Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett hires assistant to help with game management

Denver Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett is trying to fix the mistakes of his past two games by hiring veteran assistant coach Jerry Rosburg to help with game management, according to 9News' Mike Klis.

Rosburg, 66, retired from coaching before the 2019 season after 11 seasons as the assistant head coach and special teams coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. He also coached special teams with the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons before joining the Ravens in 2008. Rosburg spent the past week with the Broncos before the team finalized the hiring on Saturday, per Klis. He'll assist Hackett for the Broncos' Week 3 match with the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night.

Hackett's decision-making has come under fire after only two games at the helm of the Broncos following the team's tepid 1-1 start.

First, Hackett made the questionable decision to attempt a 64-yard field goal instead of going for it on 4th down in Week 1. The Broncos missed the kick and lost to the Seattle Seahawks, and Hackett later acknowledged his mistake. Then, after Broncos fans booed Hackett during the team's ugly win over the Texans in Week 3, Hackett said he needed to do a better job "making decisions faster and quicker."

It seems like the hiring of Rosburg is an attempt to remedy Hackett's early errors. Rosburg worked hand-in-hand with Ravens head coach John Harbaugh during his tenure in Baltimore, which included a Super Bowl win in 2012.

Hackett's issues as a first-time head coach who also calls offensive plays aren't that uncommon, according to The Athletic's Kalyn Kahler. Sources recently told Kahler that game management is typically worse for coaches with similar backgrounds as Hackett because those coaches tend to focus too much on the intricacies of the offense rather than a holistic approach to situations in a game.

“... There are a lot of guys out there who are potentially more full-time, more heavily invested in situational football because they are not focused on game planning to the same degree," one game management coach told Kahler. "It’s an area where the head coach can have a lot of agency over the result of the team and where the head coach controls the football if the head coach isn’t also the OC.”

Other first-time offensive head coaches like Brian Daboll with the New York Giants gave up play-calling duties this year because of that very idea. Philadelphia Eagles head coach Nike Sirianni did something similar midway through his first year in 2021 after calling plays early in the season.

“I felt like I needed to make a change in the sense of how to free me up to be a better head coach, and I had a good assistant to call the plays, and so that's what I went with." Sirianni said in June. “... What I noticed was, well, I wasn't communicating enough with [defensive coordinator Jonathan] Gannon about something, or I wasn't communicating enough about the defense about something that they needed to be pumped up or [special teams coordinator Michael Clay] or the special teams."

Hackett might not give up play-calling just yet, but the hiring of Rosburg should at least help things out in the interim.

Nathaniel Hackett brought in a new coach to help with game management. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Nathaniel Hackett brought in a new coach to help with game management. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)