Denver Broncos: Ed Donatell joining Vic Fangio’s staff with Broncos

DENVER - 2009: Ed Donatell of the Denver Broncos poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by NFL Photos)
DENVER - 2009: Ed Donatell of the Denver Broncos poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by NFL Photos) /

The Denver Broncos are poaching more of the Chicago Bears’ staff as Ed Donatell will reportedly join Vic Fangio’s impressive staff.

The Denver Broncos continue to put together an impressive coaching staff under new head coach Vic Fangio, and the latest to join him — reportedly — is defensive backs coach Ed Donatell.

Donatell is getting a promotion with the Broncos to defensive coordinator, a position he hasn’t held in the NFL since 2008 with the Washington Redskins.

As crazy as it may sound, this will actually be Donatell’s third go-round with the Denver Broncos. He was on Mike Shanahan’s staff starting in 1995 and stayed through the team’s glory years in the late 90s. He won two Super Bowls as a secondary coach with the Broncos.

Donatell’s second stint in Denver was on Josh McDaniels’ staff in 2010. It was a short stay as he wasn’t part of John Fox’s staff in Denver the following year, but he did join Vic Fangio out in San Francisco.

Donatell’s defensive backs have picked off a lot of passes since he joined forces with Fangio in 2011 out in San Francisco, but they’ve also put up some dud years. Here are the number of interceptions his units have and where they rank league-wide in that category (2011-14 with San Francisco, 2015-2018 with Chicago):

2011: 23 (2nd)
2012: 14 (16th)
2013: 18 (10th)
2014: 23 (1st)
2015: 8 (30th)
2016: 8 (29th)
2017: 8 (29th)
2018: 27 (1st)

The stretch from 2015-2017 in Chicago is what got John Fox fired. It was also the time Ryan Pace was rebuilding the roster into what it became in 2018 when the Bears were forcing turnovers left and right.

It’s also no coincidence that the Bears’ interceptions went up with the addition of Khalil Mack. Donatell’s first year with the 49ers included a star-studded defense and rookie of the year candidate Aldon Smith, who was helping wreak havoc on the opposing quarterbacks.

His 2014 unit included a former Bronco — Perrish Cox — leading the 49ers with five interceptions.

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With Donatell reportedly joining the staff, it’s clear that the Broncos’ defense will be the brainchild of Fangio, who is bringing his expertise to that side of the ball. Donatell will not simply be a ‘yes’ man, but likely will have the chance to have a much more expanded role in game-planning.