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Fangio: Broncos' Divisional Struggles Due to Absence of 'Top-Shelf Quarterback'

One last (?) jab from Uncle Vic.

That sound you hear is Vic Fangio throwing Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater under the bus, then driving over them with it.

In what might have been his final press conference as Denver Broncos head coach, Fangio blamed the team's years-long struggles against AFC West opponents — a paltry 5-13 record since Fangio was hired in 2019 — on the lack of a "top-shelf quarterback" comparable to Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes, Los Angeles' Justin Herbert, or Las Vegas' Derek Carr.

"Those other three teams have top-shelf quarterbacks. ... We just have to get a little bit better. ... I think the foundation is there for the franchise to close the gap," Fangio said after Denver's Week 18 loss to the Chiefs, via beat reporter Aric DiLalla.

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Fangio's opinion obviously does not say much for Broncos QB Drew Lock, who made his third start of the season in Sunday's finale at Empower Field. Lock completed 12-of-24 passes for 162 yards but scored two rushing touchdowns, including a 23-yard scamper, and avoided turnovers amid the 28-24 defeat.

His four rushing attempts were a season-high as offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur finally took advantage of Lock's athleticism and dual-threat capabilities. The operative word being "finally."

“I do feel like if you put me out there, there’s not a play you can’t run with me … I was waiting for an opportunity to show you guys I can run around and they gave that opportunity to me today," Lock said during his postgame presser, via Andrew Mason of DNVR.

It also doesn't say much for Fangio's former hand-picked starter, Bridgewater, whose likely one-and-done stint in Denver ended on injured reserve, the result of a violent Week 15 concussion. And it's quite the about-face from Fangio, who just days ago talked up the veteran's viability as QB1.

"We won seven games with him in there as the starter and I just think Teddy is an NFL starting quarterback that has great intangibles and great qualities that you can’t coach," Fangio claimed on Jan. 6.

Interestingly, Bridgewater (to an extent) "outdueled" Mahomes in the teams' first meeting on Dec. 5, finishing with more passing yards and touchdowns and a better passer rating than the former Super Bowl MVP.

Not that it mattered, because, under this regime, losing is always somebody else's fault.

"I thought Teddy did a lot of good things, we as a team did not do enough," Fangio said after that game, a 19-9 vanquishing at Arrowhead Stadium.



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