The NY Jets received plenty of backlash for their decision to hire Nathaniel Hackett as the team's new offensive coordinator. Media and fans alike criticized the move, but not everyone is against Hackett.
Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Kurt Benkert took to Twitter on Thursday to defend the hire. Benkert suggested that the Jets' stock is on the rise following their decision to hire Hackett.
Hackett may not be the most popular name amongst talking heads right now. His disastrous tenure with the Denver Broncos is fresh in the minds of many, but any player that has ever played for Hackett will vouch for him as both a person and a coach.
Hackett is beloved by his players for his infectious energy and almost comedic enthusiasm. He was praised for helping change the culture in Green Bay. It's why players like Aaron Rodgers, Benkert, and so many others swear by him.
And, in many ways, it's what makes him a perfect fit alongside Robert Saleh — at least from a personality perspective. A 2021 article by Sports Illustrated's Conor Orr did a great job of encapsulating the type of person Hackett is.
I'll share a few snippets, but I highly suggest clicking the above link and reading the entire story. It's worth your time.
Why players love NY Jets OC Nathaniel Hackett so much
"When Nathaniel Hackett walks into a room, it is like a live-action comic book panel. One can almost see the speech bubbles with various onomatopoeia pouring from his mouth."- Conor Orr
This quote perfectly captures Hackett's lively, bombastic personality. He's loud, energetic, and, most importantly, fun. He's a player's coach, through and through.
Orr would late tell a story in that same article about how Hackett "backed an entire meeting to a song by the comedy troupe Lonely Island." Of course, he waited until then head coach Doug Marrone wasn't around to do so. Hackett endears himself to players in a way that few coaches know how.
"In front of children, [Hackett] is gregarious and transforms his voice, pulling from a seemingly endless library of sound effects. In front of professionals, he is whatever the moment calls for; it’s somewhat prickly territory for most coaches who find themselves stabbing in the dark with a heap of garbled, motivational jetsam. Hackett, though, always seems to understand his audience. It is rare to talk to a former player who has been coached by Hackett that didn’t remember some deep conversation on a topic that had nothing to do with football."- Conor Orr
Orr would later recount an instance where longtime Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari was listening to a Neil deGrasse Tyson podcast on good teachers. The first person Bakhtiari thought of was Hackett.
There is so much more in that one article about Hackett and what makes him so captivating. From his background as a hip-hop dancer (yes, really) to his love of Austin Powers, there is only one Nathaniel Hackett.
From an on-field standpoint, we can't ignore his lackluster stints in Buffalo, Jacksonville, and Denver, but from a personal standpoint, there's a reason players love him.
Former Jets offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur seemed to struggle at times to connect to his players. I don't think that's going to be an issue with Hackett.
Kurt Benkert is just one of many who swear by Hackett as a coach and, more importantly, as a human being.