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Hackett turns over play calling to Klint Kubiak

Broncos head coach makes second big admission this year that something was broke, needed fixed.

DENVER — Nathaniel Hackett, like all NFL head coaches, has an ego. You don't become an NFL head coach without one.

What makes Hackett unique is he's willing to put his ego aside for the betterment of his coaching and the Denver Broncos.

For the second time this year, Hackett has made a huge admission that something was broke and brought in another coach to fix it. First, it was the hiring of longtime NFL special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg to help run the game-day operations/game management/in-game decision-making. Rosburg was added prior to game 3.

And now, as the Broncos bring their NFL-worst scoring offense into their game today against the Las Vegas Raiders, Hackett has turned over in-game, play-calling to quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak, a source confirmed to 9NEWS.

Hackett made the decision after the Broncos were shut out in the second half against the Tennessee Titans in a 17-10 loss last Sunday in Nashville. That dropped the Broncos' season average to a league-worst 14.5 points per game.

Credit: AP
From left, Denver Broncos offensive assistant Klint Kubiak, his father and head coach Gary, and outside linebackers coach Fred Pagac take part in drills during the team's NFL football training camp Friday, July 29, 2016 in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

That was not the result general manager George Paton was looking for after acquiring star quarterback Russell Wilson in March from Seattle in exchange for two first-round draft picks, two second-round draft picks and two veteran starting players.

Wilson, who ranked in the top 10 in passing in 9 of his first 10 seasons in Seattle, currently ranks No. 28 among league passers in his first year with the Broncos.

Klint Kubiak, 35, has been groomed by his dad, former Broncos' longtime offensive coordinator and Super Bowl 50-winning head coach Gary Kubiak, as a play-calling offensive coordinator. Gary Kubiak was groomed by former Broncos' two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach Mike Shanahan.

Hackett is also steeped in the Shanahan-Kubiak offensive system but for whatever reason he was never able to get his players to properly execute it through the first 9 games of the season.

RELATED: Multi-skilled Calvin Anderson focused on protecting QB Russell Wilson

Despite having the NFL's No. 1 defense, the Broncos bring a 3-6 record into their game today against Josh McDaniels and the 2-7 Raiders.  

The Broncos went through practice this week with Klint Kubiak calling the plays and Hackett bouncing around to coach all three phases. Satisfied with how the week went, Hackett informed the players of the play-calling switch during a team meeting Saturday. 

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett looks on during the NFL football game between Denver Broncos and Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium London, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Hackett chose Klint Kubiak and not offensive coordinator Justin Outten to handle the play-calling responsibilities because Klint Kubiak has experience.

Not only did Klint Kubiak work alongside his dad in calling plays for the Vikings in 2020, Kubiak took over full offensive coordinator/play-calling duties for Minnesota last year. The Vikings ranked No. 12 in total offense last season and No. 14 in points (25.0 per game).

Outten will remain involved in game-planning through the week and will be part of the collaborative play-calling operation during the game from the coaches' box. But Hackett has let it be known Klint Kubiak has full play-calling authority.

RELATED: Broncos linebacker Jonas Griffith likely done for season with foot injury


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