Kiz: Vance Joseph. Vic Fangio. Nathaniel Hackett. The Broncos seem to have a thing for hiring first-time head coaches that learn game management skills on the job, at the expense of fan heartbreak. I’m going to ignore the lunacy of Hackett taking the football out of quarterback Russell Wilson’s hands to try a 64-yard field goal on fourth-and-5 at the Seattle 46-yard line late in the fourth quarter. I want to know: Why let 41 seconds run off the clock before calling a timeout to attempt the kick?
O’Halloran: You can hire all the game management experts and talk about every possible scenario, but when the lights are turned on, how do you respond? Hackett had a forgettable all-around game, from getting the plays late into the huddle, to using shotgun on two plays from the Seattle 1-yard line to the aforementioned 41 seconds that he let expire. As I type this, Hackett has not met with the media on Tuesday afternoon so I can only speculate. He believed it when Brandon McManus said 64 yards was in his range. It’s as if as soon as Javonte Williams was stopped at the 1:01 or 1:00 mark, Hackett made the instant decision to lean on McManus’ leg instead of Wilson’s right arm and, thus, didn’t want to give the Seahawks much time to rally. And by the way, ‘horrendous’ isn’t too strong of a word.
Kiz: One blown victory on a bad coaching decision might not be the difference between the Broncos making the playoffs and being left out in the January cold. But botch two games with poor clock management and I’d almost guarantee you Denver will miss the Super Bowl tournament for the seventh year in a row. What disturbed me almost as much as Hackett’s poor judgment in the heat of the moment was his nonsensical explanation for the decision during the postgame news conference. Does this excitable coach need to take a chill pill?
O’Halloran: Whew, the postgame news conference was uneven, all over the place and did nothing to settle down some of the angst about Hackett’s decisions. Yes, he needs to take one chill pill before meeting with the media after a game like that. But to your point, if the Seattle game is an outlier for Year 1, then the Broncos should be OK if they take care of the games they are expected to win. If this is a pattern, then the Broncos have a major problem.
Kiz: One of the oldest and wisest pieces of advice in sports is: Don’t lose the same game twice. Hackett is inexperienced on the sideline. And it showed in Seattle in ways beyond clock management. So I want to know: If you’re Broncos general manager George Paton, what do you say to Hackett behind closed doors to ensure a debacle like the 17-16 loss to the Seahawks doesn’t become a nasty habit for Denver?
O’Halloran: If Hackett was the toughest on himself Tuesday morning, then Paton needs to pat him on the back and say, “Despite all the issues, we still should have won the game.” If Hackett is in denial about his decisions and how his team committed 12 penalties and two goal-line turnovers, then Paton needs to deliver some tough talk about the coaches also needing to be better.