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A week ago, Broncos CEO Greg Penner didn’t think that would happen.

Not on this timeline, at least.

He, the rest of the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group and general manager George Paton knew a decision had to be made regarding the future of coach Nathaniel Hackett, but planned to take the call at the end of the season.

Then came Sunday, Christmas Day in Los Angeles, a 51-14 loss to the Rams. Clashes on the sidelines. A national TV debacle.

The decision to fire Hackett wasn’t made solely because of Sunday’s meltdown – “it was about the whole job and for a number of reasons it just wasn’t the right one. solution,” Penner said on Tuesday – but the 37-point loss sealed the rookie coach’s fate with two games to go.

“We didn’t come into this week thinking it was the time for us to make a change, but after seeing the effort we put in on Sunday, some of the things that were happening off the pitch, we just felt like it was time to make a decision,” Penner explained at a press conference Tuesday, where he also called the performance “an embarrassment to our organization.”

If Sunday’s loss ended Hackett’s short tenure in Denver, then Tuesday seemed in many ways like the real beginning, at least publicly, of Penner’s role at the top of the football operation.

Penner will lead the search for coaches. The next coach will report to him rather than Paton. Penner leads a top-down evaluation of the Broncos football team.

“This is a critical offseason for us in all of our football operations,” Penner said. “It’s about the coaches, the staff and the support staff. We have to do it right.

At the press conference, Penner redoubled his commitment to Paton as part of the fix, though the GM made it clear he knows he bears the brunt of the blame for the Broncos’ 4-11 season. .

“As I told the players yesterday, I take full responsibility for where we are as a football team,” Paton said. “I brought in the head coach, I brought in most of the players. These are my decisions and there’s no one else to blame but me. I just want to be clear, it’s not s It’s not just about coaching. It’s not just about Nathaniel. It’s about the whole football operation. It’s about the staff, the players, the staff, everyone involved in our football team. soccer.

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Broncos CEO Greg Penner says search for coaches part of top-down evaluation

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