The Denver Broncos coaching staff has their backs pressed against the wall.
They’ve handed in two embarrassing coaching performances that have almost sunk the Broncos to 0-2, despite having one of the easiest schedules in football. Now the San Francisco 49ers — a reigning final-four team that has consistently been one of the league’s best teams when healthy, and is almost universally praised for its coaching — is coming to town.
On paper, it seems like a horrific mismatch, but one advantage that could narrow the gap is the familiarity that Nathaniel Hackett and all three of the Denver Broncos’ coordinators have with the San Francisco 49ers.
Hackett and offensive coordinator Justin Outten saw Kyle Shanahan and Co. five times over the last three seasons, managing a 2-3 record over those battles. Meanwhile, defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero and special teams coordinator Dwayne Stukes had to play the 49ers at least twice a year, and last year, played them three times.
This coaching staff knows firsthand just how tough a matchup San Francisco is.
“Between the both of us (Evero and Hackett), we have seen the Niners quite a bit,” Coach Hackett told the press on Wednesday. “They are a very, very good football team. They’re unbelievably physical. They have some unbelievable playmakers on both sides of the ball. They are simple on defense, but they are almost perfect in their execution. They’ve been in the system for I think it’s five or six years now with [Head Coach] Kyle [Shanahan] on defense. When you get that consistency, it allows players not to have to think that they can go play at a high level. When they are good players too, then you see an even better production. It’s the same thing with the offense. They have been in the same offense for quite a while and they all know exactly what to do, what they’re trying to accomplish, and that’s what you’re gaining and trying to get as a coach, always. I think that you just see an all-around good football team and now [QB] Jimmy’s [Garoppolo] there. He’s played a lot of big games. He’s been very successful. All the way back to 2017, when I was at Jacksonville, I remember going when he was there. I think that was his first year when he came in and won those games at the end. He’s a real good football player, gets the ball out quick, and they are a good football team.”
If the Broncos coaching staff can’t show progression this week and the club falls to a 1-2 record, the Denver Broncos fanbase will grow even louder in their cries of dismay and disappointment.