Denver Broncos: Coaches, players, Elway deny Jason La Canfora report

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - NOVEMBER 17: Head coach Vic Fangio of the Denver Broncos at U.S. Bank Stadium on November 17, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - NOVEMBER 17: Head coach Vic Fangio of the Denver Broncos at U.S. Bank Stadium on November 17, 2019 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) /

Jason La Canfora’s report about an unhealthy working environment with the Denver Broncos has been shot down as false by players, coaches, and John Elway.

On Sunday before the Denver Broncos took the field against the Minnesota Vikings, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports released an article to the masses creating a bit of panic in Broncos Country regarding the team’s first-year head coach Vic Fangio.

La Canfora cited that Fangio was struggling to connect with players and coaches in his first year in Denver, and that his claims were corroborated by three separate sources.

We can only speculate as to who the sources are, but La Canfora noted in this follow-up interview with Zach Bye and Brandon Stokley of 104.3 The FAN in Denver that his claims came from three people in the organization who read one of his reports about Fangio and other first-year head coaches in the NFL, and offered up this gossip free of charge, unsolicited.

Among La Canfora’s claims regarding Fangio:

  • Difficulty connecting with players and coaches
  • Rough transition from defensive coordinator to head coach
  • Issues with offensive assistants
  • Strained lines of communication
  • Overbearing on the offensive headsets with play-calling
  • Everyone gets treated like (crap)
  • Treatment of others has galvanized offensive assistant coaches

These are substantial claims, and while it’s noted that Fangio is a tough dude with a serious exterior and an all-business approach to the game, it was worth the Denver media’s time this week to explore these claims and find out from different sources with the team whether or not these claims were true or not.

La Canfora laughed at the notion that anyone in Denver would deny these claims, stating that of course they’re not just going to come out and say that things are bad, but apparently he has three moles in the organization willing to reach out and give him the dirty details of the daily goings-on at Dove Valley.

Let’s see what some of the Broncos’ coaches and players have had to say specifically about La Canfora’s report.

Chris Harris Jr., CB

Chris Harris Jr. is probably the most brutally honest player on the Broncos. He even apologized after a frustrating early loss this season for noting out loud that he only had 13 games left with the team.

Harris had choice words for La Canfora’s report.

"“That report is bullsh*t. Nobody has any issues with Fangio.”via Brandon Krisztal on Twitter"

Rich Scangarello, offensive coordinator

If anyone could corroborate the idea that Fangio is domineering over the headset during games, it would be the team’s offensive coordinator. Here’s what he had to say.

"“Farthest thing from the truth. Like, he’s been great. He’s helped me grow as a coach and I think everyone in this building respects him as a man and his leadership. We’re going to win a championship under him and that’s the goal and that’s what we’re fighting for.”via Broncos PR"

Ed Donatell, defensive coordinator

Ed Donatell, who has been working with Fangio for a long time, had this to say:

"“It’s disappointing to read something like that at times. It happens in the NFL world. I’ve worked for Vic for nine years, it’s all been great.”via Broncos PR"

Phillip Lindsay, running back

John Elway, general manager

Dalton Risner, offensive guard

At the end of the day, we don’t know the extent of the truth of any of these claims. We do know that Fangio has been involved with the offense to a degree as the head coach, but he’s mostly tasked that side of the ball to the coaches on staff.

We also know that losing the majority of your games causes you to feel a certain way that can snowball if you don’t like how things are going at your day-to-day.

The claims being made by La Canfora seem to indicate that Vic Fangio is losing the Broncos’ locker room and that there’s a huge disconnect between him and the offensive coaching staff. This is not a small report by any means. As a matter of fact, it’s a bombshell.

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It doesn’t sound like the majority of the prominent voices in Denver agree with it.