The Jacksonville Jaguars had a highly successful 2022 season but not everything was sunshine and flowers on their way to the playoffs and a division title. They went through several rough stretches and their loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 8 was arguably one of their lowest points. Recent comments made by head coach Sean Payton makes it look even worse than it was.
Payton took over the Broncos earlier this year and had no issue throwing his predecessor, Nathaniel Hackett, under the bus in a recent sitdown with Jarrett Bell of USA TODAY Sports. During the exchange, Payton blamed Hackett, general manager George Paton and the organization for the team's failure and Russell Wilson's underwhelming performance last year.
"There’s so much dirt around that. There’s 20 dirty hands, for what was allowed, tolerated in the fricking training rooms, the meeting rooms. The offense. I don’t know Hackett. A lot of people had dirt on their hands. It wasn’t just Russell. He didn’t just flip. He still has it. This B.S. that he hit a wall? Shoot, they couldn’t get a play in. They were 29th in the league in pre-snap penalties on both sides of the ball."
Wilson had his worst season as a pro, completing just 60.5 percent of his passes for 3,524 yards with 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Meanwhile, Denver went 5-12 and Hackett was fired after 15 games.
As Peyton noted, there were many reasons for the Broncos' subpar 2022 season. That said, he's putting a huge target on Wilson's back. He's putting his quarterback in a position to succeed and if he doesn't deliver, it will show Hackett and his staff weren't the reason for his poor play last year. His whole exchange is worth a look, as he candidly shares his thoughts on the previous coaching staff.
The Jaguars lost to a pretty bad head coach in Nathaniel Hackett in London
The Jaguars' loss to the Broncos in Week 8 was their turning point last year. Trevor Lawrence says a switch flipped after the game and his performance backs up that claim. Although Jacksonville lost to the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions in later weeks, they managed to advance to the playoffs and win the AFC South title.
Going back to the game in London, the Jaguars had several chances to beat the Broncos but they couldn't reach the end zone and lost 21-17. You could argue that the offensive missed several opportunities but the defense also failed to do their job when you take into account that Denver averaged 16 points per game last year.
The fact that Hackett was still at the helm of the Broncos makes the loss sting even more. You know you lost badly if you dropped a game against the worst coach in the league. It's also worth pointing out that the Jags considered hiring Hackett during his search for a new head coach. Ultimately, they chose Doug Pederson but imagine if they had gone with Hackett? They would have hired two of the worst coaches in NFL history.
Hackett is now the offensive coordinator for the New York Jets, while Payton expects the Broncos to be a playoff team from Year 1. On the other hand, the Jaguars have improved considerably since their loss to Denver and are poised to be one of the best teams in the NFL. It's a shame they won't get to face the Broncos to show them how much better they've gotten since their last game.