© 2024 ALLCITY Network Inc.
All rights reserved.
INDIANAPOLIS — Vic Fangio is a simple man. He doesn’t ask for much more than a comfy pair of sweats and a good Italian meal. He writes his gameplan down on paper, and his happy place is in the film room.
But when it comes to his new job as head coach of the Denver Broncos, he does have one very-specific request.
On Wednesday, during the first day of festivities at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, Fangio was asked at least one question about almost every position group on his football team, and to almost every question, he gave a very general answer—something along the lines of, “We can get better everywhere.”
But when it came to one position, Fangio’s position of expertise, he didn’t hesitate to make his demands known.
“We need to add to that group,” he said when asked directly about the Broncos’ inside linebackers.
“I like some of the players we do have available there in Todd Davis, Josey Jewell and other players that have played in backup roles,” he added, tacking on the necessary coach speak. “But I’d like to see us add a player or two there to be competitive… The ILB position has become a much more demanding position where the talent level has gone up.”
During the 30 minutes or so that Fangio spoke with the media on Wednesday, nothing was as frank and straight forward as that. The new head coach needs his man.
Remember, on their way to becoming the best defense in the league in 2018, the Chicago Bears, with Fangio as their coordinator, made two massive moves. The biggest, of course, was trading for Khalil Mack, who gave them a lethal pass rusher. The other came with the 10th pick in the draft, when Chicago selected the top linebacker on the board, Roquan Smith out of Georgia.
As we know, the Broncos don’t need any help in the pass-rushing department, but as Fangio made obvious, the same can’t be said for that other position.
Now the ball is in John Elway’s court. Elway has notably avoided spending premium draft capital on inside linebackers in the past, and likely has some buyer’s remorse on the semi-big contract he gave Brandon Marshall two years ago, but when the Broncos’ GM hired the 60-year-old defensive coordinator, he certainly did so with the knowledge that he was hiring a linebackers guy.
In fact, it could be argued that Fangio is the best linebackers coach in the history of the NFL, but as the Broncos’ new man would tell you himself, great players make great coaches. Whether it’s in free agency—with a player like C.J. Mosley or Kwon Alexander—or in the draft—with a player like Devin White or Devin Bush—it’s now up to Elway to put his feelings on the position aside and empower his new head coach.