One of the more curious subplots of the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers feud is how the McCaskeys haven’t once considered stealing a top coach or executive from their arch-rivals. Considering the Packers have owned the Bears for almost 30 years now, one would think this would be an obvious idea to consider. Yet since the last five opportunities they’ve had to hire a new coach, they’ve never even interviewed one from Green Bay. That may finally change in the next week or two with Nathaniel Hackett.
Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports is among the best insiders in the NFL. He appeared on The Ringer NFL Show with Kevin Clark to discuss the upcoming coaching carousel. Like most others, he believes Matt Nagy will be fired following the season finale in Minnesota. Where it got interesting was when Clark asked Robinson which coach out there might end up being the guy for Chicago.
His answer was an eye-opener.
“You know I think Nathaniel Hackett in Green Bay is sort of an under-the-radar name. He has a ton of experience. He’s not nearly as old. He’s been around long enough (but) he’s 42. This guy was getting coordinator experience in his mid-30s. The thing that I think is intriguing about him is Aaron Rodgers really, really likes him. He’s a big believer in Nathaniel Hackett.
And Rodgers, you know how it is, he’s not the easiest player to manage or listen to. I mean he brings a lot to the table, he brings a lot of expectations, he does augment the offense, and it has been a two-way street though with Hackett. I think the consistency that he’s brought there with the work with Aaron, the fact that Aaron buys into him, is a pretty big deal. So he is a name that maybe I did not expect when you start making these calls starts to come up a little more consistently.”
Hackett first emerged on the NFL scene back in 2013 as the offensive coordinator in Buffalo. After a difficult 6-10 season, he played a big part in the Bills going 9-7 in 2014. Their first winning season in 10 years. Kyle Orton was the starting quarterback, went 7-5, and finished with a career-high 87.8 passer rating. Hackett was soon picked up by Jacksonville a year later as their new quarterbacks coach.
Blake Bortles threw for 4,428 yards and 35 touchdowns that season. The next year Hackett took over as offensive coordinator. After finishing 23rd in total offense in 2016, the Jaguars jumped all the way to 6th in 2017. This was a big reason why they reached the AFC championship. Sadly things fell apart after that. Green Bay was quick to pounce, making him their offensive coordinator in 2019.
Nathaniel Hackett gets results everywhere he goes
Robinson mentioned Aaron Rodgers loves him and it’s not hard to see why. Over the previous three seasons, the future Hall of Famer has thrown for over 12,000 yards with 109 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Good for a 108.9 passer rating. That is arguably the best three-year stretch of his entire career, which is saying something. Rodgers was 36, 37, and 38 years of age too. No small feat.
This is another sign that Nathaniel Hackett checks two major boxes of a coach. He can connect with all sorts of different players and is able to get the best out of them. Reports from Green Bay indicate somebody that is charismatic but also detailed. His ability to teach is one of his core strengths. Many feel that was the biggest failing of Nagy. For all his motivational skills, he was never able to craft a clear identity for his team.
Hackett wouldn’t have that issue.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are already planning to interview him next week. They have a good idea of what he brings to the table. Depending on what happens with their GM situation, the Bears would be wise to get him in for a meeting as soon as possible. He sounds like exactly the sort of coach they’re looking for. A leader of men who also doubles as a capable teacher.