The Packers coaching staff has become a revolving door since their season ended back in December. With every face that leaves, a new one comes right in. The newest face added is former Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who is replacing the Packer’s former coordinator Joe Philbin.
Hackett’s biggest successes came during the Jaguars’ 2017 season, where a sloppy fourth quarter against the New England Patriots in the AFC title game cost Jacksonville a franchise-first Super Bowl appearance. Of course, any NFL fan would remember that, but we might not remember how the literal Jacksonville Jaguars even got that far. I’m convinced it was Hackett’s scheme that nearly led the Jaguars to the holy land. Remember, he had to work with quarterback Blake Bortles, a rookie running back in Leonard Fournette and a largely unproven receiving core.
Yet Hackett still managed to come up with one of the most dynamic offenses in the league that season. Sure 2018 was some tough sledding, but Hackett likes to key in on the run game. So when Fournette was out with injury (which was often) Hackett had to rely a lot on Blake Bortles.
And no one wants to rely on Blake Bortles.
Luckily, Hackett gets to draw up plays for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers now. Also, he gets to toy with Green Bay’s two ever-devolving running backs Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. Packers head coach Matt LaFleur detailed how a Hackett scheme can work despite Green Bay’s generally pass heavy attack.
“I think anytime you can take as much off the quarterback as possible that only helps them out in the long run,” LaFleur said Thursday on the radio with ESPN Milwaukee. “Certainly Aaron’s got incredible talent and we’re going to definitely showcase that talent.
“But I just think in your early downs the more you can stay balanced and keep the defense off-balance and keep them guessing whether we’re going to run the ball or pass the ball, I think that it opens up opportunities for big plays down the field and then when you get to the known passing situations, whether it’s a third down or a two-minute drive, then you’ve got to let the guy go play. I’m certainly excited because you’re talking about one of the greatest ever and his talent just speaks for himself.”
It’s easy to see why LaFleur wanted Hackett, as they both desire to bring a run balance to the Packers offense. If this desire can translate to production on the field, then the 2019 Packers could be an entirely different beast.