The Denver Broncos have parted ways with head coach Nathaniel Hackett after 15 games at the helm. What led to the Broncos’ decision and what is there to look forward to as the team looks to move forward after a disappointing season?

What led to Nathaniel Hackett’s firing from the Denver Broncos? 

The excitement in Denver combined with the expectations for the 2022 season were a “mile-high” after the Broncos hired Nathaniel Hackett and traded for Russell Wilson with the Seattle Seahawks. Prior to 2022, the perception was that the Broncos were a quarterback away.

Hackett was brought in to fix an offense that struggled under former play-caller Pat Shurmur while Vic Fangio was the head coach. With key pieces like Javonte Williams, Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick, and KJ Hamler, the idea of what the Broncos’ offense could be like with Wilson was an exciting prospect.

However, Denver’s offense was historically worse than they were under Shurmur, leading to a 4-11 record. Injuries to key players and inconsistent execution were things that impacted the outcome of the offensive production this season which ultimately led to the Walton-Penner family ownership group dismissing Hackett. It’s worth mentioning that Denver’s ownership situation wasn’t resolved when Hackett was hired, which made it reasonable that they moved on in an effort to hire their own coach.

The Denver Broncos finished Nathaniel Hackett’s tenure with the NFL’s bottom-ranked offense in terms of points per game and third-down conversion rate, the NFL’s 26th-ranked offense in terms of yards per game, and Russell Wilson on pace to finish with a career-low 14 touchdown passes.

Change is coming for the Broncos who have a short window to win with Wilson who signed a massive contract extension prior to the 2022 season. The offense has to be better and George Paton will likely be involved in making changes to the offensive line, personnel at wide receiver, and various skill player positions to help improve the Broncos’ offense in 2023.

While the Broncos have moved on from Hackett, it’s worth noting the cultural impact he had inside the locker room. The NFL is a results-driven business, but Hackett’s leadership helped transform a Broncos locker room that needed a coach who cared about them both on and off the field, something that was missing when Vic Fangio was the head coach.

Now the Broncos’ focus shifts to finding a new head coach that can help steer the team in the direction they’re aiming for, getting back to the post-season serving as the number one goal for this team moving forward.

Cody Roark is Mile High Sports lead reporter covering the Denver Broncos — Cody covers every practice, every home and away game plus community events related to the organization. He also co-hosts The Afternoon Drive with Aniello Piro on Mile High Sports Radio and is the host of the Locked On Broncos podcast. You can follow Cody on Twitter and Instagram @CodyRoarkNFL.