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Hackett Demands Excellence from Broncos WRs in Complex Passing Offense

The Broncos coach made his intentions clear.

Under the command of former head coach Vic Fangio and his hand-picked offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, the Denver Broncos’ production never meshed with the talent they could put on the field.

Denver finished No. 28 and 23 in the NFL, respectively, in points scored in Shurmur’s two seasons leading the Broncos’ offense. He was fired, along with Fangio, this past January.

Enter new head coach Nathaniel Hackett, former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator and coach of back-to-back MVP Aaron Rodgers — and there’s new hope — and new demands — being placed on the Broncos offensive personnel, including the receivers.

Last week, Hackett slipped in one morsel of information to the assembled media while discussing the abilities of rookie wideout Montrell Washington.

"We want to be able to move people all over the field, whether it’s motions, shifts, those little jet sweep fly things that everybody sees,” Hackett detailed. “There are so many different ways that we can do that.”

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Merely installing a new passing offense, never mind one which employs multiple formations and shifts, always presents distinct challenges for younger receivers. It’s extremely doubtful that if Hackett had inherited a younger and less talented group of pass-catchers, he would still be forging ahead so ambitiously with his progressive plans for the corps.

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In practical terms, not only can Hackett call upon the likes of Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick for veteran smarts, he is now in the privileged position of having Russell Wilson calling the shots at quarterback, allowing Hackett to bring the younger receivers along more slowly.

“Coming from college, a lot of the time, they’re not as complicated in the formation world and that’s just the first part,” Hackett said. “Then you add in all the plays, all the routes, all the coverages and all the adjustments. For the wide receiver position, It’s quite a bit.”

All told, the task at hand is considerable, but Hackett wasn’t finished there. He explained how the talent levels on the defensive side of the ball always raise the bar to unexplored heights for their offensive counterparts.

“Yeah, any young guy that comes in here is going to deal with premier athletes,” Hackett said. “Guys that have been playing the game for quite some time, especially at that position, are very good and very athletic. The contact, the speed and the different coverages – all of that stuff – definitely plays a factor.”


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