How much does Denver have to pay Sean Payton to replace Nathaniel Hackett as coach?


This mean-and-ornery Broncos defense would be a terrible thing for coach Nathaniel Hackett to waste. With all their billions in the bank, could the crazy-rich Waltons please lure Sean Payton to the Darkside?

After only five games as the coach in Denver, Hackett is on the hot seat after a 12-9 overtime loss Thursday night to a bad Indianapolis team. The Colts won a game without a touchdown, on a 48-yard field goal by Chase McLaughlin.

We know horrendous coaching in Broncos Country. And Hackett is bringing back all those bad vibes of Vance Joseph and Vic Fangio we can’t erase. Despite a defense living up to its nickname of the Darkside, the Broncos are stuck with a 2-3 record.

Rob Walton and his family didn’t pay a record $4.65 billion for the Broncos to be embarrassed in prime time by a coach that seems incapable of doing anything well except dispense hugs in the locker room after a defeat.

Call Payton out of retirement. He made Drew Brees and the Saints a playoff contender in New Orleans forever. His price tag? Maybe $10 million per year. That’s chump change to the Waltons.

Somebody needs to invent a drinking game for the rare times when the Broncos stumble into the red zone. Otherwise, this offense is nearly unwatchable inside the 20-yard line.

The loss ended in inexplicable fashion, with Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson throwing an incomplete pass on a slow-developing route by Courtland Sutton in the end zone on 4th-and-inches from the five-yard line.

When a QB sneak was in order, the Broncos came out in shotgun. Overthinking, Hackett shot himself in the foot.

When Hackett designs a game plan where is the nuance or creativity? Too often it appears the only plan if Wilson doesn’t chuck the ball deep is 1-2-3 kick.

What happened in the waning moments of the fourth quarter, with the Broncos clinging to a 9-6 lead, was such a display of incompetence to be considered a fireable offense.

With 2 minutes, 13 seconds showing on the scoreboard clock, Wilson had the Colts right where he wanted them, after Denver had played smashmouth football to perfection, ramming the football into the teeth of the Indy defense with a 10-play drive until it was third down on the 13-yard line, with the football four yards short of the sticks.

Any kid with Madden video game experience would know what to do next: Run the rock into the line. Trot out Broncos kicker Brandon McManus for a field goal from gimme distance for a six-point advantage if you don’t make the first dow. And dare the Colts to drive the length of the field for a TD, without a timeout, a feat that seemed about as likely as 37-year-old Indy quarterback Matt Ryan becoming a Chippendale dancer.


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