George Paton: The scrutiny Nathaniel Hackett’s faced is unprecedented

At 2-5, the Broncos have performed vastly below their expectations coming into the 2022 season.

If they fall to the Jaguars on Sunday, they’ll be at 2-6 entering their bye. And no one truly knows how new ownership will react, especially when it comes to those in charge of the football operation.

One of those men, General Manager George Paton, spoke to reporters in London on Thursday while the team was practicing. Paton delivered a vote of confidence and a message of patience for head coach Nathaniel Hackett.

“I believe in Nathaniel. I support Nathaniel 100 percent,” Paton said, via video from Troy Renck of Denver7. “He’s been in this seven games as a head coach. The scrutiny he’s faced is unprecedented. We’ve had four primetime games, so he’s kind of had to learn in front of the entire world.

“But I really like how the team — he’s kept the team together. They’re connected. He’s kept our building together. And I appreciate how he’s fought through that.”

The Broncos may have had several standalone games — and will have another on Sunday — but Hackett is far from the only first-time, first-year head coach in 2022.

Brian Daboll is 6-1 with the Giants. Kevin O’Connell is 5-1 with the Vikings. Mike McDaniel is 4-3 with the Dolphins.

And while it’s true that those teams have not played as many primetime games as the Broncos, those coaches also have not had nearly as many in-game gaffes.

Hackett said Wednesday that he’s not feeling any extra pressure. Given his role on the team, Paton should support Hackett. But if the Walton-Penner group is disappointed in Hackett and/or quarterback Russell Wilson, it is likely also disappointed in Paton, as he hired Hackett, traded for Wilson, and signed Wilson to a massive contract extension before the QB ever played a snap for the team.