The Broncos won today, but it’s not going well in Denver.
The team under first-year coach Nathaniel Hackett has already developed a bad habit of not getting plays called and snapped quickly enough. It culminated in Sunday with an unusual — and potentially unprecedented — effort by the fans of the home team to chant a countdown of the play clock, in order to ensure that the Broncos are aware of the remaining time to get the play started.
It’s an old basketball tactic, where fans count down the shot clock to help players who may not be in position to look up and see it. The difference here, of course, is that there’s no reason for quarterback Russell Wilson to not see it. He’s looking right at it. And he has some experience with the task of, you know, starting plays.
The fact that the fans feel compelled to help underscores the struggles with the basic task of picking a play and communicating it to Wilson. Hackett is possibly still adjusting to not being in the relative calm of the booth, and to the realities of actually selecting plays — something he didn’t do while working for Matt LaFleur in Green Bay.
Whatever the reason, it’s an embarrassment for the Broncos. And it’s another reason why new ownership could be inclined to take a hard look at whether a coach they didn’t hire is the right person to lead the team beyond 2022.
Yes, the Broncos won. But they’ll have a hard time stringing wins together unless they iron out basic problems that few other NFL teams ever experience.