Vic Fangio Sends Strong Message on Broncos’ 2021 Roster

Peyton Manning

Getty Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos looks at the Vince Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. The Broncos defeated the Panthers 24-10.

Broncos Country is on a high, and rightly so. It seems their head coach is also feeling pretty good ahead of Denver’s Sunday night matchup against Kansas City in Week 13.

The 6-5 Broncos have won two of their past three games and most recently took care of the Los Angeles Chargers in commanding fashion. It has been a rollercoaster season for the Broncos–losing Von Miller via trade, the highs of beating the Cowboys and Chargers, to the lows of losing to Las Vegas, Cleveland and Philadelphia particularly.

The truth is Sunday night could bring a euphoria not seen in Denver since Super Bowl 50, or it could quite equally be another false dawn. Broncos fans have seen plenty of those throughout the years and indeed this season too.

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Fangio: This Is Our Best Team Since 2015

Fangio has been under immense pressure at various stages throughout the Broncos’ 2021 campaign but his belief in the squad has never wavered. Now, with the biggest game of the past six seasons on the horizon, he believes they can break the Kansas City curse.

The Broncos have not beaten the 2020 Super Bowl champs in any of their past 11 games. Incredibly, the last Denver victory against the Chiefs was September 17, 2015 — before their Super Bowl 50 success. Despite history well and truly residing with the Chiefs, Fangio is sure his team can overturn the tide.

“We’re better than the recent Broncos teams,” Fangio told reporters, November 29. “Even the ones before I got here since the 2014 or ‘15 [season]—whenever it was. We’ve got a better team.”

Perhaps this team is better than its previous iterations, though the current Broncos are certainly in better shape than early on in the season. Much has to do with crafty work from general manager George Paton, bringing in the likes of linebacker Kenny Young from Los Angeles.

“He’s bought in from the first day I met him since he got here,” Fangio said of the 26-year-old. “I mean I’m sure he was disappointed with the trade. It just upsets your daily lifestyle. You’ve got to move, this and that. I know he has a dog. He didn’t bring the dog with him, so he’s been lonely. He’s been good since he got here with trying to buy in and trying to do [well].”

Young has impressed since arriving in Denver, amassing 18 tackles, nine solo, across his four-game career in orange and blue. “He’s a very energetic guy,” Fangio revealed. “He plays hard, plays fast. He likes football, likes contact, and he’s been a really good addition.”

Chiefs Are Back to Their Old Selves

Broncos fans may feel aggrieved for not getting a chance to play Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs earlier in the season during their apparent Super Bowl hangover. Now, they’re a much different prospect, as the Broncos’ head coach attested to.

“You’ve got to come out and play,” Fangio said. “Obviously with who we’re playing this week, they know that. I didn’t get to see the Chiefs earlier in the season when they had some struggles, but they’re back to being the Chiefs again.

“It’s like you guys always ask me in May when the schedule comes out and you make these this, that, and the other. The answer I give every year [is] it depends when you play them, how they’re playing, who are they missing, who are you missing, and what kind of stretch are they going through? They’re back to being themselves now.”

If the Denver defense can replicate its suffocating performance against Los Angeles, then Mahomes and co. may return to the inconsistent Chiefs of September and October.

Broncos Country can only hope.

Follow Patrick Djordjevic on Twitter: @Patdjordjevic

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