For weeks now, Denver Broncos fans have been pounding the table for head coach Nathaniel Hackett to relinquish offensive play-calling duties. On the morning of Denver's rematch with the Las Vegas Raiders, Tom Pelissero broke the news that Hackett has done just that, giving the mantle to QBs coach Klint Kubiak.
"Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett is turning over play-calling duties to QB coach Klint Kubiak, per sources — a bold move to try to spark the offense and Russell Wilson starting today against the Raiders," Pelissero tweeted.
Hackett's decision reportedly was passed onto the team in a raucous Saturday meeting, where, according to Pelissero, the head coach gave an "impassioned and enthusiastic speech that he's willing [to] do whatever it takes to help the team get better."
According to Pelissero, the change to Kubiak happened earlier this week, and only he, offensive coordinator Justin Outten, and quarterback Russell Wilson were apprised of it. Pelissero also reported on how Hackett utilized his time as head coach during practices this week
With Kubiak handling the radio in practice this week, Hackett was spotted bouncing around the field and working with different position groups -- the type of hands-on coaching he loves. And not calling plays in the game will allow the Broncos coach to focus more on game management and all three phases both during the week and on the sideline.
The baton got passed to Kubiak because he's really the only other coach on staff who's called plays in the NFL before. Kubiak did so last year as the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator with mixed results.
Kubiak started off the 2021 campaign on unsure footing and steadily got better. By the time the Vikings hit the stretch run, fans were no longer castigating Kubiak. But it availed that coaching staff not, as Mike Zimmer and his staff, along with the front office, were relieved of their duties at season's end.
The Kubiak name has cache in Denver. His dad, Gary Kubiak, was an offensive coordinator here for years before his two-year stint as head coach, where he presided over Denver's Super Bowl 50 triumph.
Here's to hoping some of that Mile High Magic dust got sprinkled on Klint. If Kubiak can find a way to scheme Wilson into some play designs that work and play to his strengths, it could be a home run.
But make no mistake: this is a desperate move made by a head coach who was hired specifically for his offensive expertise and acumen. If the Broncos fail to improve offensively against the Raiders, and lose a sixth straight, giving up the play-calling duties probably won't shield Hackett from whatever consequence might come.
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