It’s always interesting to get some outside perspective on the Broncos. When it comes from a former coach who knows Vic Fangio well, and has worked with him before, my ears start to perk up.
KOA Insider, Brandon Krisztal caught up with former Ravens head coach Brian Billick while he was at the Super Bowl and aired the interview on his podcast yesterday.
Back when Fangio was first hired last year, Billick was a strong advocate for Vic, and applauded the move Denver made.
“Vic is one of the best, smartest coaches I’ve ever been around,” Billick said. “When he was on my staff (in 2006), he was kind of in a consultant capacity… I was doing the play-calling, and so I kind of used him as my alter-ego; to keep me focused on head-coaching things that I needed to be focused on while I was play-calling.
“He’s brilliant. He’s an outstanding coach; he’ll do a great job. Great hire,” Billick continued. “I think he’ll take that defense to a whole other level.”
Billick also commented on the hire of Mike Munchak, then as well.
“The best offensive line coach in football.”
“What [Munchak] did for the Pittsburgh Steelers to bring them along was brilliant,” Billick said. “I think it’s a huge, huge, brilliant move for the Broncos.”
High praise for both coaches, and it is evident when hearing him talk that Billick has a lot of respect for coach Fangio.
Krisztal asked how he thought Fangio’s first year went, and here is what Billick said.
“The first year is always tough. You’re coming to a team that by nature getting the job because they need a change; need to change the culture, they need to change the direction, and you’re doing it with an unsettled quarterback situation.”
Billick qualified that he wasn’t trying to make excuses. I think he did a good job laying out the reality Fangio walked into when he arrived last year.
Another thing he mentioned was that Fangio has now put together his staff, and said that it’s actually really hard to get your staff perfectly dialed in when you first arrive, mainly due to timing. You have to work with who’s available the year you’re hired.
So now, Fangio has Pat Shurmur to round out his group of already really experienced coaches. Billick also praised the Shurmur hire, and said Vic had put together an “outstanding staff” overall.
It’s nice to hear from outside voices and especially one that knows Vic so well and is plugged into the NFL circles that Denver seems to be trending in the right direction, and has the leadership in place to get them there.
Here’s to a big 2nd season for both Vic Fangio and his quarterback.