Elway Weighs in on Rich Scangarello's 2019 Body of Work
All told, it’s been an extremely challenging first year for Denver Broncos offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello. The past couple of weeks have probably been the most demanding yet.
Not only did Scangarello have to break in a rookie QB ahead of his first NFL start, he had to deal with his own wings being clipped by his head coach when the matchup vs. the L.A. Chargers came down to the wire.
Vic Fangio appeared to bluntly take credit for overruling his offensive staff in his post- game presser, revealing that he vetoed the initial call to kneel on the ball and play for overtime.
“The first thought that the offensive coach said, ‘just take a knee.’ I said, ‘No’,” Fangio said post-game.
Fangio's refusal to submit to a passive clock-eating kneel-down by boldly opting for game-deciding bomb downfield that drew a pass interference penalty and set up Brandon McManus' walk-off 53-yard field goal worked out sweetly this time around for Denver’s head coach.
Fangio has since largely backtracked from his post-game remarks by downgrading the perceived veto by saying the staff was just working through the most logical late-game analytics and options. He put any internal strife to one side at least but it hardly served to deliver a ringing endorsement of his offensive sidekick.
It fell to GM John Elway to offer some support and guidance to Scangarello this week when he appeared on his weekly show on Broncos TV to explain the difficulties of dealing with changing QBs and running an offense.
“He’s had to adjust a lot, that being said he’s done a heck of a job, a lot of adjustments,” Elway told Broncos TV.
The Broncos jumped from the injured Joe Flacco to an untested backup in Brandon Allen, before inserting the fit-again rookie protégé Drew Lock. It has made it a considerable juggling act of coaching.
With hopes now high that Lock can improve the struggling offense and provide a long-term solution at QB, Elway is fully aware of how hard it has been for the coordinator to prepare three different players to run the system.
“Rich has been through a lot with three different starting QBs," Elway said. I" think he’s done a nice job."
Despite the boss handing out some praise, it’s the recurring issues of poor and anemic second-half performances and play-calling that still stick with and rankle Broncos Country, and Elway the most.
“We’ve struggled in that second half, so it’s a constant effort to be more able, to be more aggressive in that second half and put more points on the board,” Elway said.
The message has undoubtedly been delivered loud and clear to Scangarello for the remaining quarter of the Broncos season and he would be smart to take heed. At least a confident and more physically gifted QB provides a more positive skillset to build upon and design more aggressive game-plans around moving forward.
It all starts with a very tough trip the Lonestar State to face the playoff hungry Houston Texans this Sunday.