Kiszla: Why only his second regular-season game on Broncos sideline is a must-win for coach Vic Fangio

After waiting until age 61 to coach his first official NFL game, Vic Fangio could be doomed to failure with the Broncos after only his second regular-season game.

Beat the Bears? Fangio has no other choice.

Yes, it’s early. But this is a must-win for Denver’s rookie head coach.

As a defensive genius, Fangio should know every weakness of quarterback Mitch Trubisky and his offensive teammates in Chicago, where Fangio worked last season.

Lose this game, and Fangio won’t be the head coach in Denver for long. I would give him two seasons on the job, max.

A harsh assessment? Maybe.

But ask Wade Phillips or Josh McDaniels how Broncos Country treats coaches who fail to get this franchise into legitimate championship contention quickly.

I love Uncle Vic. More importantly, so do his players. But during his Monday Night Football debut with the Broncos, Fangio did not look ready for prime time.

In addition to poor clock management late in the opening half and precisely the sort of dumb, death-by-inches penalties (block in the back, illegal formation) he vowed not to tolerate, Fangio was pushed into perpetual check during the chess match with Oakland counterpart Jon Gruden.

The Raiders’ tactics reduced Denver linebacker Von Miller to a harmless pawn and relentlessly exposed cornerback Isaac Yiadom, with nary a meaningful response from Fangio.

Excuses? Well, as a defensive coordinator, Fangio had a birds-eye view of every adjustment that needed to be made from his perch atop the stadium. He warned us moving to the sideline as head coach would not be easy.

“I think I said that was going to be a big adjustment, and that was probably a mistake, because I keep getting asked about it. But it’s fine, really,” Fangio said Wednesday. “The other thing you have to be as the head coach is on top of all the situations that could happen while you’re on offense, whereas in the past, in between series you could bury yourself in the defense. You can’t do that quite as much on a consistent basis now. All of that you’ve got to juggle.”

There’s a learning curve for Fangio, and the steep price was the loss in Oakland.

One of the tougher steps for any coach is that one rung up the ladder from top assistant to the man in charge, because every decision (and blunder) suddenly gets mercilessly second-guessed in every corner of the Twitterverse.

Being a head coach is all about never letting them see you sweat under the bright lights. Bears coach Mike Nagy suggests Fangio is in some ways “very introverted.” Hmm, maybe that’s not the ideal attribute for a gig that allows nowhere to hide in the shadows.


“No,” Fangio insisted. “I’m just at times calculated with what I say. I take in all the information and wait for the facts, rather than dive into a filibuster debate.”

Could Fangio enjoy big success with the Broncos should he start his career 0-2? Well, anything’s possible. But put it this way: It’s a trick Fangio would be unwise to attempt.

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Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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