Will Nathaniel Hackett Help Blake Bortles Progress?


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Nathaniel Hackett was recently brought in to be the quarterbacks coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Hackett comes to the Jags after being the offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills the last two seasons under new Jaguars offensive line/assistant head coach Doug Marrone. With Marrone gone, Hackett’s job was up in the air and he was forced out of Buffalo with the arrival of head coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

He’ll be joining Marrone and new offensive coordinator Greg Olson with the Jaguars.

Hackett’s job may be the toughest, though. He’ll have to work hard to turn an historically bad season for rookie QB Blake Bortles into a distant memory.

So, what about Hackett makes him a good fit as the quarterbacks coach?

Honestly, this one has me scratching my head a little bit.

Hackett worked as OC for the Bills, trying to turn first round bust EJ Manuel into a quality quarterback. That experiment has largely failed and it wouldn’t be shocking to see Manuel gone from Buffalo now that Rex Ryan is calling the shots.

Before that he had the privilege of working at Syracuse University under Marrone as well. He was there from 2010-2012, spending his first year working with quarterbacks and tight ends and ending his time with two years as offensive coordinator. His quarterback, Ryan Nassib, went on to become a fourth round pick for the New York Giants in 2013. He has had little time on the field to show what he learned in college, but he was considered a solid quarterback for the draft year.

Before his time at Syracuse, Hackett was again with the Buffalo Bills and Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an offensive quality control role for two years each with both teams.

Overall, none of this is inspiring confidence in the Jags’ selection for quarterbacks coach. Nassib, Manuel, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Trent Edwards, JP Losman, Luke McCown, Jeff Garcia, Chris Simms, and Bruce Gradkowski have all been quarterbacks Hackett has been connected to in a professional capacity. Garcia – who was already well into his career – is easily the best of the bunch, followed by the streaky Fitzpatrick. The others were all young quarterbacks who never saw any major success.

This hire seems more as the result of a connection with Marrone than a purely football decision.

That said, Hackett does bring a lot of experience on the offensive side of the ball with him. The list of QBs he’s worked with seems more like a list of poor general manager selections than anything else. So, is Bortles the best talent he’s worked with? Is he a blank slate that Hackett can mold into the ideal quarterback?

That remains to be seen.

But based on Hackett’s past, I’m not so sure that he’s the guy to get Bortles over the hump. I can only hope that the past has mostly been a fluke.