On Sunday, the Broncos and Vic Fangio parted methods after three seasons. The 64-year-old longtime defensive coordinator didn’t compile a successful document in any of his three seasons. The Broncos began this 12 months 3–0 earlier than struggling by the thorniest a part of a really tough schedule, and have now 4 double-dight-loss seasons of their final 5, after having simply three of their earlier 49 campaigns.
Fangio is an attention-grabbing coach in that he’ll nonetheless dictate the interview market even when he’s not a head coach in 2022. Extensively considered the greatest defensive coordinator in the NFL, Fangio’s resolution to latch onto one other growing workers may very properly make or break the candidacy of a coach elsewhere. Whereas it’s by no means pleasurable to lose a head teaching job, Fangio could also be extra common than ever as a coordinator at a time when his oft-copied however poorly imitated protection is spreading all through the NFL.
Regardless of being pummeled by harm and buying and selling Von Miller, Denver nonetheless completed the season as one among the league’s greatest total defenses, permitting 18.9 factors per sport, third-best in the league heading into the Week 18 Sunday slate.
WHERE DID IT ALL GO WRONG?
The tough half about summarizing the Fangio period is that his greatest downfall had nothing to do with Fangio himself. The Broncos by no means equipped Fangio with a quarterback, setting him as much as fail equally to his predecessor, Vance Joseph, who can also be having a renaissance season as a coordinator in Arizona.
The Broncos went on a miniature run with Drew Lock at the finish of Fangio’s first season, however the alternative of coordinator Wealthy Scangarello with fired Giants head coach Pat Shurmur coincided with the group’s regression again into the offensive weeds. From Lock to Teddy Bridgewater, the Broncos had been environment friendly at greatest, however by no means potent sufficient to enrich their lockdown protection. Fangio’s most vital rent, offensive line coach Mike Munchak, helped remodel a wayward unit into one among the league’s greatest fronts. Offensive sort out Garett Bolles went from potential first-round bust to borderline All-Professional.
In brief, it appeared like there was a stable basis for a contending franchise, minus the participant beneath heart and the individual calling performs. Would one other season have yielded a turnaround? We’ll by no means know.
WAS IT THE RIGHT MOVE?
This can be a tough query to reply. Give it some thought this fashion: Irrespective of who you herald as head coach, you’re going to downgrade collectively as a protection in a division with Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert. Are you going to improve sufficient as an offense to compete with these groups in a shootout? Fangio was not profitable by way of wins and losses, however his group was largely drama-free. It was a professionally run store and he held up his finish of the cut price defensively. One other method from basic supervisor George Paton may have been to scour the teaching market and poach an offensive coordinator with promise as a possible coach-in-waiting, which might have given Fangio the probability to work with a unique playcaller and appeal to a unique veteran quarterback off the market.
It might sound like a variety of excuse-making for Fangio, and maybe he’s higher suited to the coordinator chair, but when given the alternative between attempting to constantly outscore Patrick Mahomes with a mean protection or battle with him in the mud backed by an awesome protection, it might make extra sense to solely want 24 factors to beat the Chiefs and never 35 given what’s presently on the roster.
WHO WILL REPLACE HIM?
Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett is a reputation that makes a great deal of sense right here. Broncos basic supervisor (and former Vikings assistant GM) George Paton is clearly conversant in Hackett having spent a earlier lifetime in the NFC North. Hackett was our best choice this 12 months on our preseason teaching candidates listing and you’ll learn extra about him right here. Whereas there is no such thing as a consensus “high” candidate on the market this 12 months, Hackett appears to be amongst the choose few first-time, offense-focused candidates poised to make the interview rounds for each emptiness. Hackett is presently steeped in the Kyle Shanahan-Matt LaFleur branded exterior zone offense however has run every little thing beneath the solar, bringing his West Coast offense background and spinning it into some inventive canvas. At Syracuse College, he as soon as scrapped the group’s playbook two weeks earlier than the season, put in a Nineties-style Buffalo Payments Okay-Gun offense and broke a ton of college data.
Dan Quinn, defensive coordinator, Dallas Cowboys: It’s good to see Quinn having a rebirth in Dallas, particularly exterior of the confines of the Pete Carroll Cowl-3 scheme. Quinn’s new, amoebic look that has elevated Micah Parsons to defensive rookie of the 12 months shoo-in is a powerful instance of what he may convey to a franchise, together with an infectious perspective and a personable method.
Jeff Rodgers, particular groups coordinator/assistant head coach, Arizona Cardinals: Rodgers has been instrumental in the creation of a program in Arizona, serving to Kliff Kingsbury keep away from a few of the typical pitfalls of a collegiate coach transitioning to the NFL. Rodgers and the Colts’ Bubba Ventrone led our particular groups coordinator class this 12 months throughout a preseason polling of teaching specialists. This may very well be the sort of outside-the-box rent that pays dividends for Denver whereas they proceed to discover quarterback choices and discover their id.
Kevin O’Connell, offensive coordinator, L.A. Rams: In case you are Paton, do you rent O’Connell, a former NFL quarterback whose star has rapidly risen in the teaching ranks, in an try to chop the line on the subsequent nice offensive thoughts? It’s not a foul thought. The previous Belichick draft choose has performed a pivotal function in one among the NFL’s most high-powered offenses this 12 months.
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