The New York Jets hired former Denver Broncos Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett on Thursday, January 26, 2023, after completing their two-week search for an offensive coordinator — a move that has only furthered the speculation that Aaron Rodgers could potentially be traded.
Coach Robert Saleh noted that Hackett’s hiring was a “home run” for the Jets, and said that the addition of Rodgers would make it a grand slam. Hackett and Rodgers have a positive rapport, as Hackett was the offensive coordinator for the Green Bay Packers between 2019 and 2021.
The Jets appear to be committed to acquiring a veteran quarterback and with Rodgers’ future in Green Bay uncertain, the speculation is inevitable. Despite this, Saleh maintained he did not talk about Rodgers or any other quarterback when he spoke to Hackett and that the search for a veteran QB will begin next week.
Despite this, Saleh chose to bring Hackett for his matchless experience as a coordinator and playcaller; LaFleur became the new hire in 2021 with no play calling experience. Saleh put a lot of effort into this selection and interviewed more than 15 candidates. Hackett will take over the reins of a failing offense that hasn’t scored a touchdown in its last three games.
Hackett was unsuccessful in his short stint as the head coach of the Broncos, as he was let go on December 26 after only one season and a 4-11 record. During his time at the helm, the team’s offense managed to post a miserable 1966-era-low in points per game, with 15.5. His role in quarterback Russell Wilson’s negative progression was heavily scrutinized, and at the end of the season Hackett gave the playcalling responsibilities to quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak.
Prior to his positions with Denver and Green Bay, Hackett served as offensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars (2017-2018) and the Buffalo Bills (2013-2014). In his six seasons as offensive coordinator, his 2017 Jaguars led by Blake Bortles was the only team to have a top-10 offense. Furthermore, he was with four playoff teams, three of which were with the Packers. Going even further back, Hackett has a historical connection to the Jets, as his father Paul was the offensive coordinator from 2001 to 2004.
Hackett needed a few days to decide whether to accept the Jets’ vacancy; this was mainly due to questions about Zach Wilson’s long-term position and Saleh’s job security. He is Inheriting an offense that is ranked 29th in scoring and 25th total yards. During the 2022 season, the Jets managed to gain only four touchdowns across their last six games – all ending in defeat, thus causing LaFleur’s exit. Saleh voiced his intention to modernize the offensive line, as well as bring in an experienced quarterback to replace Wilson who was selected second overall in 2021 NFL Draft.
The Jets also recently brought on former Tennessee Titans offensive line coach Keith Carter, whose title will be line coach/running game coordinator, in the wake of John Benton’s firing. Saleh declared that they will dedicate this off-season to identifying a veteran at QB and work with Hackett of filling out the rest of the coaching staff.