Hackett, the Broncos’ offense is feeling hot after their fourth straight loss

DENVER (AP) — In a season that’s been sideways, Denver Broncos rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett is ready to bench almost anyone to shake things up.

This includes himself as the play-caller for the team with the lowest total in the league.

“I think we’re always going to look at everything,” Hackett said after the Broncos (2-5) squandered another dominant defensive performance in a 16-9 loss to the New York Jets on Sunday.

With backup quarterback Brett Rypien filling in for the injured Russell Wilson, the Broncos once again struggled to find the end zone, which they have managed just eight times in seven games.

It’s become an all-too-familiar topic for the Broncos, who are averaging just 14.3 points per game. At least that gave Hackett the idea of ​​offloading play-calling duties to focus on the bigger picture.

“I always look at myself first,” Hackett said. “If there’s something we can all agree on I could hold the team back or something, sure. But I don’t think that’s the case.”

Still, he added: “We will always check everything to try to improve and help this offensive.”

Just a few months on the job and Hackett could already be feeling the heat. The new ownership group has not publicly addressed the early-season struggles of Hackett and Wilson, who got off to the worst start of their 11-year careers and missed a game for the fourth time as a pro on Sunday.

Hackett’s first season was marked by a series of head-scratching decisions (a 64-yard field goal attempt late in a season-opening loss in Seattle) and turnovers (a muted punt last Monday night in overtime that set up the Chargers’ game-winning field goal). ).

If you lose to Jacksonville in London next weekend, the farewell week that follows could prove interesting. This is a Broncos team that hasn’t made the playoffs since Peyton Manning, Von Miller and co. guided them to a Super Bowl title to wrap up the 2015 season.

There was much optimism they would end their five-year record losing streak after general manager George Paton hired Hackett and then traded for Wilson in the offseason.

Instead, the fighting continues.

“It’s always hot,” Hackett said after the Broncos’ fourth straight loss. “You always want to try to give yourself a chance to get into the playoffs. We’re just past the eight. We have to find a way to fight our way out of this hole.”

The Broncos saw Wilson on the headset instead of the field due to a hamstring injury. Rypien said Wilson was a “great leader”. However, Rypien was unable to spark the offense, throwing for 225 yards and an interception. His final shot of the game missed for KJ Hamler.

“Everyone in this dressing room feels the urgency to get better,” Rypien said. “It starts with every single guy looking at himself in the mirror and figuring out what I can do to help this offense. Since your defense is playing as well as our defense, you shouldn’t be losing games. That’s just spot on, period, fact.”

The Broncos defense certainly played its part, keeping Zach Wilson and the Jets on 10 first downs and forcing eight punts.

“That’s a good football team over there,” said Jets coach Robert Saleh, whose team surprisingly improved to 5-2. “They’re inches away and they have a damn good defense over there.”

Even on offense, Denver dominated in most categories, including yardage (324-260) and possession time (nearly five minutes apart). But it didn’t score points on a windy day when reliable kicker Brandon McManus missed a point after a try and a 56-yard field goal. The Broncos also had a couple of offensive possessions that resulted in punts at just 24 seconds and 43 seconds.

“I’m tired of being up here saying the same thing over and over again,” Hackett said. “There are no excuses. We were there in every single game. We have to win these games. As a team, as offense, defense, everyone.

“It’s frustrating to have to say the same thing up here because, like I said, those opportunities are there. We have to make them. As simple as that.”


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