Broncos introduce new coach Nathaniel Hackett; could QB Aaron Rodgers follow?
GREEN BAY - Former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett was introduced Friday as the new head coach of the Denver Broncos. He said one of his first priorities was assembling a staff and didn't dismiss the possibility of taking some Packers assistants with him.
“Now that this whole thing is official, I'm so excited to sit down and go through it all, from the entire staff, from everything," Hackett said. "So those are all things, the quarterback position, all that stuff. I imagine we'll talk for a long time about everything."
Broncos general manager George Paton was asked if there was any understanding that Hackett and Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has become the subject of trade speculation, would be coming to Denver as a pre-arranged package deal.
“Absolutely not,” Paton said.
As he prepares to begin his new job, Hackett said it was hard to walk away from the Packers' organization.
“All those people there, I mean, (general manager Brian Gutekunst), how amazing he was; the players. I mean, those guys, it was hard walking out of that building, just those past couple days, because there's a lot of love there.
“I'm so grateful for the Packers, so grateful for (Packers coach) Matt LaFleur, so grateful for all the men that I worked with.”
Speaking about LaFleur, Hackett said, “The things that he taught me, the things that he allowed me to do, the person he let me be, and the staff that we got to hire; and I realized how important a great staff is because a great staff and the group that you're going to be with, it's the foundation, the people you work with every day.”
As Broncos head coach, Hackett said he will call the offensive plays as well. The fine line that must be walked between leading a team and handling the nitty-gritty of play calling is something Hackett says he learned from watching LaFleur do the same the last three seasons.
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“I was able to watch him maneuver that, from being both a head football coach and calling plays. And I think it's about being able to budget your time and understand what you need to get done,” Hackett said.
Hackett joked he’ll also be making a run at “being the sexiest coach in the NFL against (LaFleur).”
While Hackett and Paton couldn't risk tampering charges by discussing Rodgers' future, Hackett heaped praise on his former quarterback.
“Aaron was absolutely unbelievable," Hackett said. "He's been one of my biggest supporters. And I love him. And I'm thankful very much for him and coaching a man like that.
“The one thing I learned is, you better have an answer for every question, because he's going to ask every single question about every single thing that you're going to do. So I think that was something that was very valuable for me, when you're dealing with a guy that is that intelligent, is that if you want to do something…you’re not going to be able to just put that up there and say, ‘Hey, you're doing this.’
“So I think it's just allowed me to understand communicating and talking with everybody. And knowing that you always have to have an answer why.”
Packers staff selected for Pro Bowl
While the Packers' staff is in flux on the offensive side of the ball, those who remain will join LaFleur next week in Las Vegas to coach the NFC team in the annual Pro Bowl.
The AFC team will be led by head coach Mike Vrabel and his staff.
The 2022 Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, Feb. 6, at 2 p.m. CT.