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Fangio: 0-3 ‘sucks’ ... but the team doesn’t

The head coach knows the win-loss record doesn’t reflect the improvement of the players, so it’s a challenge to keep them focused on the positive steps forward.

Denver Broncos v Green Bay Packers Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Vic Fangio knows it “sucks” to be 0-3, and he’s not sugarcoating that with his team.

When the first question at his presser today was what he thought of Emmanuel Sanders’ comment on Sunday that the Broncos were “living in a world of suck” right now, the coach told reporters where Sanders got that idea.

From him.

“He was just repeating what I had said in the locker room after the game,” the head coach said point blank. “I told them, we’re going to have to deal with everybody thinking we suck. All of us, not just players — coaches, everybody, the whole organization — we need to deal with that. He was basically just repeating what I had said.”

He added that the way out of sucking is to fight through it and make good decisions on just what to change.

“You just have a strong upper lip, look at the positives, realize what the negatives are, do your best to correct those negatives and know who you are as a person, as a team and as a player and as a coach,” Fangio said, adding what he’s learned after 30 years in the NFL - “it’s not all a bed of roses.”

Quoting the saying that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results isn’t very smart, the coach pointed out that wholesale changes aren’t necessarily the answer either.

“You just fight through it. The easiest thing to do is to just make wholesale changes, whether it’d be personnel, scheme, this, that or the other thing,” he said, adding that change just for change’s sake isn’t very smart either. “We’ve got to operate that fine line as a staff and realize what we’re doing. Are the mistakes we’re making correctable? And then make a good and intelligent decision.”

Fangio didn’t let the media off the hook either. Part of the “world of suck” attitude comes from players seeing headline after headline and listening to pundit after pundit say an 0-3 record means the team sucks - which can hurt the delicate morale of a locker room.

But Fangio definitely doesn’t believe this of the team.

“I think that’s the landscape of the NFL. You guys [media] help perpetuate that, too,” Fangio said. “For us to just have our heads in the sand and know that may not happen would be bad on our part, so we have to talk about it. I think we have the right kind of guys in here, and I think after we talk about it, everybody will move forward with the right frame of mind.”

Not only does Fangio thinks he has the right kind of guys to ignore the noise but also to win games.

“We’ve got the players here to win,” Fangio said, adding that “turning things around” is about the next game. “When you say turn around, I’m just looking to get to this game. I’m not looking at the entire season. We’ve just got to figure out a way to go out and play our best and cleanest game this week. And yes, I do think we can.”

Fans like to criticize coaches in pressers for just “talking about it” and not doing it, but Fangio’s belief seems in earnest. The fact that the team has improved from game to game and that coaching has improved game to game is a testament to this - even if he can’t make words in press conference magically turn into wins on the field.

“I believe in these players,” he said. “They’re trying their butts off. We just have to play a little bit better. Along with that, we have to coach better. If we’re breaking down fundamentally in certain areas at critical times, that is an indictment on us as coaches too, not just the players.”

Fangio no doubt feels some pressure for the defense in particular to be better since he has been touted as a defensive genius. But the best way to start getting some positive stats on sacks and turnovers, he says, is to “keep grinding away.”

The fact that teams have keyed on Von Miller and Bradley Chubb by running the ball more and throwing quick passes hasn’t made it any easier, Fangio noted, as well as having to play from behind.

“We’ve been behind most of the time in all these games, and I think they’re willing to accept that until we can change it,” the coach said. “We’ve got to change it by playing better defense to where we can get into some more passing situations.

“We had some nice rush on a couple of the third downs yesterday. Albeit they didn’t result in sacks, but they did result in incompletions,” he added. “It’s still there that we’ve gone three games without one, which is highly unusual. I acknowledge that, but we’ve got to get better there.”

But the coach also doesn’t want to blame the lack of production on learning a new scheme - something he said “doesn’t have to be hard” but “in this case has been,” which is an interesting comment.

“I don’t think we’ve played terrible, but we haven’t played good enough to win,” he said, adding that while the stats look “OK,” he would definitely like to see more stops and takeaways from the defense - something both the players and coaches are expecting. “I know I’m not really answering your question. It doesn’t have to be [hard.]”


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