How Much Will Packers Miss Nathaniel Hackett?

Nathaniel Hackett accepting the head coaching position in Denver caused a ripple effect throughout the Packers coaching staff. Tight ends coach Justin Outten joined Hackett in Denver as his new OC. The Packers promptly promoted rising star Adam Stenavich from offensive line coach and run game coordinator to OC. And while Matt LaFleur has always called the plays, the loss of Hackett is undoubtedly a big one in Green Bay.

LaFleur may have been the one calling the plays on Sundays, but there’s no denying the impact Hackett had with gameplanning during the week. His roots in the West Coast offense as well as experience as a play-caller were imperative. Especially for a first time head coach who had only called plays for a single year in the NFL.

Hackett was also in charge of installing the “gold zone” offense for the week. This was an area the Packers thrived in 2019 and 2020, ranking 2nd and 1st in the league in TD efficiency, respectively. 2020 was a historic rate – with the Packers scoring TDs on 77% of red zone trips. Now, this did regress to roughly 58% in 2021. But nonetheless this was an overall strength throughout Hackett’s tenure.

Conversely, 2022 will be Adam Stenavich’s first year as an offensive coordinator at any level. He was promoted due to his masterful job with the Packers offensive line. He also spent 2021 as the run game coordinator. With the duo of Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, the departure of Davante Adams, and Stenavich’s background – it’s easy to see how different the Packers offense might be.

The Packers under LaFleur have been a heavy RPO team, and that should continue. Stenavich also has the opportunity to diversify the run game. The Packers have predominantly used inside/outside zone as their base run plays. But Stenavich could choose to add more gap scheme, especially with Dillon in the backfield. And with a potential interior of Jon Runyan Jr, Josh Myers, and Sean Rhyan – the Packers have size inside to attack teams downhill instead of trying to stretch the defense horizontally and gash. This also opens up the potential for different play action looks, as well.

Any time a team loses a mind like Hackett’s, it’s tough to replace. But such is life in the NFL, especially for an offense as productive as the Packers. But Green Bay should still feel confident with LaFleur continuing to grow as a play-caller, and rising minds like Stenavich being given new opportunities to shine.

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Jared is a rogue Packers fan from a Steelers family and an overall football junkie, including playing 4 years at Ithaca College. You can follow him on twitter at @JPrugar.

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