Probably the most important thing we learned from the Denver Broncos after their 24-15 preseason defeat to the San Francisco 49ers is that their defensive unit is going to be scary good in 2019. That all comes back to new head coach Vic Fangio and his style of coaching.
The first-team defense held the 49ers starting offense to just 2.1 yards per play and Jimmy Garoppolo to one completion in six attempts for zero yards, an interception bu Isaac Yiadom, and a strip-sack by Bradley Chubb. That kind of domination is a hint at things to come and a culmination of the changes Fangio has brought to the team since being hired earlier this year.
.@49ers v @broncos on #MNF and @ShelbyHarris93 & @astronaut single handedly ruined the #49er offense in the first quarter. Fangio is a football savant and where he goes great defense follows. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/AuFMIq98Df— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) August 20, 2019
The teams best player, Von Miller, put it simply when interviewed on the sideline during the game on Monday night when he talked about the kind of teacher Fangio is and has been throughout Broncos training camp.
“He’s a great teacher,” Miller said. “He explains techniques and simple schemes very well, not only to me but for all the guys on the team and I think that’ll pay dividends for us.”
Pair that sideline statement to Bradley Chubb’s post game interview and you start to see a strong commonality between the players and this new coaching staff. They are all on the same page and totally committed to the process.
“It has for sure definitely grown,” Chubb said of the defense. “You can see all the things that he [Head Coach Vic Fangio] has been teaching us and saying to us, and it’s working. He also gives us little tips now and then, and those help us out too. It’s just about trusting the whole staff and making sure we are coming in everyday with the right mindset. I feel like after last year there was a little bit of a rebellious mindset amongst some of the players that was directed towards the staff, but I feel like everyone is buying in now.”
We saw the rebellious mindset from some defensive players over the last two years and if fans can see it, the issues are probably a lot worse than what we as fans saw. Sometimes change is good and Fangio might just be the perfect guy to come in to get things back on track.
The Broncos defense was always talented the last several season, but now their focus is back. And with that focus, they are coming together on the chemistry side of things.
“We talk to each other like brothers in the locker room, we’re always playing some type of game and bonding with each other,” Chubb said of the defensive unit. “It’s been a long camp, so we had to get to know each other a little better. It’s important to be comfortable with everybody and that everybody respects each other, but also going out there and just playing.”
Aside from Chubb, two other Broncos defenders are poised for big seasons. Shelby Harris had himself a good game along with Chubb on Monday and safety Justin Simmons has been a camp star.
Miller noted he has seen tremendous growth from Chubb this offseason. He thinks he’ll be one scary dude this season. The two of them aim to become the most dangerous pass rushing duo in the NFL.
“He’s going to be even better,” Miller said of Chubb. “He’s been working at everything, not only at get off, hands. He’s been working at everything. He’s going to look like a totally different Bradley Chubb. He won’t even look like he’s got the same jersey on this year. He’s been working hard. It’s super scary.”
Chubb finished the night with one sack and forced fumble, but he also forced an interception and nearly forced another that would have been a pick six had De’Vante Bausby held onto the easy interception.
That kind of play from Chubb and/or Miller is going to make everything easier for the secondary to make the kind of game-changing plays that win games in the NFL. This fan is looking forward to seeing this unfold.