The Green Bay Packers went from a preseason Super Bowl contender to likely missing the playoffs.
After a 27-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night, the Packers are 4-7 and they’ll be tied for last place in the NFC North if the Chicago Bears beat the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
Green Bay is in this position for several reasons — Aaron Rodgers hasn’t played well, the wide receiver talent isn’t up to par, the offensive line keeps getting shuffled around, etc.
Another big reason for the Packers’ struggles that doesn’t seem to be discussed as much is the loss of offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who was hired as the Denver Broncos‘ head coach just after the 2021 season.
Things haven’t gone well for Hackett so far in Denver. The Broncos are 3-6 and the offense has yet to score more than 23 points in a game this season (Denver has the worst-scoring offense in the league).
The Broncos were supposed to compete for an AFC West division title this season after trading for quarterback Russell Wilson. But instead, it appears they’ll be at home watching the playoffs this season.
Speculation has already started that Hackett could be a one-and-done head coach in Denver. The Broncos’ new ownership group didn’t hire Hackett, so it’s unlikely they’ll be patient with him. Considering the large extension that Wilson received after being traded to Denver, it’s not unrealistic to think that Hackett will be let go (so Wilson’s prime years aren’t wasted).
If that happens, the Packers need to get Hackett back in Green Bay immediately. Despite his lack of success with the Broncos, he’s clearly missed in Green Bay.
And if you need to be convinced, just look at this Rodgers quote from earlier this year.
“He’s become such a close confidant and friend, besides a fantastic coach,” Rodgers continued. “And I just really, really can’t express enough how important he is to our team in so many ways. He’s incredible in front of a room, he brings a lot of great energy that’s really important to not just meetings that can sometimes, without the energy, the energy he infuses, maybe get long at times. [It] never feels like that way with him in front of the room.”
I’m not saying Hackett will magically fix all of the Packers’ problems (they still need more talent at wide receiver). But he was obviously an important part of Green Bay’s success.
If the Packers can get him back, it’s a move they have to make. And I think it would immediately pay dividends in 2023.
Featured image via Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK