Jets Explore Turning To Ex-Broncos Coach Nathaniel Hackett To Save Offense

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At one point this season, the New York Jets were 7-4. A playoff spot was in their sight. But in typical Jets fashion, they collapsed and went on to lose six games in a row to finish the year 7-10.

The blame for the ugly finish falls on offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, whom the Jets parted ways with after two seasons. LaFleur, brother of Packers head coach Matt LaFleur, joined New York in 2021 when Jets head coach Robert Saleh was hired away from the 49ers. The two of them worked together from 2017-2020 in San Francisco.

Under LaFleur, the Jets ranked 29th and 28th in the league over the past two seasons in points per game and were 25th and 26th in yards per game. Neither is ideal. Some believe that it’s hard to put all the blame on LaFleur because of the quarterback situation was such a mess. The Jets used the second pick in the 2021 Draft on the often overmatched Zach Wilson.

Next Stop Hackett

The Jets are reportedly meeting with former Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett about their offensive coordinator position. Hackett is best known for being one of the rare head coaches to be fired before completing one full season with the team that hired him, He finished 4-11 with Denver.

Prior to joining Denver, Hackett was offensive coordinater in Green Bay. He led an aging Aaron Rodgers to back to back MVP seasons and a 13-win season. This season, without Hackett, Rodgers’ production fell off. ARod’s touchdown passes dropped from 37 to 26 and his interceptions increased from 4 to 12. His quarterback rating fell from 121.5 and 111.9 the past two seasons down to 91.1 in 2022.

Nathaniel Hackett
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 25: Denver Broncos Head coach Nathaniel Hackett loses 51 to 14 on December 25, 2022 in Inglewood, Colorado. The Los Angeles Rams take on the Denver Broncos during a Christmas Day game at SoFi Stadium. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Hackett was the target of many jokes over the course of the season, mainly because of everyone’s high expectations for the 2022 Broncos following a “all-in” trade for Seahawks franchise quarterback Russell Wilson. Instead? the Broncos ranked last in points per game under Hackett and Wilson. The blame for the struggle on offense has divided Denver fans, was it a washed Russell Wilson to blame? Or was it simply Hackett’s offense?

If the Jets end up hiring Hackett to save Zach Wilson’s career, they’ll probably hope for quick positive results because hiring Hackett will be a tough one to explain to fans that watched his Denver offense struggle time after time during the 2022 season, and the New York media will be relentless.

Aaron Rodgers To New York

One other factor that the Jets might be looking to benefit from hiring Hackett is luring one of the NFL iconic players, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers recently said he believes he can win another MVP, on “the right team” and the Jets loaded roster is certainly a team that would fit that billing. The success of the Rodgers/Hackett duo was already mentioned, they have won back to back MVPs working together.

When the Broncos initially hired Nathaniel Hackett, before the Russell Wilson trade, there was belief that the next step for Denver is trading for Aaron Rodgers because of how much he loves playing under Hackett. That ultimately didn’t materialized but it doesn’t rule it out from happening on Hackett’s next team. If it does, the next question would be, what will happen to Zac Wilson?

Written by Dov Kleiman

NFL reporter covering the league for 6 years for various outlets but mostly independently. Football guy's guy.

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