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'We know we have to win now': HC Nathaniel Hackett has seen second-year coaches turn tide, but knows Broncos must find immediate success

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Patience is a virtue, even if it's not easy to have at the NFL level.

A year ago, New York's Robert Saleh struggled in his first season as the Jets' head coach. New York started 0-3 — including a 26-0 loss to the Broncos — and finished the season with just four wins.

In Philadelphia, Nick Sirianni faced similar difficulties early in the year. The Eagles started their season 2-5 before rebounding to win seven of their next nine games and earn a playoff appearance. Through six weeks this season, the Eagles are the only undefeated team in the NFL.

As Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett aims to help the Broncos turn their season around, he said he's looked at both of those coaches as examples that show success could arrive soon.

"Without a doubt," Hackett said Thursday. "This game is a complicated game. There's a lot of things that go out there. There's a lot of rhythm, there's a lot of trust that is built over time. Robert's been there … for two years now. Sirianni, everybody. You can see a lot of the defenses, a lot of the offenses coming together as they get more time. I think that's always important."

Hackett also realizes, though, that the Broncos' emphasis must be on the current season and winning in the immediate future.

"That's what we're always striving for, but we know we have to win now," Hackett said. "We're always looking to win every game no matter what the situation is."


With quarterback Russell Wilson's status for Sunday's game against the Jets in question, the Broncos will also work to make sure that reserve quarterback Brett Rypien is ready if he has to play.

Hackett said that depending on which quarterback starts, the Broncos will adjust certain elements of their offense.

"We always want to be sure that we're doing the things that is right for the quarterback that's out there," Hackett said. "We typically put a game plan together and we talk through it, and some guys like other things, some like the same things. We just want to be sure that whoever's out there that we have the best plays for those guys."

Offensive Coordinator Justin Outten said the uncertainty surrounding Wilson's status has led the Broncos to put two different game plans together.

As a decision looms, Rypien said his own preparation for the game will not change.

"I'm just taking the same approach," Rypien said. "It's a little bit up in the air right now, but for me, you go into every week thinking that you might have a shot to play. I'm not really trying to change anything I'm doing, just taking it the same and approach it the same way."

Rypien has made just one career start, and he earned a win in a 2020 "Thursday Night Football" game against the Jets. The Boise State product tossed a pair of touchdowns — and three interceptions — in a 37-28 win.

"They're obviously a much different defense now [with] a lot of different guys," Rypien said. "But obviously that was a very special night for me a couple of years ago, and if I got an opportunity again that would be great."

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