New Denver Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett 'excited' to get to work fixing team's offensive struggles

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Amped up and ready to start the hunt for touchdowns, Nathaniel Hackett was formally introduced Friday as the Denver Broncos' 18th head coach in franchise history.

Hackett, who'd been the Green Bay Packers' offensive coordinator for the past three seasons, called his hiring "a dream."

The 42-year-old arrives as the Broncos have had one of the league's most unreliable and inconsistent offenses over six consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance.

"Any offense that you have, it has to be maneuverable, has to be adjustable for who you have on our team,'' Hackett said. "... You want to make the defense cover the entire field and you've got to take shots down the field. Let's face it: That's what the people in the stands love. I remember watching John Elway ... this is really where this system kind of evolved from and was created."

Broncos general manager George Paton was quick to shoot down the early theory that Hackett had been hired to give the Broncos a better chance to lure Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers to Denver if the three-time NFL MVP happened to be on the trade market in the coming months.

"Absolutely not," Paton quickly said when asked if Rodgers had anything to do with Hackett's hire.

One of the first orders of business for Hackett will be to kick-start an offense that has been one of the league's worst in recent years. The Broncos have not averaged more than 23 points per game since 2014.

"These [playoff] offenses are dynamic, and we have a long way to go in that capacity. We need to get better on offense. We need to score a lot more points,'' Paton said. "We need to be more explosive ... but we also need to be better on special teams and we don't want to take a step back on defense."

Over the past six seasons, the Broncos have averaged fewer than 20 points per game three times, including 19.7 per game in this year's 7-10 finish.

If Paton included an enthusiasm incentive clause in Hackett's four-year deal with the team, the new coach was set to earn it all Friday. In rapid-fire fashion, Hackett said he and Paton will "start grinding'' on player evaluations and hiring a staff as soon as possible.

Paton and Hackett each said the quarterback position would have a big role in the discussions they have about the roster in the weeks ahead.

The team has started 10 different quarterbacks -- running back Phillip Lindsay also started behind center in the no-quarterback game in 2020 -- since the midway point of the 2016 season.

The Broncos initially had second interviews scheduled this week with Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell after their second interview with Hackett this past Monday. However, after speaking to Hackett extensively all day Monday and then a final discussion Tuesday, the other interviews were cancelled and Hackett was hired.

"There was no reason to go on. I was sold,'' Paton said. "... This was a really great group of candidates we interviewed. I spent a lot of time with [Hackett]. I knew how I felt. I talked to the staff, I talked to the leadership, and I was like, 'What are we doing? This is the guy for the Denver Broncos.'"

Said Hackett: "I feel like this is a dream right now. This is unbelievable. ... To say that I'm excited would be a massive understatement."