ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Nathaniel Hackett’s honeymoon period with the Broncos ended shortly after Denver’s season began. A controversial decision at the end of Week 1 was followed by many more questionable decisions in Week 2.

Just two games into Hackett’s tenure, is there already a reason to be worried?

The DNVR Broncos Crew debates.

All odds below are courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

What is your worry meter at for Nathaniel Hackett on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the lowest?

Zac: Five — League-leading 25 penalties. Double the number of delay of game penalties they had all of last season. Multiple game-management errors in each game. Zero-for-six in the red zone. The crowd counting down the play clock. And one very, very questionable decision—to put it lightly—to kick a 64-yard field goal instead of give the ball to Russell Wilson in the final seconds in Week 1.

It’s been a very rough start to Hackett’s coaching career in Denver. But it’s only been two games. There’s still plenty of time for Hackett to improve. And he’ll need to in order for the worry meter to not crank all the way up to 10 in just a few weeks.

Hackett will need to do what his predecessor didn’t do—evolve and change. Being a head coach is very different than a coordinator and Hackett is learning that the hard way quickly. On Monday, he said he was re-evaluating the game-day operations to help his game-management and in-game decision making. For him to be successful, it’s clear some sort of change is needed.

As an offensive play caller, Hackett’s proven he can move the ball. But he’ll need to improve on the other aspects of being a head coach. The good news is he has plenty of time to adjust. But it would be naive to say there’s no level of concern.

RK: Three — It’s just too early for me to be worried.

We knew, and talked about it endlessly on the podcast, that there would be growing pains when the Broncos brought in a staff full of coaches with little to no experience in their roles, including the head coach and both coordinators. Well, the growing pains reared their ugly head immediately, but the thing about growing pains is that they end in growth.

In my opinion, we have to give this staff a chance to work out the kinks and the biggest reason my worry meter is low is the fact that they have shown a willingness and a sense of urgency to make changes that smooth things out.

If things go awry this week, I’ll be more worried but I think the Week 1 blunder being on national TV, resulting in all sorts of national tomfoolery, has blown everything out of proportion.

Hank: Six — How could you not be worried?

Nathaniel Hackett’s boneheaded decision to kick a 64-yard field goal instead of trying to convert a 4th & 5 in the dying moments of the season-opening game against the Seahawks set the tone. National media jumped on board and Hackett has now taken as much heat as any rookie head coach through two games. How many coaches have been booed in their first-ever home game?

It wouldn’t be hard for those fans to justify themselves either… the league-leading penalty numbers… the misuse of timeouts… the longest streak of goal-to-go opportunities without a touchdown in 30 years… the mishap in Seattle, of course.

Every rookie makes mistakes, coaches included. It’s part of the process. But the sheer volume of mistakes is pretty impressive.

Is it time to press the panic button? No. But we could be within a few weeks if nothing changes.

If I had to guess, I’d say that three years from now we’ll look back on September of 2022 and laugh. Maybe I’ll be less confident in that feeling after Sunday.

Picks Picks Picks

Russell Wilson passing yards over/under 232.5

Zac: Over.

RK: Over.

Hank: Over. That’s a low number.

Jimmy Garoppolo passing yards over/under 234.5

Zac: Under.

RK: Under.

Hank: Under.

Russell Wilson passing touchdowns over/under 1.5

Zac: Over.

RK: Over. I say three.

Hank: Over.

Javonte Williams rushing yards over/under 49.5

Zac: Over.

RK: Under. I fear running will be tough this week.

Hank: Over.

Melvin Gordon rushing yards over/under 38.5

Zac: Over.

RK: Under.

Hank: Over.

Deebo Samuel rushing yards over/under 31.5

Zac: Over.

RK: Over.

Hank: Under.

Deebo Samuel receiving yards over/under 56.5

Zac: Under.

RK: Under.

Hank: Over.

Brandon McManus total points over/under 6.5 points

Zac: Over.

RK: Under.

Hank: Over. The red-zone troubles won’t totally evaporate.

Broncos-49ers over/under 43.5 points

Zac: Under. Slightly.

RK: Under.

Hank: Over. We’re finally getting real football this week.

49ers (-1.5) @ Broncos

Zac: 49ers. 😕

RK: Broncos, 21-20.

Hank: 49ers. Sorry.

Chiefs (-5.5) @ Colts

Zac: Chiefs.

RK: Chiefs. Even though this feels like a trap.

Hank: Chiefs.

Jaguars @ Chargers (-3.5)

Zac: Chargers.

RK: Chargers. Too much talent comparatively.

Hank: Chargers. I’ll be back on the T-Law hype train next week though.

Raiders (-2) @ Titans

Zac: Raiders.

RK: Titans.

Hank: Raiders.


Last week

Zac: 8-4

RK: 6-6

Hank: 2-10


Zac: 14-8

RK: 11-11

Hank: 6-16


Zac Stevens was born and raised in Denver, went to the University of Denver and now covers the Denver Broncos. After graduating Summa Cum Laude from DU in 2014, Zac worked for the Cleveland Browns as a remote scout. He then jumped straight into the journalism industry at the beginning of 2016 covering the reigning world-champion Broncos and joined DNVR soon after. Catch him on Twitter @ZacStevensDNVR and daily on the DNVR Broncos podcast as the co-host.