As play-calling head coach, Nathaniel Hackett will lean on Broncos’ staff for support

It was the second question asked of Nathaniel Hackett during his Jan. 28 introductory news conference: Will the Broncos’ new coach also be the Broncos’ new offensive play-caller?

Hackett said he would return to the role for the first time since mid-season 2018, making him the first Broncos coach to call offensive plays since Gary Kubiak in 2016.

Hackett will be one of at least 15 NFL head coaches this year who will double as their team’s offensive play-caller. Included are fellow first-time head coaches Mike McDaniel (Miami) and Kevin O’Connell (Minnesota).

Because of his previous play-calling experience — two years apiece at Syracuse and for Buffalo and Jacksonville — Hackett’s transition should be manageable.

“That will help him, no doubt,” Broncos general manager George Paton said. “He’s had successes to draw upon. He’s very quick-minded and can handle a lot, but he does have a lot of people to help him with game management.”

Last year, Atlanta’s Arthur Smith and Philadelphia’s Nick Siranni were new head coaches who called the plays.

“It’s different for every guy,” said Smith, who had play-calling experience as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator. “You have to know yourself and how involved you’re going to be on game day and find a process that works best for you.”

Siranni, who was also a first-time play-caller, said a key was surrounding himself with veteran coaches.

“There is a lot that goes into calling the game and preparing the team for the week,” he said. “The best thing I had was experienced play-callers on my staff and that helped the transition.”

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