Goodbye, Uncle Vic.
For the Broncos to move on, Vic Fangio cannot keep up with them. To end this team’s misery, it needs a new quarterback and a new coach.
Prying Aaron Rodgers out of Green Bay or Russell Wilson of Seattle can not happen this week or even next month. So today it must be enough to fire Fangio.
But before he says goodbye to Fangio, is it OK for General Manager George Paton to thank Uncle Vic deeply?
“Is that what we want? Is that good enough? No,” Fangio said Saturday after the Broncos lost to Kansas City for the 13th time in a row.
Finally, Fangio uttered the three words that best describe his tenure in Denver: No. Well. Enough.
Will this misery against the Chiefs ever end? “They’ve dominated AFC West for a long time. And we’re tired of it,” Broncos offensive tackle Garett Bolles said. “I promise you, man, that will change.”
In the final game of yet another humiliating season, the Broncos fought as if there was nothing left to lose, but eventually succumbed to the Chiefs of habit, 28-24, at Empower Field at Mile High, where nearly 15,000 absences voted for, that Uncle Vic must go.
“Until Denver resolves the ownership situation and has genuine leadership, does it really matter?” Broncos fan Jeff Stegeman said. “Do I hear they’re interested in bringing in (Cowboys defensive coordinator) Dan Quinn. Another defensive-minded coach in a league that focuses on the offensive? He’s best known for Falcon’s debacle in Super Bowl LI. He would be a side feature. “
Put me down as an advocate for hiring former Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson. He knows what it takes to be a successful quarterback in the NFL, from supporting Brett Favre as a player to winning the Super Bowl on a night when Nick Foles threw for 373 yards and defeated Tom Brady and the Patriots, 41- 33.
Uncle Vic has to go. But please allow me to add: Doing what is fair to the Fango is not the same as doing the right thing for the Broncos.
It was John Elway who messed it all up after leading Denver to the glory of the Super Bowl 50. Fangio is just the fall guy for a flawed list. His defense, which delivered stingy 18.9 points per game, is solid enough to be a legitimate championship challenger.
But the Broncos finished with a losing record for the fifth year in a row because the plan to win by boring enemies to death with ball control and Teddy Bridgewater as quarterback was flawed from the jump.
Had Denver decided to dedicate 2021 to the development of Drew Lock, would there then be the same disappointment with a record of 7-10? “It lives in me, it breathes in me, and that’s who I am: I’m a quarterback. I want to go out there and lead guys, ”Lock said after throwing 162 yards and fighting for two touchdowns against the Chiefs.
Fangio told me privately on more than one occasion this season that he would look a lot smarter if he only had one really competitive quarterback. So after his 30th defeat in Denver, it was telling when Fangio described the gap between the Broncos and their rivals in the AFC West as follows: “The other three teams have quarterbacks on the top shelf, which is obvious to everyone.”
Fangio does not lose sleep on job security. He has said to me more than once, “If they drive me out of here, I’ll find work in the NFL without any problems.”
Yes, I wish the Broncos could keep him as a defensive coordinator. But that’s not how things work in this league. A head coach does not resign to act as a defensive coordinator for his replacement.
Uncle Vic are good people, the rare trainer who really sees himself more as a servant than a big shooter. So hug me if you may, but I’m sorry to see him leave Denver.
I say that Fangio deserves heartfelt thanks for a team that kicked and screamed until the bitter end.
“A bunch of fighters and competitors … That’s what these guys are. I’m proud to be associated with them,” Fangio said. “I’m not proud of our record. I know, it’s not good enough. I understand it. But I am proud to be connected with our players. “
And so much I know is true: Until the Broncos get hold of this quarterback thing, it will not matter who roams on the sidelines.
Unless Paton can land Rodgers, Wilson or a legit top-10 quarterback, the thankless task of coaching the Broncos will be nothing more than a temporary job whose ultimate reward will be the frustration of inevitable failure.
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