Two Gameday Changes Broncos Should Consider Making Around Vic Fangio
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.