ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Newly hired Denver Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett continued to fill out his staff on Wednesday, as Green Bay Packers tight ends coach Justin Outten was hired as the team’s offensive coordinator and former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak was hired as the quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator.
The Broncos also hired Butch Barry as offensive line coach. Barry was the assistant offensive line coach with the San Francisco 49ers this season.
Since being formally introduced on Friday as the team’s head coach, Hackett has spent much of his time interviewing candidates for all his staff positions.
Hackett has said he will call plays, but he, Outten and Kubiak will all do the heavy lifting to try to repair one of the league’s most sluggish offenses. The Broncos have not averaged more than 23 points per game since 2014 and haven’t averaged more than 21 points per game since 2015.
And over the past six seasons, the Broncos have averaged fewer than 20 points per game three times, including this past season, when they finished 7-10.
“First and foremost, any offense that you have has to be maneuverable and adjustable for whoever you have on your team,” Hackett said last week. “It’s about finding out what your guys do the best and being able to do that over and over again and taking advantage of their skill sets. … I think the starting point is outside zone. Outside zone on offense is what you want to do, and you want to base that off of play-pass. You want to make the defense cover the entire field. You want to take shots down the field. Let’s all face it: That’s what the people in the stands love — they love those bombs down the field.”
The Broncos still have a major question to answer at quarterback in the coming months as well. Drew Lock is set to enter the last year of his rookie deal, and Teddy Bridgewater is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent.
The Broncos have started 10 different quarterbacks — running back Phillip Lindsay also started behind center in the no-quarterback game in 2020 because of COVID-19 issues — since the midpoint of the 2016 season.
Outten was the Packers’ tight ends coach during Hackett’s three seasons with the team and was with the Atlanta Falcons during Kyle Shanahan’s time as offensive coordinator, so he is well versed in the version of the West Coast offense that Hackett wants to run, which has roots back to former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan.
Kubiak is also seasoned with the scheme, as he previously spent three seasons as a Broncos assistant for his father, Gary, and later Vance Joseph. Kubiak was the Vikings’ offensive coordinator last season after two years as the team’s quarterbacks coach.
“I remember watching [former Broncos quarterback] John Elway throw the ball down the field to [former Broncos wide receiver Ed] McCaffrey on all of those boot fakes. That was unbelievable,” Hackett said. “This is really where this system evolved from and was created. You’re always looking for that, and mixing in that West Coast principle of the dropback game.”