Two Gameday Changes Broncos Should Consider Making Around Vic Fangio

Erick Trickel

In the 16-14 loss to the Tennessee Titans, Denver Broncos' head coach once again showed a huge weakness — and it boils down to his inexperience. Vic Fangio simply doesn't know how to properly manage the game clock, especially in critical moments when his defense is on the field, and something he said on Tuesday provided a glaring insight into why it's an issue. 

Unfortunately, this insight only creates a bigger issue.

During his press conference on Tuesday, Fangio accepted blame for the poor clock management vs. the Titans and to paraphrase him, said that he was too focused on what to call next for the defense. That is something head coaches have to pay attention to, after all, but managing the game is the priority. 

This leads to a question as to whether Fangio needs more help on the sideline. Although he said on Wednesday that he has no plans to change his clock-management M.O., it's a problem that needs to be addressed sooner than later. 

To fix it, there are a couple of possible solutions Fangio could consider going forward: 

1: Fangio hands the defensive play-calling duties over to defensive coordinator Ed Donatell. 

2: The Broncos hire a coach or staffer who has the specific job of managing the clock, allowing Fangio to focus elsewhere. 

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Of course, the option of doing both is on the table but really only one of them needs to happen.

Having your head coach calling plays isn't atypical in the NFL, especially on offense. When it comes to defense, though, the success of the head coach wanes with next-to-no proven success of the coach calling the plays and still winning games, at least, not in the modern era. Bill Belichick did it in 2010 and 2011 where the Patriots won 27-of-32 regular-season games they played. 

However, Belichick also did it in 2000 where New England went 5-11 and so he handed the play-calling duties over the next year. Relinquishing the play-calling duties can be done, but Belichick is a future Hall-of-Fame head coach and benefitted from having a certain quarterback for two decades to take the pressure off the defense.

Something needs to change with Fangio's approach. In four of the 17 games as the Broncos' head coach, the defense has had the lead with under 30 seconds to go but still lost. Each of those games had obvious moments where the clock management was a major issue, but none was more evident than the Titans game. 

Follow Erick on Twitter @ErickTrickel and @MileHighHuddle. 

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Comments (16)
No. 1-6

Why not just hire a real head coach then?


I agree with on all your points leaving the game with 2 timeouts is inexcusable no matter what excuse you come up with. My question is with both Munchak and Shurmur having head coaching experience one of them should have seen what was developing and got in Fangio’s ear and helped him out so why didn’t they? A coaching staff should work together in all situations and when the 2 minute warning happened and the Titans were 15 yards away from FG range one of them should have explained the situation a FG was coming miss or make and the offense needed time because I don’t think anybody thought Gostkowski would miss another one.


I’m sure there is someone on the staff that can help him with clock management, but if not, I’ll make myself available. I’m willing to make the sacrifice for the good of the team.


Mental acuity required. There's a reason young coaches are hired. That Fangio took days to realize his poor clock management doesn't bode well. His continued denial of the changes required means the next close loss is not far on the horizon.

Fangio other monumental issue is that his two minute defense is as predictable as exodus.


More importantly than clock management. The fact that these teams, often with average QB’s are able to score or kick game winning field goals gaining the necessary yards with such little time left is a direct reflection of not adjusting to stop them from advancing at all!! We should be sacking the qb or Stopping them from getting first downs to keep their game winning drives alive, especially with less than 30 seconds!!


Championship caliber teams have clutch players on both sides of the ball when the games on the line! Like basketball, many players can have exceptional nights. But very few want and can score the game winning shot! Needs to be Lock on the offense and without Von, one of these guys need to make that game winning play! Chubb, Simmons, Jackson or Johnson on D!