Why did Broncos fire Vic Fangio? Offensive struggles, third straight losing season ends tenure in Denver

The Broncos made Vic Fangio the first coach to feel the sting of “Black Monday,” though the organization didn’t bother to wait to fire the third-year coach. announcing the decision to fire him before Sunday’s games after the Broncos’ 28-24 loss to the Chiefs on Saturday.

The loss left Denver 7-10 on the season, marking the third consecutive losing season with Fangio leading the way. Still, the Broncos had a small, if unlikely, chance of making the playoffs before the Week 17 game roster. But a 34-13 loss to the Chargers officially eliminated the team from contention, which it did. that Saturday’s game was little more than glorified scrimmage, as well as affecting the draft order.

It’s easy to point to Fangio’s low 19-30 record as the reason for his firing, but there were obvious underlying issues at play in Denver, most notably the Broncos’ inability to execute an effective offense, particularly at the quarterback position. . Those problems probably played a big role in Denver’s decision.

With that, Sporting News explains why the Broncos decided to leave Fangio after just his third season at the helm:

Why did the Broncos fire Vic Fangio?

Broncos president Joe Ellis and general manager George Paton both release statements following Fangio’s firing, thanking him for his work and laying the groundwork for future Denver teams:

Fangio also released a statement, thanking the Broncos and suggesting that there is already a basis for the team to compete in future seasons.

Despite the work Fangio did to build the team roster, the Broncos never won more than seven games in a season with him leading the way, going 7-9 in 2019, 5-11 in 2020 and 7-10 in 2021. The best the team has finished in the AFC West was second, in Fangio’s first season; they finished fourth in 2020 and 2021.

A significant factor in the Broncos’ record under Fangio has been his inability to produce good offensive production. Below are the Broncos’ year-by-year offensive numbers and corresponding 2019-21 rankings; They finished in the bottom half of the league every year in total offense, passing offense and scoring offense and never finished better than 12th in rushing offense.

Year total offense passing offense hasty offense scoring offense
2019 298.6 yp (28) 194.7 years (28) 103.9 yp (20) 17.6 points per game (28)
2020 335.6 (23) 215.7 (26) 119.9 (13) 20.2 points per game (28)
2021 330.5 (19) 211.4 (19) 119.1 (12) 19.7 (22)

A big part of that has been teams’ inability to find a franchise quarterback, something Fangio himself pointed out when explaining the distance between the Broncos and the rest of the AFC West. Fangio has gone through six quarterbacks in three seasons, including Joe Flacco, Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater, among others.

Bridgewater in 2021 had the best season of any of those quarterbacks, completing 285 of 426 passes (66.9 percent) for 3,052 yards and 18 yards for seven interceptions. He also added 106 yards and two touchdowns on the road to bring the Broncos to a 7-7 record. Drew Lock, who made the other three starts for the Broncos this season, was 0-3 and completed 67 of 111 passes (60.4 percent) for 787 yards and two touchdowns for two interceptions.

If the Broncos want to take the next step toward the playoffs and Super Bowl contention, they must find a franchise quarterback to lead the way. The Broncos have three potential quarterbacks they could target in trade this offseason, including Russell Wilson of the Seahawks, Aaron Rodgers of the Packers and Deshaun Watson of the Texans. In fact, Rodgers was tied to Denver before the 2021 season, with many speculating that he could play for the Broncos before his eventual return to the Packers.

The person who ultimately takes over for Fangio will be tasked with finding the team’s future quarterback, whether it’s through trades, free agency or the 2022 NFL Draft.

Who will replace Vic Fangio in Denver?

Denver has no shortage of candidates to choose from when it comes to replacing Fangio, whether in the form of former NFL head coaches or assistants ready to be promoted to head coach for the first time. Considering Fangio’s propensity for defense, Paton is likely to change course and opt for an offensive-minded coach.

One candidate is Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who has worked with quarterback Patrick Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid to create one of the most powerful offenses in the NFL. The fact that teams have continued to overlook it has drawn attention; Will the Broncos try to get stronger by weakening their AFC West opponents?

Other options include former 49ers coach and current coach Jim Harbaugh, who led San Francisco to a Super Bowl in just his second season in 2012. Bill O’Brien, former Texans coach and current Alabama offensive coordinator. , could also be an interesting candidate. Especially considering that his biggest flaws in Houston were related to his role as general manager. However, O’Brien may not be interested in a team that doesn’t have an obvious future quarterback.

Vic Fangio’s contract

Fangio signed a four-year contract in 2019, with a team option for 2023. Fangio did not make it to the fourth year of his original contract, which averaged $ 5.5 million in salary per year.