While a handful of NFL teams have excelled early in 2022, optimism has faded quickly for several franchises around the league.
It's not necessarily a surprise that the coaches of struggling teams are landing criticism.
There will inevitably be a perception that "in over their heads" is similar to calling these coaches completely ill-equipped to engineer a turnaround this year. Two weeks into the season, that is most decidedly not the case.
Simultaneously, though, it's fair to scrutinize these coaches, analyze the early concerns and wonder if the expectations for their teams are realistic. They are ordered loosely from least to most concerning, though it's certainly a subjective perception.
Nathaniel Hackett, Denver Broncos
One of the main challenges in analysis—as with coaching, for that matter—is balancing the process with the results.
During the opener, Brandon McManus narrowly missed a low-percentage, 64-yard field goal that would've given the Denver Broncos a win over the Seattle Seahawks. If he makes it, first-year boss Nathaniel Hackett isn't questioned as much for not attempting a 4th-and-5 with a minute left in regulation, all three timeouts and Russell Wilson at quarterback.
Bad process and bad result, or questionable process and bad result? Either way, it's not good. And in Week 2, Hackett again cost the Broncos points because of a late-game kicking decision.
Faced with 4th-and-2, he sent out McManus for a 54-yard field goal, which the veteran buried. However, a delay-of-game penalty negated the play, and Hackett elected to punt after the five-yard loss instead of giving his kicker another game-tying chance. How could Hackett not trust McManus in the Mile High air from 59 after running him out from 64 in Seattle?
Terrible process, awful result.
Hackett should not be considered a hot-seat candidate. He's a first-year coach with two career games of experience. But, clearly, his in-game management is a topic to monitor.