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Hot Topics: HC Nathaniel Hackett knows Broncos are a 'better football team' than they showed vs. Panthers

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — As Denver looks to reset from its largest loss of the season, Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett said the Broncos are better than what they showed in their performance on Sunday.

The Broncos fell 23-10 to the struggling Panthers, and Hackett said the Broncos must improve at all levels as they turn toward a road game against the Ravens.

"We need to continue to look at ourselves individually," Hackett said Monday. "It starts with me, the coaches, the players to see how we can improve. It's not just one guy; it's everybody. Everybody's got to get better. Everybody's got to play better. We're obviously not happy with what the outcome was yesterday. We can play better, and we're a better football team than that. We've got to continually get better across the board."

Hackett said he understands the fans' frustration, which has continued to build as the Broncos dropped to 3-8 on the season.

"Nobody's as frustrated as I am," Hackett said. "This is not where we wanted to be at this time in the season. None of us thought it would be like that, and that responsibility is fully on me. I want to be the one that can do everything to help this football team. Because we, as a group, have to come together and find a way to win a football game. We can't play the way that we played yesterday and expect to win a football game. It starts with me from the practice preparation [and] everything that we do. I'm the most frustrated.

"I think our fans our great. They want to win, just like we all do. I don't blame them for being frustrated. For me, all know is to work, put my head down with our staff — I believe in this staff, believe in these players — and we've got to get better plays, better execution across the board."


A week after starting fast in the Broncos' home loss to the Raiders, quarterback Russell Wilson and the offense struggled for much of Sunday's defeat in Charlotte. The Broncos had negative net passing yardage until the late stages of the first half, and Denver's offense allowed three sacks and lost a fumble in the game.

Wilson finished the game 19-of-35 for 142 yards, one touchdown and a 73.7 quarterback rating.

"There is some semblance of newness with this whole group," Hackett said of Wilson, "and we've had a lot of changes throughout the offense with different people that have been out there playing with him, and we need to get him the confidence back to be able to make the plays that he can make, but he's out there and he's fighting every single play. I give him so much credit. He's taken a bunch of hits, and it's because he's trying to do everything he can to make a play. So I appreciate that on how he's doing that, and everybody's got to play better around him."

Hackett said the protection issues — Wilson has now been sacked 12 times in the last three weeks — cannot be pinned on one player.

"It's a combination of a lot of things," Hackett said. "It's not just one [person]. It's all 11 guys, it's the coaches. We need to get better plays where people are open faster for him. At the same time, we need to be better in pass protection, we need to be better route-runners. We all just need to be better across the board."

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