After three seasons of sub-par offensive and special teams play, Broncos coach Vic Fangio was fired early Sunday morning.
There had been a considerable amount of talk about retaining Vic to run his defense that was, surprisingly enough, in the top half of the league, but it was deficiencies elsewhere that ultimately did him in.
The Broncos offense was dead-on-arrival all year. While people will spend considerable time this offseason continuing to debate Lock vs. Bridgewater, the true offensive deficiency sat in the coaches box. Pat Shurmur was obscenely awful at his job. When it became apparent that he wasn’t going to change anything to help the offense find their way, Fangio should have shown Shurmur the door weeks, if not months, ago.
Tom McMahon’s special teams weren’t any better. In fact, were it not for Shurmur’s total incompetence with the offense, poor special teams play would have been the hallmark of Fangio’s tenure in Denver... and yet, McMahon was allowed to stay despite complete failure within his phase of the game.
There was a lot to like about Vic Fangio. When he was hired, I was sure that the defensive mastermind was going to reverse fortunes in Denver. He talked a terrific game, “death by inches” being his hallmark phrase. It turns out that those inches weren’t at all important when his handpicked coordinators allowed death by feet, yards, and at the end, miles. Apparently, when the introductory press conference was over, Vic lost his tape measure.
There once was a coach in Denver who wanted a team that wouldn’t go into the end of their season without “kicking and screaming.” When it became apparent that Shurmur and McMahon weren’t it, there was no kicking and no screaming. There was no effort to separate himself from the coordinators who were the anvil deployed from the loony tunes parachute. Fangio embraced his flawed coordinators until the three of them and the 2021 season slipped below the ice-cold surface of irrelevancy.
The failed Fangio regime will be remembered by the profound lack accountability. From a faceless and obscenely unaccountable (Joe Ellis) trust that runs the team to a brilliant defensive coach who lacked the confidence to pull the plug on those that were quite literally drowning the team. It’s this lack of accountability is the hallmark of a Broncos team that hasn’t had a winning season in 6-years; the worst stretch in my lifetime.
On Sunday, the Denver Broncos turned the page on the Shurmur, McMahon, Fangio triumvirate of ineptitude. Here’s hoping that the next guy they give the headset to has the huevos to institute a standard of success for coaches and players that they’ll stick to.
Time to turn this ship around, Mr. Paton.
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