November 26, 2022

The Denver Broncos have been the disappointment of the 2022 NFL season thus far. They are currently on a four-game losing streak, reside in last place in the AFC West at 2-5, new quarterback Russell Wilson has not impressed and first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett may be on the hot seat. At least, that’s what former Denver Nuggets head coach and NBA Hall of Famer George Karl wants.

This week, Karl took to Twitter to claim that Hackett should be done in Denver.

Karl tweets: “I always support coaches and would rarely advocate for their firing. But Hackett needs to be done in Denver with the Broncos. The search needs to begin immediately for someone who can connect with Wilson and make him a player again. Nathaniel doesn’t appear to be that person.”

Karl is a sports legend in Denver. He jumped into the NBA coaching ranks after his playing career in 1979, and ultimately won 1,175 games as a head coach. He led five different teams to the NBA postseason on 22 occasions, according to his Hall of Fame profile, but spent nine seasons in Denver and won NBA Coach of the Year in 2013 after leading the Nuggets to a 57-25 record. 

We don’t see first-year head coaches fired often, but it does happen. Last year, Urban Meyer lost his Jaguars’ head-coaching job midseason due to issues that didn’t all have to do with on-field play, but the Houston Texans also let David Culley go — a move that was controversial after he arguably overachieved despite the 4-13 record. The last first-year head coach to be fired before last season was Steve Wilks of the Arizona Cardinals in 2018. 

Broncos fans are understandably upset with how the season has started. Despite Hackett’s offensive background, the Broncos average the fewest points per game in the league (14.3 points), and have just four touchdowns on 17 red-zone drives, which is the worst red-zone rate since the 2007 Rams.

Wilson’s struggles are a big reason why the Broncos have disappointed as well, although he’s dealing with injuries. After missing last week’s matchup due to a hamstring issue, Wilson told reporters he’ll be “ready to rock” on Sunday. He even said that he used the flight to London for his own exercise, claiming to spend four of the eight hours of travel stretching and working out on the plane. While other players slept, Wilson was doing high-knees up and down the aisle, per DNVR

Karl is not alone in wanting Hackett gone, but it remains to be seen how patient the franchise will be. For now GM George Paton is not giving up on Hackett after seven games. 

“I believe in Nathaniel,” he told reporters. “I support Nathaniel 100 percent. He’s been in this for seven games. The scrutiny he’s faced is unprecedented. We’ve had four prime-time games, so he’s kinda had to learn in front of the entire world. But I really like how he’s kept the team together — they’re connected, he’s kept our building together — and I appreciate how he’s fought through that.”

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