When the Denver Broncos named Nathaniel Hackett their new head coach earlier this year, he brought his coaches — and scheme — with him.
The former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator parted ways with Mike Munchak, who had coached Denver’s offensive line from 2019-2021. Hackett wanted an offensive line coach that had experience in his system, so he hired Butch Barry from the San Francisco 49ers to replace Munchak.
Barry coached under Hackett in Green Bay in 2020 and he’s bringing Hackett’s outside zone running scheme to the Broncos.
Dalton Risner and Netane Muti were among the guards already on the roster when the new staff arrived, and there was some uncertainty among pundits if those two offensive lineman will fit the new scheme.
So far, so good.
“[Muti]’s doing a really good job,” Hackett said on June 13. “He’s running off the ball and he’s a big, strong interior lineman. I love that he does some great celebrations, too, whenever we get touchdowns. Those have been showing up. He’s picked it up really well. He’s been a big surprise for us throughout this whole offseason and I’m excited to see him keep rolling.”
Hackett had a glowing report for Risner, too.
“He’s been another one who’s been an absolute unbelievable surprise,” the coach said. “We brought this whole system into this organization, this outside zone world, and it hasn’t been that way [before]. He has really bought in and he’s doing a fine job running off the ball and [he’s] great in pass protection. He’s done a really good job and I’m really excited about where he’s at.”
Hackett comes across as an overwhelming positive person and he has no reason to throw any players under the bus, but even with that being the case, his praise for Muti and Risner is notable if taken at face value.
The Broncos are loaded with depth at guard, headlined by Graham Glasgow, Quinn Meinerz, Risner, Muti and rookie center/guard Luke Wattenberg. The team also added Ben Braden this offseason and tackles Billy Turner and Tom Compton can play inside as well.
No starting jobs will be won before training camp begins, but it seems that Risner and Muti have made very strong first impressions.