The Denver Broncos went against the tide of offense on Wednesday morning, hiring Vic Fangio to become their next head coach.
Four teams hired new head coaches prior to the Broncos making their choice on Wednesday. All were offensive minds. John Elway decided to buck that trend, hiring former Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio for the job.
Fangio comes into the position with a sterling reputation as a defensive wizard. This season, the 60-year-old led Chicago to the league’s best defense, bolstered by All-Pro talent dotting the roster. Now he heads to Denver, where Von Miller and Bradley Chubb eagerly await his arrival.
Elway has paired Fangio with Gary Kubiak, hoping for the marriage to produce immediate results. Kubiak will serve as offensive coordinator, a role he played with the Broncos from 1995-2005. Of course, Kubiak was also the head coach in Denver in 2015 and ’16, winning a Super Bowl.
With Kubiak on the staff, the Broncos should be well-positioned. Fangio has never been a head coach at any level prior to this appointment, but now has an experienced hand to lean on. Additionally, Kubiak can take charge on the offensive side, while Fangio oversees and puts together a dominating defense.
After missing the playoffs for three straight years, Elway now looks to reload. Case Keenum has one year left on his deal, which could put the Broncos in the market this spring for his long-term replacement. Denver also needs to make plans for improving the offensive line, where former first-round pick Garret Bolles has struggled mightily at left tackle, and Jared Veldheer was a mess on the right side.
With the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers arguable the two best teams in the AFC, the Broncos had to be both aggressive and bold. The combination of Fangio and Kubiak qualifies as such. If it works, Denver could be in the thick of a playoff race this time next year.