The Denver Broncos fired Nathaniel Hackett on Monday after the club went 4-11 through his 15 games as head coach.
“Following extensive conversations with (general manager) George (Paton) and our ownership group, we determined a new direction would ultimately be in the best interest of the Broncos,” team owner Greg Penner said in a statement. “This change was made now out of respect for everyone involved and allows us to immediately begin the search for a new head coach.”
Penner will lead the search for the team’s next head coach, with additional support coming from the ownership group. The owner added he has confidence in Paton as general manager.
Senior assistant coach Jerry Rosburg will serve as the interim sideline boss in the meantime, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero was Denver’s first choice, but he declined the offer, sources told Jordan Schultz, theScore’s NFL insider.
Hackett’s dismissal comes after the Broncos were blown out 51-14 by the Los Angeles Rams. Denver came into the season with raised expectations after hiring Hackett and acquiring star quarterback Russell Wilson in a trade with the Seattle Seahawks.
However, the duo’s arrival has failed to elevate the Broncos’ offense. The unit ranks last in the NFL with an average of 15.5 points per game, while Wilson has struggled mightily to the tune of 12 touchdowns, nine interceptions, and a career-low 82.6 passer rating.
Hackett relinquished play-calling duties during the campaign due to the Broncos’ struggles on offense. The franchise also brought in Rosburg to assist Hackett after he was criticized for clock management decisions earlier in the season.
With the firing, Hackett becomes the fifth head coach in NFL history to be dismissed before the end of their first season, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.
The Broncos have now cycled through four head coaches since their Super Bowl victory in the 2015 season, with Hackett joining Gary Kubiak, Vance Joseph, and Vic Fangio. Denver hasn’t made the postseason since that championship campaign.
The AFC West club also fired special teams coordinator Dwayne Stukes and offensive line coach Butch Barry.
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