The Broncos’ current coaching dilemma starts with Vic Fangio

Jan 3, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio during the fourth quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 3, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio during the fourth quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos sit at 6-6 after a demoralizing loss to the division rival Kansas City Chiefs. Vic Fangio’s future is up in the air but it isn’t as clear-cut as it may have seemed weeks ago. 

In the eyes of fans, Head Coach Vic Fangio‘s fate was all but sealed after a primetime loss to a backup quarterback in the Week 7 matchup against the Cleveland Browns, but it seems the heat has cooled off a bit.

To be clear, Fangio is not the problem, but he is a problem. His defenses during his tenure as the Broncos coach have always over-performed in relation to their injuries, most notably last season as the secondary was stretched thin and he still constructed a league-average defense. On the other hand, the team has seemed to regularly play down to competition and look unmotivated in big games like Sunday.

Schematically, you aren’t going to do much better than Vic Fangio on defense and there is no denying that. His defensive structure has spread throughout the league and had people thinking Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid were broken over halfway into the season.

His defenses have kept the team in games much more often than not, but the constant blunders of the offense overshadow those impressive defensive performances. Although, Fangio is not exempt from blame. He made the decision to fire Rich Scangarello and hire Pat Shurmur, as well as being a driving force in acquiring Teddy Bridgewater.

Ultimately, the Broncos could go a couple of ways. The first being cleaning house and revamping the entire staff. General manager George Paton would begin his search for a new leader, and my early and shortlist consists of former Super Bowl-winning coach Doug Pederson who took a year off from football after a toxic departure from Philadelphia.

Pederson is an Andy Reid disciple with deep west coast offense roots. His running concepts are some of the most diverse and effective in the league and he has a great understanding of matching his scheme to his players and not the other way around.

Second on the list is Green Bay Packers Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Hackett would be the first of the Matt LaFleur tree to get a job and on the surface he is deserving. LaFleur’s offense is centered around RPO’s and forcing you to bring a safety down and playing man coverage, then throwing a multitude of man beating packages.

Lastly, Buffalo Bills Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier is a bit of a different mold compared to the other two. While his defensive scheme is definitely good, he is the best option in terms of a leader or a “players coach”. His former players and colleagues have nothing but good things to say and he always inspired some lackluster rosters to play above expectations.

On the other hand, if George Paton were to retain Fangio, the offensive staff will without a doubt be addressed. Coach Munchak and Coach Azzanni are most likely locks to stay, Pat Shurmur and Mike Shula definitely are not.

In this scenario, my list of new play-callers starts with Mike Kafka, the QB Coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. Kafka has risen through coaching ranks fast after his playing career, finding himself in a very favorable position getting to teach Patrick Mahomes with the help of Andy Reid.

Next would be Luke Getsy, the QB coach of the Green Bay Packers for the same reasons as Nathaniel Hackett. The development of Jordan Love (or lack thereof) is for sure concerning, but you can’t ignore the efficiency of that offense and Aaron Rodgers.

Last but certainly not least would be Philadelphia Eagles Run Game Coordinator Jeff Stoutland. Stoutland is one of the most well-respected offensive line coaches in the league and it has been that way for a while now. This season, he was in charge of the Eagles running game which sparked an incredibly efficient string of wins.

Stoutland manipulated defenses box counts with Jalen Hurts serving as an additional number in the offenses’ numbers advantage. He used formations and motion to eliminate players from the fit and organically created angles for his backs and Jalen Hurts.

To me, there is no right or wrong decision at this point. The Broncos are currently in a very weird spot with their coaching situation.