JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - New Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett may be the current regime's last hope when it comes to turning around another sluggish season.
Hackett was promoted from quarterbacks coach on Saturday after offensive coordinator Greg Olson was shown the door. The coaching staff shuffle came two days are the Jaguars were shut out during the first half of a game for the third time this season.
The Jaguars are now 2-5 with an offense that ranks in bottom third of the league. Hackett has been charged with improving the unit and fixing quarterback Blake Bortles.
The results of Hackett's promotion could save head coach Gus Bradley's job or tote the company line of "staying the course" and signal the coaching staff's doom.
It's been a whirlwind of change for 36-year-old.
“It’s been crazy," Hackett said on Monday.
"It’s been an emotional roller coaster I think. For me, I think for all of us, nobody’s happy with where we’re at. I mean we’re 2-5 and that sucks. It’s unfortunate and I think when something like this happens, it’s sad because my relationship with Coach [Greg] Olson, what he’s done for me, how much he’s taught me and how I feel about him, it’s hard to have him go. And then it’s almost hard that, for me, I’m naturally very excited, energetic guy that I’m also very excited."
Hackett was the Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator from 2013-2014. He has experience calling plays, which should help with the added responsibility and quick turnaround.
"I think that when I kind of explained to [Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley] my process and the process I’ve always tried to use and stay true to it," Hackett said.
"I think he was excited about that and he saw there was—as long as there’s always a vision, a pointed vision that I can give and teach to the guys because we’re teachers and I think that if what I’m envisioning gives us the best chance to win, it can be given to those guys and they execute it, we’ll always have a chance.”
Hackett's time in Buffalo and Jacksonville has led to a strong bond between him and offensive line coach Doug Marrone. The two will now lean on each other as they try improve a struggling running game and overall pass protection.
“It’s awesome," Hackett said.
"I mean he’s a guy that I have been with going on six years now. Who would’ve thought? He’s a very good friend. I’ve been with him for a long time. He knows me, I know him. He knows how I work, he’s been in there. He’s watched me run around like a mad man. It’s great to have him as somebody there that I can lean on and ask the questions that I’ll have about the run game, about the pass game.”
The new offensive coordinator's most important relationship will be with Bortles. The two have spent a lot of time together over the last two years and their knowledge of each other should provide comfort in both play-calling and execution moving forward.
“I love Blake," Hackett said.
"Everybody keeps telling me there’s things wrong with him and I understand that because we’re not winning, but he’s also done a lot of really good things and I think that sometimes people try to focus on all the negative things with Blake. I don’t really do that. I try to look at more of the positive things and see how we can do those more to get him into a more comfort level."
Improvement is what Hackett is seeking. He is not happy with the offense's output this season and he knows his new opportunity comes with heavy pressure and little margin for error.
"We’ve addressed the fact that we’re not happy with where we’re at," Hackett said. "We’re 2-5. We’ve got work to do to get better and get back on a good track."
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.