Sports

Top Broncos Tweets About Firing Nathaniel Hackett After Titans Disaster

Nathaniel Hackett feeling the pain after the Broncos' November 13 loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Nathaniel Hackett feeling the pain after the Broncos' November 13 loss to the Tennessee Titans. Denver Broncos via YouTube
The Denver Broncos' 17-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans on November 13 was numbingly familiar. Once again, the players got out to an early lead. Once again, they gave it up. Once again, they had numerous opportunities to get back in the game. Once again, they failed — slowly and agonizingly. And once again, fans on Twitter were left to figure out who was most to blame.

A popular choice: Nathaniel Hackett, who pretty much every citizen of Broncos Country sees as a dead head coach walking. Indeed, speculation about whether Hackett should get the sack has already become secondary to when it will happen (a loss next Sunday to the Las Vegas Raiders and Josh McDaniels, previously the worst coach in Denver history, is a popular prediction) and who should replace him (the top choice appears to be ex-New Orleans Saints offensive mastermind Sean Payton, currently commentating for Fox Sports).

If any Hackett apologists existed, which is debatable, they'd have no shortage of excuses for the Broncos' putrid performance thus far, including the number of injuries the squad has sustained — a situation that grew worse on Sunday after wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and offensive lineman Billy Turner came up gimpy. But there are no rationalizations for his utter inability to make the most of high-dollar acquisition Russell Wilson. Despite having an extra week to figure out how to fix Denver's problems owing to a bye, Hackett continued to employ the same utterly predictable formula, asking Wilson to drop straight back rather than roll out and try to complete low percentage chunk plays — a panicky strategy that worked once (by way of a 66-yard touchdown strike to rookie Jalen Virgil) but generally forced the unit into third-and-long situations that allowed the Titans pass rushers to tee off. Wilson was sacked six times during the contest and harried countless others.

Yes, the defense committed an inexcusable sin, allowing Tennessee to score a late first-half touchdown to trim Denver's lead to 10-7. For the most part, though, defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero has worked marvels with his charges; they held human wrecking ball Derrick Henry to just 53 yards on nineteen carries and forced ex-CSU punter Ryan Stonehouse to kick the ball back to the Broncos eight times. But the closest Denver came to capitalizing was a late drive that ended with Wilson throwing a soul-crushing interception.

"For me, it's about accountability," Hackett said afterward. And Broncos loyalists on Twitter definitely agree.

Continue to count down the ways they hold Hackett responsible for the catastrophic 2022-2023 campaign to date, and what they'd like to happen next.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts

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