Sources: Jaguars to interview Nathaniel Hackett again as talks with Byron Leftwich hit snag

The Jaguars will now interview Nathaniel Hackett for a second time after talks with Byron Leftwich seem to have hit a snag.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have scheduled a second interview with Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett for Thursday, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly. The development, along with potentially holding more second interviews with head coaching candidates, comes after the Jaguars launched contract talks with Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich Tuesday night before discussions became complicated Wednesday morning and momentum toward an anticipated deal stalled.

Update: The Jacksonville Jaguars will not get their chance to interview Hackett on Thursday, as the Denver Broncos appear set to hire Hackett as their next head coach, per Tom Pelissero.

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The Jaguars and Byron Leftwich talks hit snag

That unexpected impasse has led the Jaguars to now shift gears to their original plan of conducting more second interviews and opens up the possibility of other candidates — such as Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus and interim coach and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell — meeting again with the Jaguars’ leadership team, including owner Shad Khan.

The presence of Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke, who has advocated for Eberflus and Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, a former Texans coach who didn’t advance past an initial virtual interview, has been controversial for some candidates who have expressed reservations about working with Baalke, according to sources.

Several league sources have continued to express confidence that Leftwich will ultimately land the job after the Jaguars conduct their due diligence and explore other options.

Leftwich has reached out to potential staff members. Among the possible members of a Leftwich staff, according to sources: Buccaneers outside linebackers coach Larry Foote and wide receivers coach Kevin Garver.

Nathaniel Hackett has interest from multiple teams

Hackett has had a second interview this week with the Denver Broncos. Hackett, 42, coaches Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the Jaguars before he was hired by the Packers.

The son of former Pitt and USC coach Paul Hackett, Nathaniel Hackett has coached at Stanford and Syracuse. He’s been the offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills and Syracuse and has also worked for the Buccaneers.

A neurobiology major at the University of California-Davis, Hackett has helped Packers coach Matt LaFleur operate a high-octane offense. Although he doesn’t call the plays, Hackett is instrumental in building game plans that have positioned Rodgers to win the MVP award after leading the NFL in touchdown-to-interception ratio, quarterback rating, and passer rating.

The Packers have seen success with Hackett

In 2021, Green Bay scored 26.5 points per game and 365.6 yards of total offense per game. Additionally, they averaged 5.8 yards per play, 253.8 passing yards per game, 7.3 yards per pass, a 1.2% interception rate, a 5.6% sack rate, a 43.6% third-down conversion rate, 59.1 percent fourth-down conversion rate, and a 32:43 average time of possession to rank in the top 10 in all those offensive categories.

“I’m excited for him,” LaFleur said of Hackett’s candidacy for jobs last season. “I think if I was a team out there that had a vacancy, I would absolutely want to get him in a room. I just think there’s so many great qualities about him. First and foremost, it starts with who he is as a man. He’s a man of the highest integrity.

“He treats people the right way, and then I think he just cares about people. Not only the other coaches on our staff, but the players. The players feel that. The players know that. There’s nobody in the building that brings me more joy or is more fun to be around than Nathaniel Hackett. He’s become such a close confidante and friend besides a fantastic coach. I just really, really can’t express.”

Aaron Wilson is the NFL Insider for Pro Football Network. Follow him on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL.