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Insider Reveals 3 Nathaniel Hackett Traits that Swung Broncos GM George Paton

What was it about Nathaniel Hackett that convinced George Paton he was the man for the job?

After a whirlwind 18-day romp through the NFL coaching landscape, the Denver Broncos finally made a decision in the wee hours of Thursday. Nathaniel Hackett — Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator — will be hired as the Broncos' 18th head coach all-time. 

The 42-year-old Hackett presided over one of the most dominant three-year runs in Aaron Rodgers' career, though the Packers weren't able to get over the Super Bowl hump. So why did Broncos GM George Paton ultimately choose Hackett? 

First off, Hackett is an offensive-minded coach whose schemes straddle the cutting edge of the modern NFL point-scoring attack. That facet of the game has been sorely missing in Denver since before Peyton Manning hung up his cleats. 

Vanquishing finalists like Dallas Cowboys DC Dan Quinn and Los Angeles Rams OC Kevin O'Connell, what really set Hackett apart from his rivals for the Broncos job can perhaps be summed up in three points.

NFL insider James Palmer laid them out in a prolific Twitter thread on Thursday. 

"A few notes on Broncos hiring Nathaniel Hackett: - Hackett presented the best plan for all 3 phases - His innovative approach toward coaching scratched the itch for the competitive edge Paton was looking for - Commands a room. Be it players or coaches. Much needed trait," Palmer tweeted. 

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We knew that whomever the Broncos hired to replace Vic Fangio would have to present a good plan for all three phases of the team but also have a blueprint for fourth-year quarterback Drew Lock. That was important to Paton, though it doesn't mean that Lock is the GM's Plan A at quarterback entering 2022. 

It was also important to Paton not to take a step backward on defense in the wake of Fangio's exit. The Broncos have held onto Ed Donatell's contract and it wouldn't be surprising to see Hackett retain him as defensive coordinator. After all, Fangio's defensive scheme is the flavor of the month currently spanning the NFL. 

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Special teams-wise, Denver has to improve the third phase but we won't have an inkling of Hackett's plan there until he's introduced to local media on Friday. 

That innovative approach Palmer mentioned is another facet that the Broncos have lacked terribly. There has been a dearth of creativity and innovation and whatever Hackett's approaches are to willing the Broncos back into NFL relevance obviously resonated with Paton. 

Commanding a room of highly-paid grown men with families and bills to pay is no mean feat. Hackett does so by leveling with players and not in a 'I'm the boss, do what I say' type of way. 

Players will follow Hackett because they trust that he knows what he's about and that he has their best interest at heart, with the team always taking precedence over individualism. Bringing some juice to the table, some passion, enthusiasm, and grit — that was beyond Fangio's ken. 

Not so for Hackett. 

The Broncos are expected to introduce Hackett on Friday. We'll know much more about his plan for this team when he takes to the podium for the first time as the head coach of the Broncos. 


Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen.

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