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Broncos head coach: Offense 'will be what Russell Wilson likes to do'

The Broncos coach's interview with 9NEWS reached a crashing interruption as rival Andy Reid looked on.

PALM BEACH, Fla. — If Russell Wilson was frustrated by his lack of input in the Seattle offense in recent years – and why else does a franchise quarterback became available after 10 mostly terrific seasons? – he won’t have that problem in Denver.

New Broncos’ head coach Nathaniel Hackett was going to bring his pet West Coast offense that worked so well with quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay the previous three seasons. And while the principles of that system will be carried over, Hackett promises to tweak it so the offensive style conforms to Wilson’s skill set.

"First and foremost it’s my job to find out what Russell does well and do that a whole bunch," Hackett said in a sit-down interview Sunday with 9NEWS. "He’s a much different quarterback than Aaron.

They can do a lot of the same things but first is making sure Russell is comfortable out there so he’ll got out there and play fast. That process starts when we get the guys in here in a week or two, April 11.

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Credit: KUSA Sports

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"So once we get him in here and get to know him, we’ll get to understand him and build it around him. So what is it going to be? It’s going to be what Russell likes to do."

It’s also going to be an interesting mix. Wilson on offense and Randy Gregory on defense are proven NFL talents and the Broncos’ two major acquisitions this offseason. Yet, virtually none of the Broncos’ coaches are proven at their current level. Several position coaches were hired from colleges or were coming off their first year of NFL coaching experience..

All these new football instructors, though, was by Hackett design. He didn’t want assistants set in their ways. After watching how Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur picked his staff the previous three years – and the Packers in turn went 13-3, 13-3 and 13-4 – Hackett wanted young coaches he could mold.

"Some came from college, some came from high school," Hackett said while hardly protesting the observation of his staff. "I had an amazing experience in Green Bay. And when Matt and I got together we interviewed a ton of people. And as for interviewing people we kind of threw out background. We didn’t want to think about where they had been, what their experience had been.

"We wanted to get to know the person. What kind of person, what kind of personality they would be to be able to fit with us. We knew we were going to be able to train them. We wanted to see how they were as teachers. It really helped us out. We did a fine job in Green Bay these last three years. That’s the same thing I wanted to do here. I wanted to expose myself to as many people as possible. I didn’t care where they had come from. I just wanted: What kind of person are they? What kind of teacher are they? And to be able to teach them what I wanted to teach them."

Hackett grew up the son of Paul Hackett, a major college head coach and a long-time NFL offensive coordinator and assistant. Hackett himself has been an NFL offensive coordinator for eight seasons with three teams. Yet, ready as his resume says he is to become an NFL head coach, you’re never ready.

"No doubt. Until you go through 10 seasons of this then maybe you’ll be ready," he said. "But I was very lucky to have been with Matt LaFleur. I thought he did an incredible job with the balancing act of being a head coach and offensive coordinator in calling the plays. He’s taught me so much. He leaned on me so much. I think he showed me how to utilize the offensive coordinator position to help him. So it’s good to have a guy like (new Broncos’ offensive coordinator) Justin Outten right there next to me. He’s going to make it so I can get my job done forever."

Hackett was then asked about his rare, first-year expectations. Ordinarily, a new coach taking over a team coming off five consecutive losing seasons would do well to post a first-year record of 9-8. But with Russell Wilson on the team, 9-8 would be a disappointment.

RELATED: Russell Wilson holds practice with new Broncos teammates

Credit: AP
Denver Broncos new starting quarterback Russell Wilson, center, looks on as head coach Nathaniel Hackett, front, responds to a question while general manager George Paton looks on during a news conference Wednesday, March 16, 2022, at the team's headquarters in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

"Everybody has the highest expectations you can possibly imagine for yourself," Hackett said. "We’re in the best division in football. Hey, We want to win every game. We’re never going to look at it any different. Coach Reid’s slowly walking by over here. Oh, man this is going to be a doozy."

Hold on. Kansas City Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid and his wife were walking by as Hackett was in his interview with 9NEWS.

"Hey, coach," Hackett said.

And then, boink. As Reid walked by, a gust of wind knocked over a 9NEWS camera. Or was Reid mysteriously sending a message to his new AFC West coaching threat?

"Hey-ooo," Hackett said smiling. "That got crazy."

Sorry about that, coach. But seriously, the Chiefs. Whatever the goals are for the Broncos in 2022, snapping that 13-game, 7-year losing skid against the Chiefs has to be up there.

"It’s all about the division," Hackett said. "Division, division. The players need to know that. That’s the way you get to the playoffs."

Broncos podcast: Klis' Mike Drop

Denver Broncos headlines, game previews and interviews with our 9NEWS insider Mike Klis.


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