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Nathaniel Hackett: Broncos Have a Chance to 'Win it All' with Russell Wilson

Nathaniel Hackettt's expectations for 2022? They're a Mile High.

Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett has the same mindset of an enthusiastic fan when he talks football. When he sat down for a one-on-one with NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, Hackett was characteristically full of energy and optimism. 

Upon hearing the news of the Broncos' tectonic trade acquisition of nine-time Pro Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson, Hackett also admitted he had a euphoric reaction, which would have similarly been mirrored by most Broncos fans. Pelissero asked Hackett his first reaction to hearing the news. 

“A little scream, I think,” Hackett admitted. “It was one of those somewhat high pitched, but still wanted to be kind of manly screams.”

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For as giddy as Hackett obviously still is, some of the more cynical analysts out there have tried to deflate the Broncos' balloon, pointing to Wilson’s slight statistical drop-off last season. Hackett isn’t buying into any of that talk and instead highlighted just how Wilson's elite skills haven’t eluded him overnight.

“What Russ does, compared to other people, I mean he’s spectacular,” Hackett told Pelissero. “It’s about him establishing himself as one of the best in the league, which he already is, and just continually doing that over and over.”

As the AFC West has rapidly morphed into a super division, littered with elite skill-position players, some media pundits have suggested it’s a level of competition that’s best to be avoided instead of embraced. Coach Hackett poured scorn on that notion and insisted he is very excited by the prospect of doing battle in the NFL’s marquee divisional race.

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“No, it’s exciting, [are] you kidding me? We all get into this game because you want to be playing against the best people all the time.” Hackett said to Pelissero.

There is a chance the AFC West might prove to be such an intense battleground that all the combatants end up fatally wounding each other before they even get to the playoffs. That’s a risk the Broncos will simply have to take, especially in pursuit of ending their playoff drought, which dates all the way back to Super Bowl 50. It's been six long years. 

Back then, the Broncos' mission statement was "iron sharpens iron," which was crafted by former head coach Gary Kubiak and emblazoned on T-shirts and facings throughout UCHealth Training Center. If the team is to emerge victorious in the league’s toughest division, it might be worth raising that old motivational banner back up to the rafters. 

Far from playing down the challenges that lie ahead, Coach Hackett’s positive energy allowed him to play up the Broncos' chances of winning it all next season.

“We got a chance to win it all,” Hackett said. “I think we all have a chance. I think every team does. It’s just about how you maintain it through the season and are able to finish on a high note in December.”

Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL.

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