Nathaniel Hackett knows things aren’t going well in Denver.
The Broncos’ first year head coach, after losing seven of their last eight games, is perhaps in the hottest seat in the league. Following Sunday’s 23-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers, where the defense finally snapped on struggling quarterback Russell Wilson, calls for his job continued to grow louder.
And honestly, it’s easy to see why — even for Hackett, who said Monday that he is "the most frustrated" of anyone with how the team is playing.
“Nobody is as frustrated as I am,” Hackett said Monday, via the Colorado Springs Gazette. “This is not where we wanted to be at this time in the season. None of us thought it was going to be like this and that responsibility is fully on me. I want to be the one that can do everything to help this football team because we, as a group, have to come together and find a way to win a football game. We can’t play the way that we played [Sunday] and expect to win a football game. It starts with me from practice preparation and every single thing that we do. I’m the most frustrated. I think that our fans are great. They want to win, just like we all do. I don’t blame them for being frustrated.
"For me, all I know is to work and put my head down with our staff. I believe in this staff, and I believe in these players. We have to get better plays and better execution across the board.”
Sunday’s game was a perfect example of how bad it's been in Denver.
Up against Sam Darnold and the struggling Panthers, Wilson managed just one touchdown drive on the day — which came on a one-yard pass in the final minutes of the contest.
Defensive lineman Mike Purcell even lit Wilson up on the sidelines, which isn’t something anyone expected to see when the veteran and former Super Bowl winner was traded to the Broncos before the season.
Mike Purcell had some words for Russell Wilson has he returned to the Broncos sideline pic.twitter.com/FL6RaFwAT8
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) November 27, 2022
Though he’s only 11 games into his tenure with the organization, Hackett is as much to blame as Wilson for their struggles, if not more so.
While their playoff hopes are essentially gone — especially considering two of their final six games of the year are against the Kansas City Chiefs — Hackett insists he’s not done trying to right the ship in Denver just yet.
“We need to continue to look at ourselves individually,” Hackett said, via the Gazette. “It starts with me and goes to the coaches and the players to see how we can improve. It’s not just one guy — it’s everybody. Everybody has to get better. Everybody has to play better. We’re obviously not happy with what the outcome was yesterday. We can play better, and we are a better football team than that. We have to continually get better across the board.”
And as for winning back fans who are turning on him more and more every day, Hackett knows he has work to do.
“Our fans mean the world to all of us,” Hackett said, via the Gazette. “We work hard because we want to put a great product out on the field. We know that hasn’t been there, especially from the offensive side of the ball. Everybody in that room, both coaches and players, are doing every single thing we can to try to put a better product out there.
"We have to prove it. We have to prove it to our fans and that’s what we’re going to continually try to do.”