Last season’s iteration of the Denver Broncos had to face several hurdles that ultimately prevented their success, but one of those problems — the coaching staff — appears to have been remedied as we enter the 2022 season.
During media sessions last week, star Broncos Bradley Chubb and Garett Bolles both gushed over how wowed they were by their first impression of Denver’s new coaching staff.
“My interactions have all been positive with him,” Chubb said of new head coach Nathaniel Hackett. “He’s been amazing with just the energy he brings to the meeting room. In the first meeting, we have guys shooting hoops against each other. I’m not going to tell you who won or lost, but [No.] 31 didn’t do so well. It was fun to bring out that competition in everybody. [He’s] allowing us to be us and to go out there, play carefree and not worry about what this guy is doing or what that guy is doing. We’re all going to be right there together, and that is his main message—keeping it together and winning the Super Bowl. That’s our main thing.”
It’s not difficult to see how that approach runs in stark contrast to the gruff, heavily serious demeanor of Vic Fangio, but just because Fangio failed, doesn’t mean Hackett is guaranteed success by being the opposite.
However, it certainly seems the ship is headed in the right direction.
It should also be noted that this coaching transition might be easier on Denver’s defensive stars, thanks to Ejiro Evero’s schematic similarity with Vic Fangio.
“Luckily for us, [Evero’s defense] is a lot of the same schemes with a couple verbiage things here and there being a little different,” Chubb said of the defensive transition. “For the most part, guys are picking up on it quickly. It’s not too different from what we’ve been doing in the past because ‘Coach EJ’ (Defensive Coordinator Ejiro Evero) spent time with Vic [Fangio] out in San Fran. It’s a lot of the same things with different verbiage. We’re going to have to pick it up fast and make sure that we’re all on one page.”
The flip side of that coin can be seen on the offensive line, where Denver’s offensive linemen, like Bolles, are having to learn a different scheme while they lose legendary offensive line coach Mike Munchak.
That loss hurts, but replacement Butch Barry has impressed so far.
“Coach Barry is a great coach,” Bolles said last week. “This is his first year being a full offensive line coach, but I’ve known him. During the draft, I think he was in Tampa when I was coming out of the draft, so I think he worked me out once or twice. So I knew him a little bit. He’s a great coach. I’m going to miss Coach Munchak. I love him dearly. I had a great relationship with him. I think the world of him. I think he helped me in so many ways.
“But it’s a new coach. I have my ways and he has his ways, so I have to get used to that. But I think we have a great relationship. This whole coaching staff is all about love. I think that’s one thing that’s good for this whole organization is it’s about love. We’re going to bring that family atmosphere that we needed. It’s going to be business, but at the same time, family is a part of it. When you go to work, you’re providing for your family, so you might as well bring your family as a part of work. I think that’s really cool. I’ve talked to him a couple times throughout the offseason. We talked, met and sat down with him, just spend a couple hours together. So everything he says—I’m really looking forward to it. This offense fits us really well, especially me. Being in the outside zone scheme, being out in the run—getting Javonte [Williams] the ball, our playmakers, and let me get out there and run. I think that fits me really well. I trust him. He coached Trent Williams. He’s a great, Top 10 tackle in the league and will be a Pro [Football] Hall of Famer when he’s retired. I have to learn from that, and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”
While the transition to the new scheme might be difficult for the offensive line, it should be a much more player-friendly scheme that raises the overall floor of the group.
Now, with Denver’s coaching staff woes finally alleviated, the sky could be the limit for the Broncos.