Thursday Thoughts: Nathaniel Hackett

The Packers will play their first and only cold-weather game of the regular season on Sunday night against Minnesota (talk about wasting temperatures in the single digits on the wrong opponent). Hopefully, Mother Nature will step up again in January when Arizona, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and/or Tampa Bay could be paying a visit to Lambeau. Anyway, here are a few more Packers-related thoughts that ran through my mind recently:

1) Nathaniel Hackett is getting a lot of attention as the next coaching carousel gets ready to spin. Green Bay’s 42-year-old offensive coordinator is already one of at least eight candidates expected to speak with Jacksonville about replacing Urban Meyer. Hackett has ties to the organization. He was on Doug Marrone’s staff from 2015 to 2018 and called plays for the 2017 team that went to the AFC title game with Blake Bortles at quarterback. And while that accomplishment should get Hackett a statue outside of TIAA Bank Field, it probably won’t get him the head coaching job. Fair or not, it’s difficult to see owner Shahid Khan hiring a former employee he fired just over three years ago. More likely destinations for Hackett, if they become available, would be Denver, Las Vegas, Chicago, and Seattle.

2) The team with the best record in the league had fewer players named to the Pro Bowl than the 7-8 Cleveland Browns and the 8-7 San Francisco 49ers. That inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell wasn’t even selected as an alternate is an indictment of the process, but it’s also an acknowledgment that Aaron Rodgers is the league’s MVP, and Matt LaFleur should finish no lower than second when it comes to Coach of the Year. While more than three players are having Pro Bowl-caliber seasons for the Packers, there’s no question this isn’t a team loaded with premier talent – at least on the active roster. To be 12-3 without injured stars David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Robert Tonyan, Za’Darius Smith, and Jaire Alexander feels almost like sleight of hand – with Rodgers and LaFleur performing the magic.

3) As big a mess as special teams have been this season, general manager Brian Gutekunst could make things a lot better by simply adding two players to the roster – an experienced returner and a kickoff specialist. The former would get jittery rookie Amari Rodgers off the field and lower the anxiety level on returns. The latter would alleviate the need to worry about covering kicks. And since the field goal operation seems to be getting better finally, and aside from the Bears’ game, punt coverage hasn’t been much of an issue, the Packers might actually go into January without having to worry too much about special teams. Will this happen? Probably not. Aside from the kicker, punter, and long snapper, Gutekunst doesn’t believe in giving spots on the 53-man roster to players who can’t contribute on offense or defense. And to be fair, how would the Packers ever survive without strong safety Vernon Scott and inside linebacker Isaiah McDuffie?

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Michael Rodney

Packers Notes is the creation of Michael Rodney, who has been writing about the Green Bay Packers for over 30 years. His first blog, Packer Update, hit the internet in 2004. Before becoming a public educator, Rodney worked as a journalist for a couple of newspapers in his home state of New Jersey and covered the Philadelphia Eagles for WTXF-TV. He's had numerous articles on the Packers published, and he's been featured on both television and radio over the years.

2 thoughts on “Thursday Thoughts: Nathaniel Hackett

  1. Hackett should have gotten the job in Atlanta last year. Best case scenario for Nathaniel Hackett would be Denver. The Broncos trade for Rodgers and sign Davante Adams. Denver then becomes Green Bay of the AFC. Always good enough to get to the playoffs but never quite good enough to win it all. There are no Chicago Bears or Detroit Lions to own in the AFC West. Aaron Rodgers will be just another good QB in a loaded division with Mahomes, Herbert, and Carr.

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