ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Dad was here.
Nathaniel Hackett’s father is football royalty of sorts. Paul Hackett was a 23-year NFL offensive assistant coach for the likes of Tom Landry, Bill Walsh and Marty Schottenheimer. He was also a seven-year head coach for USC and Pitt.
"He’s got some of those old school ways," Nathaniel, in his first year as Broncos’ head coach, said about pops. "It’s a little different with the way the game has changed, and also, it’s a different system. He keeps getting mad at me for calling certain things how we do. But definitely. He’s the art of the footwork. He was there when it was created, so it’s something I always talked to him about."
By old school, coaches used to chide players for missing "voluntary" offseason practices. The Broncos had several key veterans missing the first day of OTAs on Monday, including running back Melvin Gordon III and kicker Brandon McManus. Starting safety Kareem Jackson and outside linebacker Bradley Chubb attended graduation ceremonies. Others like receivers Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler and right tackles Calvin Anderson and Billy Turner and outside linebacker Randy Gregory were out with various degrees of injuries.
Son Hackett took an equanimous approach to some of the absences, most notably Gordon and McManus, who aren’t OTA kind of guys.
"In the end, for us, it’s all voluntary," Hackett said. "I think that’s the first starting point for us. It’s voluntary. As long as they’re getting their bodies right and understanding the system, that’s all I can ask. If they can get here, great."
So what does dad think about son’s coaching style?
"He says he doesn’t know if I’m a teacher, an entertainer, if I’m a coach, or if I’m the dictator," Nathaniel said. "That’s kind of how I like it. I like it when nobody knows what role you’re feeling at that time because you have to fill them all. I think he enjoys those meetings and watching them."
Rookie tight end Greg Dulcich got plenty of reps with quarterback Russell Wilson and the first team offense Monday along with Albert Okwuegbunam.
Netane Muti worked in with Quinn Meinerz at right guard.
With Calvin Anderson and Billy Turner out with injuries, former Packer Ben Braden got a good look at right tackle, along with Tom Compton.
With Jeudy and Hamler out, Kendall Hinton got his share of slot work with Tim Patrick and Courtland Sutton on the outside.
On defense, Jonathan Harris, who came on late last season, got love at defensive tackle with D.J. Jones still practicing on a limited basis.
Josey Jewell and Jonas Griffith are the top inside linebackers with Alex Singleton leading the second unit.
P.J. Locke got reps at safety with Jackson away.
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