Falcons: Nathaniel Hackett to interview today for vacant head coach position

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According to Ian Rappaport and Peter Schrager, the Falcons are conducting a virtual interview today with Green Bay’s offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.

Hackett has been crucial to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ success this season. Green Bay’s offense ranks first in total points, fifth in total yards, and first in average points per drive. Rodgers seems to be the favorite for this year’s MVP and has emphasized what a vital role Hackett plays despite coach Matt LaFleur serving as the play-caller. Jason Wilde of the State Journal got a telling quote of just how important Hackett is.

“There’s nobody in the building that brings me more joy or is more fun to be around than Nathaniel Hackett,” Rodgers said, adding, “‘Hack’ has been a really important part of our culture change and a part of our success on offense.”

In early November, I wrote an article titled ‘Green Bay OC Nathaniel Hackett shouldn’t be the Falcons next head coach’ after reports from Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports suggested that the Falcons were interested in him. A quote from that article.

Hackett has benefited from working with offensive guru Matt LaFleur and an MVP-caliber Aaron Rodgers, garnering these head-coaching considerations. Lafleur is the architect and play-caller of the Packer’s offense, and despite how trivial, Hackett has played a role in this highly successful offense. With LaFleur’s hands likely full from all the logistics surrounding the team and the ongoing pandemic, it’s safe to assume Hackett — freed of playcalling duties — is available to coach and work with players more deliberately.

The flourishing Green Bay offense is not a good representation of Hackett’s ability when analyzing his fit with Atlanta. His stint in Jacksonville is a much more accurate reflection of what a Nathaniel Hackett led offense is capable of. With the Jaguars, he designed and called all the plays for the offense.

Whereas in Green Bay, it is a version of Lafleur’s offensive system that combines what Rodgers liked from McCarthy’s offense. Other offenses like Kyle Shanahan’s or Sean McVay’s allow for a lot less freedom for the quarterback at the line of scrimmage. Allowing Rodgers to diagnose defenses and respond accordingly is the brightest spot in this already effective offense.

So Hackett would have the third-highest football IQ in a room with those two. It is not to say he doesn’t add value in a critical way, but just not enough to warrant giving him the reigns to an offense, let alone an entire team.

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