Packers: What does the loss of Nathaniel Hackett mean for Green Bay?

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Denver Broncos are finalizing a deal to hire Green Bay Packers‘ offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett to be the team’s next head coach.

Former head coach Vic Fangio finished his three-year stint with a record of 19-30, never able to amass a winning season with the Broncos.

While a change at the head coaching position was imminent for the Broncos considering their lack of success in recent years, the timing of Hackett’s hiring will raise many eyebrows across the league.

The sweepstakes for Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers may begin this offseason, and the Broncos are expected to be a key player. Hackett, a close friend of Rodgers, could help lure the star quarterback to Denver.

Most Packer fans will be so worried that losing Hackett might lead to losing Rodgers that they’ll overlook that fact that losing Hackett is a pretty big hit to the team by itself.

Hackett has been excellent as the team’s offensive coordinator. According to Sports Illustrated, since the Packers hired Hackett, they’ve scored the second-most touchdowns (160) while turning the ball over less than any other team (37). Head coach Matt LaFleur will get much of the credit for the team’s success, but Hackett has played a key role in the Packers’ offensive turnaround.

Both LaFleur and Rodgers have raved about Hackett’s coaching ability. According to According to Packers.com, LaFleur called Hackett the team’s “glue guy.” He went on to say:

“He’s one of the most organized guys, people, I’ve ever been around. He can do the job of about four people. He is a machine that can just knock out work. He’s so intelligent, knows everything that’s going on, whether it’s in the O-line room, quarterback room, tight ends, running backs, doesn’t matter.”

Rodgers offered an even more sparkling review of the offensive coordinator.

“There’s nobody in the building that brings me more joy or is more fun to be around than Nathaniel Hackett,” Rodgers said. “He’s become such a close confidant and friend besides a fantastic coach. I really, really can’t express enough how important he is to our team in so many ways.”

Replacing Hackett won’t be easy for LaFleur and GM Brian Gutekunst. However, it’s likely that the Packers anticipated Hackett leaving to take a head coaching job, and have been grooming a replacement within their system.

One possibility is quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Luke Getsy, who’s been a coach for the Packers since 2014. I’d be surprised to see the Packers hire externally, given how successful their offense has been in recent years.

Losing Hackett is a tough blow for Green Bay, but he’s earned this opportunity. I wish him the best of luck in Denver, and hope that he can establish himself as one of the top coaches in the NFL.