The last few years have been turbulent for Nathaniel Hackett. Now after a rough first stint as an NFL head coach, he’s back with another team as offensive coordinator, the position he held in Green Bay from 2019 through 2021.
The New York Jets have reportedly hired Hackett on to become their new offensive coordinator, filling the vacancy created by the team’s firing of Mike LaFleur. Of course, LaFleur is the brother of Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur, who hired Hackett in 2019 as the offensive coordinator on his initial staff. Hackett’s tenure in Green Bay saw the team win 13 games each season and the offense finish in the top ten in points and yards twice each, with quarterback Aaron Rodgers earning NFL MVP honors in both 2020 and 2021.
Hackett departed Green Bay last offseason, taking over as the head coach of the Denver Broncos. According to media reports, that franchise was interested in acquiring Rodgers last season, but after he elected to return to Green Bay, the Broncos traded for former Seahawks QB Russell Wilson instead. The Hackett-Wilson pairing was anything but successful, however, with Hackett being fired after 15 games and a 4-11 record while the Broncos finished out the season last in the NFL in points scored.
Now Hackett will have an opportunity to lead a Jets offense with numerous playmakers but major question marks at quarterback, at least at this point of the offseason. Each of Zach Wilson, Joe Flacco, and Mike White started four games or more at quarterback, with Chris Streveler starting one. However, they had a few standout players on the offense, including rookie running back Breece Hall and Offensive Rookie of the Year finalist and 1,000-yard receiver Garrett Wilson.
Hackett’s arrival in New York comes amid speculation that the Packers are open to trading Rodgers this offseason, and the Jets are among the more intriguing potential destinations. Rodgers has also spoken in glowing terms about Hackett in the past, with those comments driving much of the discussion around a potential reunion between the two. As an example, take a look at this exchange from a Zoom press conference during the 2020 season:
Aaron Rodgers in November 2020 on Nathaniel Hackett, now the Jets OC:— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) January 26, 2023
“I love him. Hope he doesn’t go anywhere — unless I do.” pic.twitter.com/oCDhvorQi5
With Hackett now working for the Jets under head coach Robert Saleh (a good friend of Matt LaFleur in particular), speculation about a possible Rodgers trade to the Big Apple should only continue to increase. But at the very least, the Jets now have a man who has led high-quality offenses with multiple teams as a coordinator, who is familiar with the general scheme that his predecessor ran, and who surely got a positive recommendation from his former boss in Green Bay.