Nathaniel Hackett has had a tough few weeks as head coach of the Denver Broncos. His final week with the Inexperienced Bay Packers was no picnic, both.
Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers have already confronted Nathaniel Hackett, and on a a lot larger stage than the Sunday Evening Soccer setting they’re about to share.
On a chilly January night earlier this 12 months, the Niners gained as a result of they shut Hackett’s unit down.
In final season’s NFC Divisional playoff game between San Francisco and the Inexperienced Bay Packers at Lambeau Area, the house group entered as a heavy favourite. The 49ers have been beat up, the Packers have been well-rested because the convention’s high seed, and the climate was frigid with snow.
Then the sport began, and it led to a shocking 13-10 win for San Francisco.
That night, Hackett was the Inexperienced Bay offensive coordinator. His offense totaled solely 263 yards, with one reception by working again Aaron Jones accounting for 75 yards. Take out the scripted 69-yard landing drive to start out the sport, and Hackett’s group amassed 119 yards on the remaining 51 performs of the evening.
Whereas Hackett wasn’t calling performs — that will be Packers head coach Matt LaFleur — he definitely didn’t assist to create a top quality gameplan or make any changes all through the competition. Aaron Rodgers threw 29 instances within the defeat, and famously focused both Jones or All-Professional receiver Davante Adams on 21 events.
Quick ahead to now, and the Niners protection is basically the identical, with the addition of nook Charvarius Ward. But Hackett’s offense is now. close to as gifted as that Inexperienced Bay unit.
Up to now, Hackett’s Denver Broncos solely have seven extra factors (32) than group penalties (25), splitting affairs with the lowly Seattle Seahawks and Houston Texans. This weekend, Shanahan and his 49ers come to Denver, with veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo underneath heart and the return of former All-Professional tight finish George Kittle doubtless.
To beat the Niners, Hackett’s offense — for which he does name the performs — must get proper. Final week in opposition to Houston, the newly-acquired Russell Wilson accomplished lower than half of his makes an attempt in a hideous 16-9 victory. That gained’t work in opposition to a San Francisco protection that employs edge rusher Nick Bosa, in addition to linebackers Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw within the entrance seven, to create chaos in opposition to the Broncos’ line.
Hackett desperately must create a brand new plan, one centered on attacking the weak spot of the 49ers’ protection — their corners. Whereas Ward is sweet, Emmanuel Moseley and Samuel Womack III might be uncovered. The issue? Wilson hasn’t been sharp, and he may very well be with out receiver Jerry Jeudy this week as he works again from a shoulder harm.
If Denver isn’t going to win on the perimeter in opposition to San Francisco, then the group isn’t going to win. The Broncos have run the ball effectively this season behind the tandem of Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon III, speeding for 4.9 yards per carry. However in opposition to San Francisco’s stout entrance, Denver wants Wilson to loosen the protection with a number of intermediate-to-deep throws.
The excellent news for Denver? Wilson has loved success in opposition to the Niners, profitable twice in opposition to defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans’ unit in 2021. Nonetheless, the numbers have been mediocre, with Wilson aver.ng 6.33 YPA with 4 touchdowns in opposition to one interception.
Finally, this comes again to Hackett. Final week, Broncos followers have been lustily booing their group as a consequence of 13 penalties and three blown second-half timeouts earlier than the fourth quarter was midway over. Of these infractions, Denver was referred to as for 2 delay of sport infractions. One got here on the Houston 1-yard line on fourth down, and one other on Houston’s 36-yard line to show an extended discipline purpose try right into a punt. These led to Broncos followers counting down the play clock.
If Denver doesn’t have a sensible offensive plan, and a team-wide self-discipline to accompany it, the Niners will roll.
After all, San Francisco has expertise with Hackett, and for the 49ers, it’s been a constructive one.
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