The Broncos officially announced former Chicago Bears Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio as the teams new Head Coach on Thursday during an impressive press conference. During that presser, the coach who Khalil Mack recently called an “Evil Genius” confirmed that he will be calling plays for the Broncos defense in 2019.
“They hired me because of my work on the defensive side of the ball, [so] I’m going to give them my work on the defensive side of the ball."— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) January 10, 2019
Coach Fangio to call our defensive plays » https://t.co/ZIMVkuKqv8 pic.twitter.com/Fqcl1FvvjN
Fangio was asked by a reporter why it would be important for him to call plays for the Broncos as a Head Coach. Fangio was direct with his answer and basically said it was what he does best and that is what General Manager John Elway and the Broncos hired him to do.
“Several reasons. One being that they hired me because of my work on the defensive side of the ball. I’m going to give them my work on the defensive side of the ball. I believe, for the most part, I’m pretty good at it. So, I’m going to do it. There’s several offensive head coaches that still call plays. Not all of them, but I will have a staff that I will work close with. They’ll understand everything we want to do and are doing. I think it’s important that I do it. I want to do it, and look forward to it.”
As I said(I have to brag just a little) last week, Elway’s comments during his end of the season press conference pointed to Fangio being the favorite for the teams head coaching gig.
Fangio is the best at what he does on his side of the ball, he is experienced and detailed oriented, and a teacher of the game who stresses the fundamentals of the game. He described these exact traits after being asked what kind of coach he will be for the Broncos.
“You guys will be here daily with us once we get back on the field, and you’ll be able to figure that out yourself. But we’re not going to cut any corners. I’m a fundamentals coach. I think the game of the NFL, everybody thinks has changed and it’s a high-scoring league, etc., but fundamentals is still what wins in this league. I’m going to stress those, we’re not going to cut any corners, there will be no death by inches. We’re going to stress fundamentals.”
Forget all the defensive dominance that Fangio brings for a second. His no bullshit approach is exactly what the Broncos need. With Vance Joseph, the team looked unprepared, undisciplined, and often times looking lost on the field. This is something I do not think we will see very often with Fangio as the Broncos Head Coach.
This fundamental and well-disciplined talk isn’t just some false promises from Fangio either. As he said during his press conference, his defenses have ranked in the top 5 of least penalized defenses in the league 3 out of past 4 seasons.
“We had a lot of great statistical numbers this past year in Chicago. One that gets overlooked by most, but not by me, is that we were the second-least penalized defense in the NFL this past year. I believe I was told today that three of the last four years we were in the Top 5 in least penalized [defenses]. What we’re really talking about is execution. Discipline is a broad term that people use too loosely. If you play with good technique, you will avoid being penalized too many times. Some penalties are just going to happen. They happen in the competition of the game. Some are more avoidable, and we’re going to work hard to avoid those. There are ways to teach that and emphasize that, and we are going to do that.”
Chicago Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara who played for Fangio the past two seasons confirms these statements. He calls Fangio a “mastermind” and that he is the most detailed Defensive Coordinators he has ever played for.
“I love the mastermind that Vic is,” Amukamara said via the Chicago Tribune. “He’s probably one of the most detailed defensive coordinators I’ve ever been a part of. It just feels like he calls the right play every down. That’s probably an exaggeration, but it’s very, very rare that he doesn’t put us in the best position to be successful.”
So what can we expect from a Vic Fangio coached Denver Broncos defense in 2019? I think a return to dominance is on their future. Maybe not exactly there in 2019, but I would imagine by 2020 this defense will be among the leagues best.
This past year, the Fangio led Bears defense ranked third in total defense(299.7 yards), seventh in passing with 219.7 yards per game, first in rush defense (80 yards per game), first in points per game (17.7 points per game), third in sacks (50), and first in interceptions with 27 (the next closest was 21).
That is pretty damn good.
Fangio also basically promised that Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller can play better than he ever has under his teaching(One ballsy statement).
“Obviously, starting off, we have two good players on the outside. Von Miller can be one of the rare players in this league, much like Khalil is. I’m looking forward to working with both of them. [OLB] Bradley [Chubb] is a guy that we had high grades on also in Chicago last year. I’m aware that he had a good season this year. That’s my position of expertise when I’m coaching a position, and those guys are going to get coached by their position coach, but they’re going to get a little extra from me too. We’re going to try to take them both to bigger and better levels. I think Von Miller can play even better than he’s played in his career.”
“They’re going to get a little extra from me too”. That quote right there before the ballsy Von Miller statement gave me goosebumps. It’s quite the proclamation to make, but it is one I am willing to bet Fangio makes happen. Players often have career years under his teaching and their play and teams overall defensive play drops off after he leaves.
Fangio on Von Miller (in hoodie)— Vic Lombardi (@VicLombardi) January 10, 2019
“I think Von Miller can play better than he’s ever played in his career”. pic.twitter.com/zNPltaSQLk
Von, Derek Wolfe, Shelby Harris, Domata Peko and other Broncos were present for this press conference by the way. So when Fangio made this statement about Von, he was speaking to him directly.
This comment by Fangio didn’t ruffle any feathers with the Broncos future Hall Of Fame pass rusher. Per 9NEWS Denver’s Mike Klis, Miller said “I’m open for great coaching. He’s a great coach. I’m looking forward to it.”.
Miller’s who were in attendance also reacted positively to Fangio’s comment. Defensive end Shelby Harris told Klis that “That’s even scary is he can make Von better, then think what he can do for everyone else.”.
Nose tackle Domata Peko who was attendance despite his contract with the Broncos nearing its end believes that Fangio could take this defense “to another level”.
“He wants us to be the best, and you sit here and listen to him from 20 minutes and I wanted to hear more. You saw what he did with Chicago’s defense and with the defense we have here he could take us to another level.”
I believe Fangio will do just that. This Broncos defense should become a top-ranked unit once again under Fangio and something they need to do with Patrick Mahomes now in their division for probably at least the next decade.
Hell, I am excited, Elway looked genuinely excited, Fangio looked about as excited as he will ever be, and most importantly, the Broncos players seem excited. Something we haven’t seen since their Super Bowl 50 days.
Call him an “Evil Genius” or a “Mastermind” but in the end, Fangio should bring the Broncos Orange Crush defense back to elite levels during his time as Broncos Head Coach.