Coming into this season optimism was sky high with the Vance Joseph era in the rearview. The Preseason did little but stir even more excitement, especially after the first team defense dominated the San Francisco 49ers in the middle of August. Then an 0-4 start capped off with a 225 rushing performance by Leonard Fournette sent shockwaves through the Rocky Mountains.
Since then the Denver Broncos have gone 3-2, but sitting at the bye week and two months to go, it’s a natural time to take stock of where things are. So it only made sense to ask the writers of Mile High Report:
Our discussion has been lightly edited for clarity.
What do you think of the of the Fangio era so far?
Taylor Kothe: The outcome so far is about what could be reasonably expected, in good ways and in bad. It’s a transitional year, which was obvious from the outset, and there are encouraging signs of growth and of the establishing of a foundation that should hopefully lead to better days ahead. There’s been plenty to groan about, and it’s a young team that has holes to address. But this 3-6 team is two horrific officiating calls away from being 5-4 and squarely in the playoff hunt. It might not show in the W/L record yet, but this is a better team than we’ve had in a couple of years.
Scotty Payne: “What could have been”
The Broncos record is shite but the blame doesn’t fall on him. He has his defense playing at a high level despite lacking some elite talent in areas. What is hurting the team is the quarterback play. The man selecting these poor quarterbacks over and over again are keeping this Franchise in the mud.
Vic Fangio's 1st #Broncos D has one legitimate pass rusher, one proven cornerback, a guy who spent his summer with the Salt Lake Stallions, and 3 first time starters including an UDFA rookie.— Joe Rowles (@JoRo_NFL) November 2, 2019
Through 8 games, they're the 3rd best defense by DVOA in the league. https://t.co/bwoCo6kTdC
Joe Mahoney: Losing on three last second field goals after having leads in the final minute of the game.
Adam Malnati: When Ian and I had Cecil Lammey on the podcast we had a great conversation about the direction of the franchise, and the Vic Fangio era. The wins haven’t been there, but I want to see more. I’m excited about the play of the defense, and hopeful for what this offense could be with a few adjustments.
Ian St. Clair: When Fangio was hired, I remember telling Adam it would take time. For the players to get used to Fangio and his coaching style and to his system. But also Fangio and his coaching staff getting accustomed to new players and a new team. In the case of Fangio, being a head coach. We’re now starting to see buy-in from the Broncos; especially on defense where the result has been one of the best unit’s in the NFL. The results haven’t shown up this season in terms of wins and losses, but we should be excited about the results in the season(s) to come. And the main reason why is Fangio.
Jeff Essary: I said earlier this offseason that we’re often too quick to judge the results without appreciating the process. I’ve liked Fangio’s process and approach from the start and think he is a building a culture here with this team that will get them back on the winning track, soon.
Early returns obviously haven’t been excellent, but Denver’s been competitive and in it in nearly every game they’ve played (aside from that debacle against KC).
I think with the emphasis on teaching that Vic and his staff talked about when they first came in, you would expect young guys to be improving, and that to me was always going to be a key metric with which to evaluate this first year. Well, Noah Fant took a big step last week, Risner is looking good, Sutton has taken a big step. Bolles hasn’t improved like we wanted, but there’s pieces being developed on the offensive side.
The defense is even a better picture of teaching and development with Callahan and Chubb’s injuries a lot of young guys have stepped up. Denver may have developed/discovered 3-4 new starters on defense for next year by the time this season is done.
That’s a successful first season for a first time head coach and his staff in my book. How the QB situation shakes out over the back half of the season has a chance to make it even better.
Are you happy with Vic Fangio as the Broncos’ head coach?
This poll is closed
Things are headed in the right direction.
V sure doesn’t stand for Victories, does it?
The jury’s out.