Denver Broncos: Why firing Vic Fangio might be a bad idea

Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

In his third year as head coach of the Denver Broncos, Vic Fangio has put together a respectable season, but should he still be fired if the team misses the playoffs?

It certainly feels like, in Vic Fangio’s third year as coach of the Denver Broncos, he was given a playoff mandate from the front office.

His first year was promising.  After an 0-4 start, the team finished the year 7-5, and 4-1 in their last 5 games.

2020 was supposed to be the big leap for Denver.  However, the NFL’s tough COVID restrictions, coupled with a new offensive coordinator, made for a underwhelming finish.

2021 is essentially a redo of 2020, with slight changes.  Now, the Denver Broncos sit at 7-6 with every chance in front of them to make the 2021 NFL playoffs.

The Broncos have 4 games remaining, and probably will need to win 3 of them to clinch a spot in the dance.

There are a plethora of possibilities with the remaining 4 games. In fact, it’s very possible that the team finishes with a winning record but does not qualify for the playoffs. It’s also very possible that the team makes the playoffs, but loses in the Wild Card round.

Recently, I’ve begun to think of all the reasons why Vic Fangio should and should not be fired, and I’m constantly ending with the conclusion that the team might benefit from keeping Vic around, even if they miss the playoffs.

The first reason to keep Vic Fangio around as head coach is what he brings to the table. He is regarded around the league as one of, if not the best defensive mind, and in year 3, we’ve finally begun to see that come to fruition.

Even without the team’s two starting linebackers in Alexander Johnson and Josey Jewell, and without Von Miller, the Broncos allow the 10th fewest rushing and receiving yards, and are 2nd in points allowed.

The defense this year has been plenty good enough, in fact, it’s been elite.

Next, Fangio’s defense has come to play, especially against the Chiefs. The last two times Denver has played Kansas City, the Chiefs have only been able to score 22 points in each contest.

Vic Fangio’s defensive prowess might be one of the only ways this team would be able to compete with Kansas City, and the Denver Broncos might be in a situation in a few weeks where they would need to beat Kansas City in order to make the playoffs.

Another reason why it might be a bad idea to fire Vic Fangio is what the team doesn’t do well, which would be special teams and a sometimes incompetent offense.

Tom McMahon is the team’s special teams coordinator, and he has been with the club since 2018, under the Vance Joseph administration.  Many in Broncos Country wondered why Fangio didn’t part ways with McMahon after 2020, and I’d think it’s about guaranteed that McMahon gets canned after 2021, as the special teams unit still stinks.

Pat Shurmur was brought in to be the team’s offensive coordinator after the 2019 season, and has largely disappointed, failing to further develop Drew Lock and has seemingly failed to use his embarrassment of riches on offense to coordinate a more efficient product.

I fully understand that Vic Fangio has made the decisions to keep McMahon around and hire Shurmur, but one would think that he would let one or both go if his job depended on it, right?

Would George Paton give this ultimatum to Fangio, and would Fangio follow through if his job depended on it?  I personally think he would, especially if George Paton is looking to significantly upgrade the quarterback position this offseason.

Imagine for a second, either Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers quarterbacking this offense, with Vic Fangio in charge of the defense? Doesn’t that sound awesome?

Even further, with either Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers quarterbacking the offense, it would surely be more efficient, which would in theory take a lot of pressure off the defense, right?

If the offense is more efficient, which would include scoring more points and having a higher time of possession, that would allow the defense to rest further on the bench, and scoring more points would allow that defense to not have to limit each opponent to 20 points or under.

I personally would get super excited if George Paton would be able to swing a trade for one of those two QBs.  To then couple that with a Vic Fangio defense would make for an instant Super Bowl contender.

Next. Cost-efficient options to replace Melvin Gordon. dark

I’m not saying Vic Fangio hasn’t had his struggles, but firing him might not be the smartest idea.