While the Denver Broncos are preparing to make wholesale changes after the season concludes, they’ve parted ways with two assistant coaches after the firing of head coach Nathaniel Hackett.

Denver Broncos part ways with Dwayne Stukes and Butch Barry

Change is the only constant in life. This term is applicable to the NFL landscape for coaches, players, and executives, but the Broncos have found themselves back to square one as they approach the offseason.

On Monday, the Broncos fired Nathaniel Hackett as their head coach just 15 games into the season. Hackett’s demise wasn’t the only one that came following Denver’s 51-14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. The team announced on Monday evening that they also parted ways with special teams coordinator Dwayne Stukes and offensive line coach Butch Barry.

With just two games remaining, the team will move forward with Mike Mallory filling in as the special teams coordinator after previously serving as Stukes’ assistant. Colorado native Ben Steele will take over coaching the offensive line in place of Barry.

Denver’s special teams unit struggled this season, but coaching wasn’t a primary reason. Injuries on offense and defense to key starters after Week 5 plucked away players like Eric Saubert, Alex Singleton, and P.J. Locke away from being core four players for Stukes’ units. Injuries to key special teams players like Essang Bassey and Mike Boone also impacted lineups.

Stukes was always a straight shooter regarding some of the struggles his units were having, inexperience with young guys having to fill in on key roles is something that also impacted them. However, many of these circumstances don’t matter in the business side of the league. The Broncos rank dead last in kickoff return average, 31st in field goal percentage as Brandon McManus has struggled this season, 22nd in gross punting average behind Corliss Waitman’s leg, and 14th in net punting average. Rookie returner Montrell Washington has struggled to find consistency after showcasing several flashes throughout the season. Opposing teams have had consistent success punting against the Broncos.

Denver’s offensive line has struggled at a historic rate this season, allowing 57 sacks on the season. Injuries have been a storyline for this unit all throughout the season, but the Broncos’ offense simply hasn’t been able to find a way to create more in pass protection and establishing the run. Hackett’s decision to move on from veteran line coach Mike Munchak and assistant Chris Kuper for Barry was unpopular in the eyes of many, in hindsight it appears that decision was a mistake.

More changes on the coaching staff are expected to occur throughout the final two weeks of the season for the Broncos as they will begin their journey to find their next head coach for 2023 and beyond.