Bears HC candidate profile: Get to know Nathaniel Hackett

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The Chicago Bears fired head coach Matt Nagy after four years, and they’ve wasted no time exploring candidates to replace him.

Chairman George McCaskey, President/CEO Ted Phillips, Hall of Fame executive Bill Polian, VP of Player Engagement Lamar ‘Soup’ Campbell and Senior VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Tanesha Wade will conduct the search for Chicago’s next GM, a process which McCaskey promised would be “thorough, diligent and exhausted.”

The Bears have cast a wide net of head coach candidates that they’ve extended interviews to, including Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who interviewed last week.

Let’s take a look at what Hackett brings to the table in our Bears head coach candidate profile:

Background

  • Current Job: Offensive coordinator, Green Bay Packers (2019-Present)

  • Age: 42

  • Hometown: Fullerton, CA

  • College: California-Davis

Experience

  • Offensive coordinator, Green Bay Packers (2019-Present)

  • Offensive coordinator, Jacksonville Jaguars (2016-18)

  • Quarterbacks coach, Jacksonville Jaguars (2015-16)

  • Offensive coordinator, Buffalo Bills (2013-14)

  • Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks/tight ends coach, Syracuse (2011-12)

  • Passing game coordinator/quarterback/tight ends coach, Syracuse (2010)

  • Offensive quality control, Buffalo Bills (2008-09)

  • Offensive quality control, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2006-07)

Analysis

Hackett is far from the most attractive candidate for head coach, but an important thing is getting the right guy in place to run the team and develop quarterback Justin Fields. And given Hackett’s resume, there’s reason to believe he might be that guy.

Hackett has served as the Packers offensive coordinator since 2019, although he’s not the play caller. But while Matt LaFleur calls the plays and future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers runs the show, Hackett remains a key part in the success of the offense.

But Hackett’s experience extends beyond what’s been an ideal scenario in Green Bay. Before joining the Packers, Hackett worked with Doug Marrone in a couple of stops. He served as offensive coordinator with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2016-18) and Buffalo Bills (2013-14). Perhaps most impressive was Hackett’s ability to get the most out of Jacksonville’s fifth-ranked scoring offense and quarterback Blake Bortles.

They said it...

“He’s been around the game a long time. What he did in Jacksonville (in 2017), I think, was pure magic, getting them within a quarter of the Super Bowl. He’s a great coach. I love spending time with him. He’s a fantastic teacher. He’s incredible in front of the room.”

— Aaron Rodgers about Hackett (via Chicago Tribune)

Bottom line

When you look at the success of the Packers offense over the last two years — averaging 376.9 yards and 29.1 points per game — it’s hard not to wonder if Hackett could get the same out of the Bears. But it’s fair to wonder how much was Hackett and how much was Rodgers. Hackett has managed to get the job done with both Rodgers and Blake Bortles, which is certainly impressive. The hope would be he could do the same for Fields.

But it’s about more than just offense — it’s about leading a team. Hackett’s garnered a reputation for his energetic coaching style, which resonates with his players on and off the field. He could be the guy or he might not be. But it certainly helps when you get Rodger’s seal of approval.

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