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Broncos' Hackett plans no staff or assignment changes vs. Jaguars

Denver has scored 100 points, second fewest after seven games in club history
Jets Broncos Football
Posted at 7:29 PM, Oct 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-24 22:06:48-04

DENVER — No one can fault the effort. Once billed as a family-friendly environment with a healthy work-life balance, the Broncos coaching staff has tried to brighten the future by retreating to the past.

Forget embracing technology to work smarter and faster, the elephant in the Zoom for the Broncos is that the coaches, at least some, have not been leaving the facility. That is the stuff of legend or Jim Leyland (he had pull-down bed installed in his Coors Field office in his one forgettable season).

The problem is that the old-school, sleep-on-the-couch mentality hasn't changed anything. The Broncos own a four-game losing streaks and a 2-5 record. The Jaguars mirror them in both categories. Will the marquee at Wembley Stadium scream, "Broncos vs. Jaguars, Sinking Ships Collide?"

Offensively, the Broncos cannot hide from their issues. They have scored 100 points, the fewest in their first seven games since 1966, according to The Athletic. They have eight touchdowns. Their defense has allowed eight touchdowns. It's the only way to make sense of their dismal record that has knocked them from relevancy.

The bunsen burner is now simmering under coach Nathaniel Hackett. A day after I asked him about surrendering play-calling duties — he said he didn't believe he was holding the offense back — he fielded the query Monday before the team boarded a plane for London.

"Right now, on a short week, we’re going to keep the status quo. We’re all going to work together to build a great plan. I feel like our operation has been going well. We held the ball for a long time, and we moved the ball, we just didn’t convert on some third downs," Hackett said. "That kind of stalled us, but we’re going to keep going how we are, and we’ll evaluate everything, we always do. We always want to get better and whatever we can to help this team get better as coaches.”

Hackett answers the questions by professing accountability. He says it starts with him. But when nothing changes — could he have quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak call plays given his experience? — it's fair to ask if it is going to be the end of him. It's almost unprecedented to fire a coach during his first season, but when home fans leave in droves with the team trails by one score with 4:35 remaining, it eloquently articulates the crisis.

I asked Hackett Monday if it's difficult to put in the work and not see it transfer on Sundays.

"I think you sit there, and you always look at yourself first as a coach. Then look at the things that you want to accomplish and the things that you want to do versus different schemes. They do drop well, and you're excited about all that. You want to make sure the players know exactly why you're calling them, what you're calling them for, and then you want to see that being able to be capitalized on during the game. If it doesn't work, you have to go back to the drawing board, think back to some of those other schemes you might have had or feel as though you should get better at the same scheme," Hackett said.

"So I think those are things that we are always constantly evaluating. Looking to make sure that we're doing the right things with the players that we have. We're always going to look to try to get better and make sure that we're getting better. Right now, there are some opportunities, but maybe those aren't the right opportunities, and we'll evaluate everything.”

As of now, quarterback Russell Wilson is trending toward playing, his sore left hamstring healing. If nothing else this season, the Broncos need to walk away from this season seeing him resemble his previous excellence.

Also, trade rumors continue to swirl with receiver Jerry Jeudy and linebacker Bradley Chubb attracting the most interest. Given where the Broncos stand in the standings, it makes sense to listen. If they can get a second-round pick for Jeudy or something along the lines of a second and third rounder for Chubb, though placing the franchise tag on him has merit given the injury issues with Randy Gregory and Baron Browning, they'd have to consider it.

The Broncos, who are 4-point underdogs to the Jaguars according to SuperBook Sports, tweaked their roster quickly in advance of their trip. They added running back Marlon Mack off the 49ers practice squad, needing depth with Mike Boone sidelined roughly a month with an ankle injury. Browning (hip flexor) and Cam Fleming (quad) will be sidelined multiple weeks.

The Broncos also promoted long snapper Mitchell Fraboni to the active roster.

You can watch the Broncos take on the Jaguars in London on Denver7, beginning at 7 a.m. Sunday.