett. Hackett made it just 15 games with the Broncos, posting a 4-11 record in a season that had high expectations but completely flopped.

And while Hackett is the fall guy for Denver’s issues, clearly this wasn’t all his fault. Many point the finger at Paton and QB Russell Wilson. Paton hired Hackett, traded for Wilson and gave Wilson a monster contract extension before the season started. None of those moves have worked, and Wilson is having the worst season of his pro career.

At the presser, Broncos Country heard the most passion and fire we’ve seen from Paton in his two years on the job. He took complete responsibility, and admitted this mess is his fault. Paton gave a lengthy opening statement in which he knows he’s on the hot seat.

“Nathaniel’s a very good football coach. And he’s even a better person. It just didn’t work out here, and that’s on me. As I told the players yesterday, I take full responsibility for where we are as a football team. I brought in the head coach. I brought in most of the players. Those are my decisions and there’s no one to blame but me,” Paton said.

Unlike Hackett, Paton still has a job. But his leash could be short. Penner announced on Monday he’ll lead the coaching search and said it again on Tuesday. For Paton, he knows everyone better improve in a hurry, or they could be next to go.

“I just want to be clear. This isn’t just about the coaching. This isn’t about Nathaniel, this is about the entire football operation. It’s about the personnel, players, the staff, everyone involved with our football team. It has to be better across the board. I have to be better,” Paton said.

And Sunday’s meltdown in Los Angeles against the Rams was clearly the final straw. The Broncos lost 51-14, had a sideline fight and a postgame scuffle. It was a black-eye on the team while the whole country watched.

“We have a lot of work to do, and as I told the players and our staff yesterday, we’re all being evaluated. Our record this year, and especially our performance on Sunday is not what we’re about. Sunday’s game was unacceptable. It was embarrassing,” Paton said. “All that matters is winning. No one cares about excuses and we’re not going to make them.”

While Paton won’t hire the next head coach, he will have some influence on the decision. The Broncos, and Paton, better get it right or he’ll be shown the door next.

The good news, and to his credit, is Paton seems to know that.



Russell WIlson...

Will Petersen

On his 35th birthday, Russell Wilson still wants to play a long time

"I remember coming into this league 12 years ago and my goal was to play to 40-plus. I feel young," Russell Wilson said on his birthday

6 hours ago

Brandon Johnson...

Andrew Mason

Brandon Johnson returns for Broncos; Jerry Jeudy sidelined

Brandon Johnson returned to practice Wednesday, while Jerry Jeudy went to the sideline and worked out on a side field.

7 hours ago

Javonte Williams...

Andrew Mason

Javonte Williams, Broncos ground game have something good cooking

Javonte Williams showed burst against the Browns as the Broncos' run game continues to be among the NFL's most efficient.

22 hours ago

Kareem Jackson...

Andrew Mason

Seeking answers, Kareem Jackson will meet with Roger Goodell

Broncos safety Kareem Jackson said he will fly to New York to meet with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, seeking "clarity" regarding his hits.

24 hours ago

Russell Wilson...

Andrew Mason

Anonymous defensive coach on Russell Wilson: ‘He’s a game manager’

According to The Athletic, a coach says Sean Payton is calling plays for Russell Wilson "almost as if Russell is a rookie quarterback."

1 day ago

Russell Wilson Broncos...

Will Petersen

At least one national outlet thinks Broncos are a top-10 NFL team

Pro Football Talk's latest Power Rankings came out on Tuesday morning, and Mike Florio has the Broncos ranked at No. 10 in the league

1 day ago

Impassioned George Paton admits Broncos mess is completely his fault