Three-time Super Bowl champion and former Denver Bronco Mark Schlereth gave a blunt assessment of Vic Fangio’s head coaching credentials as the Broncos get set to start their 2021 season.
Schlereth – a member of Denver’s 50th Anniversary Team – questioned Fangio’s credentials as an NFL head coach during an insightful appearance on ESPN’s Keyshawn, J-Will and Max.
Vic’s on the Hot Seat
“I think it should be hot,” Schlereth said when asked if Fangio should be on the hot seat.
“I think the bottom line is oftentimes – and we joke around here in Denver, but it’s not really a joke, jokes are always funny because there’s always partial truth to them – Vic Fangio is really the coach of the defense. He’s kept the play-calling duties on the defensive side of the ball.
“After practice they (Denver media) ask him about offensive things [and he says] ‘Oh, I don’t know, I was watching the defense I’ll have to go back and watch the film.’ There’s some things that just don’t seem, they just don’t seem like head coach material.”
Fangio has had an underwhelming time as head coach at Mile High. Since his arrival in 2019 the Broncos have a combined record of 12-20, only eight NFL teams – Atlanta, Carolina, Washington, Detroit, Jacksonville and both New York clubs – had a lower win total during this time.
AFC West rivals, Los Angeles Chargers, have an identical record to the Broncos (12-20) since 2019. Interestingly they – along with the eight teams aforementioned – have a different head coach to the man in charge at the beginning of the 2019 season.
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‘Saves Timeouts Like He Can Sell Them on eBay’
Schlereth didn’t dispute Fangio’s tactical nouse, however he did illuminate an area of concern in his mind.
“I always say this about head coaches — I travel around the league for Fox and calling games and talking to head coaches all the time — there are guys, regardless of their knowledge of X’s and O’s, there are guys that are just good managers,” Schlereth told Keyshawn, J-Will and Max.
“They do a great job of coaching coaches and letting the players kind of play and understanding strengths and weaknesses in putting guys in positions to maximize strengths and minimize weaknesses.
“They have this kind of overall CEO type of view of their football team and they let their coaches coach and I think sometimes, even as an offensive play-caller or defensive play-caller, you get so entrenched in that way of thinking that you lose sight of some of the management parts of the game on Sundays. And that really is where Vic has struggled, in the management sections of the games, timeouts – you know he saves timeouts like he can sell them on eBay.
“At some point you’ve gotta use them and you’ve gotta strategize and so that’s been a real issue and then obviously when you’re 7-9 and 5-11 under Vic Fangio in two years and you haven’t produced – even on the defensive side you were like 27th, 28th in the league last year – and I understand you had a bunch of injuries but the bottom line [is] none of it has been very good so far.
“You’re 0-7 in September and your turnover differential is -8, you’ve turned it over 10 times under his tutelage and you’ve only taken the ball away twice. You’re going to be on the hot seat.”
According to PFF, the 2020 Broncos ranked 24th overall, 31st in offense, 7th in defense and last in special teams.
Follow Patrick Djordjevic on Twitter: @Patdjordjevic