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Hot Topics: HC Nathaniel Hackett, Broncos working on strengthening game-management process with eye on improving communication


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — After multiple game-management miscues in the Broncos' Week 2 win over the Texans, Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett said he and the Broncos' staff are working to strengthen the process to improve their communication.

In the Broncos' 16-9 victory, the team was whistled for a pair of delay-of-game penalties and was forced to burn second-half timeouts to avoid additional penalties. The play clock also nearly expired on several snaps that the Broncos were able to get off in time.

"When it comes to the operation, that's something we're talking about quite a bit," Hackett said Monday. "There's a lot of things. We've got to make sure the communication is clear and concise. I need to do better at making decisions faster and quicker and getting that information to the quarterback and being on the same page with him. That's stuff that we're talking about this morning all the way to this evening and making sure it's got to improve."

Denver's first delay of game came as the Broncos faced a fourth-and-goal from the Houston 1-yard line just before halftime. In the third quarter, Denver faced a fourth-and-2 from the Houston 36-yard line. In that instance, the Broncos sent the field-goal team out on the field, but the play clock ran out and the ensuing penalty pushed Denver out of field-goal range.

Hackett said Monday he considered keeping his offense on the field for both fourth downs, but he noted that he needed to make a more rapid decision.

"I was considering in both those situations, and that's where I just need to be better at communicating with everybody, getting the proper information and making the right decisions," Hackett said.

As the Broncos aim to improve that process, Hackett said he will evaluate both the number of people involved in the game-management process and how — and when — he gets his information during the game.

"Yeah, I think it's [the number of people], and I think I just need to be ahead of it a little bit more, because when you're calling plays you want to naturally get the next play going," Hackett said. "I think just getting that information a little bit earlier, those are the things that we're just talking through and going through to make sure that I just have all the right information. The most important thing is just being on the same page with Russell [Wilson] also. Letting him know, 'Hey, we might have four downs here.' I think I could do a better job in making him aware of that."

Hackett said the Broncos would not add any additional members to their staff and said he's "very confident" in the group.

"I think everything's always open in the air, but for us, everybody's good," Hackett said. "We just have to work things out together. We have to communicate better. It starts with me and then getting the proper information that I need. I get excited — I'm a little aggressive at times. And then sometimes that might not be the right decision. So I just need to be sure that all the right information gets given to me at the right time so we can make the decision for those. That's just got to be better."

The Broncos' head coach also noted he would not relinquish play-calling duties or game-management responsibilities.

"I'll continue the play calling," Hackett said. "I think that's been pretty efficient up to this point. We've done a good job moving the ball. We've had a good plan from that standpoint. We've just got to finish those drives. I think from the game management standpoint, I think we've just got to tighten that whole thing up. A lot of us, we're all working together for the first time, so we just want to make sure we're more efficient in that and have the ability to make better decisions and quicker decisions."

As the Broncos approach Week 3 at 1-1, Hackett said he's confident with some improvement to the process, Denver can quickly clean up its mistakes.

"Without a doubt," Hackett said. "It's about organization and communication. In those moments, it happens so fast. I think that the process of what we do and every single thing we do is a process, up to getting to game day, during game day. Everything is [about] process, process, process. We just need to tighten that process up so we can make better decisions faster."


The Broncos reached the red zone on two occasions during Sunday's game, but they were unable to punch the ball in for touchdowns.

In six goal-to-go plays, Denver threw five passes and ran the ball just once. The Broncos have yet to score a red-zone touchdown this season.

"First and foremost, we've got to make sure we have the best plays called," Hackett said of improving inside the 20-yard line. "That always starts with me. I want to make sure we have the best things and we've got to make sure we're giving the ball to our playmakers, whether it's a Courtland [Sutton], Javonte [Williams], Melvin [Gordon III] — any of those guys. I just want to make sure that we're continually getting the right schemes for down there and then executing it properly."

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