I don’t tend to have one favorite player on the Broncos ... ‘cause, you know, I have about 53 (OK, who are we kidding) 90 favorites.
But this season, I already have a hands-down favorite person on the team.
Vic Freaking Fangio.
Yes, I just did that.
Because as far as I can tell, he’s doing everything right so far:
The team goes by his rules:
This guy is an old school hardass, and I love it! https://t.co/ZnAPXqn0Iw— Jeffrey Essary (@JeffreyEssary) July 19, 2019
Star players are no better than rookies when it comes to being coached up:
The best can always be better. #BroncosCamp pic.twitter.com/mDH0G2mbJm— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) July 19, 2019
Reporters ask garbage questions - and he’s having none of it:
"Why can't you look at those as good plays by the defense?" - Coach Fangio to @MikeKlis about Kevin Hogan throwing INTs today.— Doctor of Words (and tights and positive thinking) (@docllv) July 19, 2019
And then..."It's way too early to start any thoughts that way."
Coach gets it. pic.twitter.com/VVah0Kk9LM
And there will be ZERO chance of a QB controversy because Fangio knows what it means to be ‘the coach:’
Good on Fangio for being up front about reality and setting expectations for when the "start Drew Lock" crowd comes out.— Jeffrey Essary (@JeffreyEssary) July 19, 2019
This will not be a repeat of the Paxton Lynch debacle for that very reason. https://t.co/gcB6Ghfg5J
The second day of training camp is in the books, and the coach is so cool he wears a sweatshirt in 100-degree Colorado heat.
In fact, Fangio basically said F-U to Mother Nature because he’s coached in Southern heat and humidity that will make you kill your mama if it means even one cool breeze (my words, not his).
So don’t tell him it’s hot.
“I’m telling you, I’ve been in way more severe weather than this and it doesn’t feel hot to me. It really doesn’t,” he said, adding that he just might have been in better shape when he lived in those other places. “Half the reason I got this this on is to hide my gut (laughing).”
"I've never seen him not in his sweatshirt," Bryce Callahan said of his coach wearing a crewneck in 100-degree weather. "Vic is going to be Vic. I think that's just his swag. Whatever is working for him, just keep doing it." pic.twitter.com/ZopP8TATgs— Ryan Koenigsberg (@RyanKoenigsberg) July 19, 2019
And definitely don’t start asking him about when rookie quarterbacks will start - because despite Drew Lock’s impressive throws on Thursday, Fangio still sees a very raw player - with some talent no doubt - that needs coaching first.
But Fangio is not without praise for his young quarterback. He knows that Lock is not only a rookie but coming from a college system (like most rookie QBs) that is nothing like the pros.
And the fact that Lock was “under duress” for many of his college snaps means he learned to make plays running around, often throwing side arm. Fangio is interested in helping Lock learn when he should use that raw talent and when he needs to be more of a true quarterback.
“I think a quarterback that can change his arm angles is a positive when it’s needed. ...but if I’m here strong in the pocket, I want to throw over the top, nice and strong and not rely on side arm,” Fangio said, adding that that’s why he says Lock isn’t NFL-ready just yet.
“He’s not a quarterback yet,” Fangio noted. “He’s a hard-throwing pitcher that doesn’t know how to pitch yet, so the faster he gets that, the better off he’ll be and we’ll be.”
But Lock is far from the only player getting some of Fangio’s technique attention. The new head coach has made “fundamentals” his mantra from the day he came to Dove Valley - and he has no intention of changing that even throughout the season.
“We stressed it from day one in the offseason. We’ll continue to stress it until the end of the season,” Fangio said on Thursday. “Fundamentals are what lead you victory. You can’t let them slack. Scheme is secondary, fundamentals are primary — that’s what we are going to be all about.”
Chris Harris Jr. understands. Asked what’s different this year, he laughed and said “it’s quieter,” referring to the lack of music. But the longest tenured Bronco (along with Von Miller), got serious when he gave his real answer: “A lot of learning and a lot of coaching and learning.”
Derek Wolfe laughs when he was asked about his coach having an “old-school” mentality.
“I think he is just an old school guy. I haven’t heard him tell a story about an old player post-1990,” Wolfe joked. “Everything is from like the 80s.”
But the defensive scheme is no joke to Wolfe who seriously loves the defense. I mean, he really LOVES it. But he’s not going to tell you much about it because, well, that would give away key information.
Instead, he’d like fans to know that everything about this new season is making him “less grumpy” than his normal self.
“I really do love playing in this defense. I think we have a winning formula. I think that we have a great head coach. I think that he has a great team around him, as far as assistant coaches go. I think that we have a really talented team,” Wolfe said. “It’s really in our hands. It doesn’t matter what anyone else does, it matters what we do.”
Have to imagine that perspective on the role of this team makes Fangio happy.
He may even go home and put on a little music. Did I mention he does like music?
Just not during practice.
And his tunes of choice include Earth, Wind and Fire and Michael Jackson.
Vic Freaking Fangio.