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Broncos CEO Greg Penner: I’m going to rely heavily on George Paton as we make changes

It was a given that Nathaniel Hackett wasn't long for Denver, the only question remained was whether the Broncos would fire him during or after the season. Now that Hackett is only the fourth NFL head coach to not finish his first year on the job, Mike Florio and Myles Simmons debate whether it was bad coaching or Russell Wilson that sealed his fate.

When Broncos CEO Greg Penner issued a statement on Monday regarding the firing of Nathaniel Hackett, he mentioned that the team’s General Manager George Paton would be involved in the search for a new head coach.

But as Paton mentioned in Tuesday’s joint press conference with Penner, Paton was the one who picked the coach and most of the players on the roster. Paton went as far as saying, “There is no one to blame but me.”

So why keep Paton around? Penner was asked exactly that.

“George and I have had a chance to get to know each other,” Penner said during Tuesday’s press conference. “We’ve talked every day since we purchased the team a number of months ago. And he acknowledged right up front, there were a couple of decisions that haven’t worked out as he expected. But I understand his thought process.

“He understands the work that needs to be done in this offseason. And I’m going to rely on him heavily as we go through and make these changes.”

Given that the Walton-Penner group is still in its first few months of team ownership, it does make some sense to have continuity within the football operation as the group gets more comfortable running the franchise. But one can’t imagine that Paton will get many — if any — more chances to make significant decisions if the next coach doesn’t produce more wins.