Fire Vic Fangio?

What, are you crazy?

Yes, the Denver Broncos are in a tough place. Yes, they’ll miss the playoffs for a fifth straight year. And yes, they’ve been awful on offense and completely lost on special teams.

But, no, Fangio won’t be fired. Not tonight — when his Broncos almost certainly are beaten into submission by the World Champion Chiefs — and not at the end of this year, either.

Two years into the Vic Fangio Era and things around the Mile High City have improved. The easiest way to see that is to look at the defensive side of the ball, where Fangio specializes.

Denver’s defense improved from 2018-19 in terms of points per game allowed (21.8-19.8) under Fangio and last year’s team was top-5 in both passing and rushing touchdowns allowed. In fact, when many hopeful Broncos fans pointed to the fact the team went 4-1 to finish last year as a reason why Drew Lock would turn into “the guy” the real reason Denver won those games was the defense.

Down that stretch they allowed 106.8 yards per game on the ground and forced 7 turnovers. Fangio’s defense also averaged 3 sacks per game over the last five games.

And in 2019, the new head coach shook things up a bit by benching Adam Gotsis in favor of unknown free agent Mike Purcell. Purcell went on to be the best interior defensive lineman in terms of run-stuffing in the NFL in 2019 per Pro Football Focus. Fangio found another hidden talent on his team too, in Alexander Johnson. Johnson had been out of the football for three years and enjoyed a stellar breakout season last year.

Denver’s defense has taken a step backwards this year statistically (27.1 PPG) but it’s fair to note the offense has not done them many favors. The Broncos currently rank dead-last in the NFL with 26 turnovers as Drew Lock has been basically the worst quarterback in the NFL.

It’s not just that Lock has struggled, he was also injured which led to Jeff Driskel and Brett Rypien each starting a game. And then last week his total lack of leadership led him to missing the blowout loss to the Saints. Fangio did the right thing when he called out that lack of leadership, but the head coach also must be concerned at the abysmal offensive production in back-to-back years and with two different coordinators.

And special teams, well, they’ve been just as bad as they were under Vance Joseph. They’ve allowed the second-highest return yards average (28.7) and a touchdown on a kickoff, too. And they’re 24th in punt return yardage allowed.

When it comes to the team overall, they don’t seem completely out-matched and underprepared like they were under Joseph. And it’s clear the offense has major issues while the special teams unit needs to start over from scratch.

The negatives in Fangio’s personal coaching? He’s been terrible at managing the clock at the end of halves and games. And, his challenges leave fans wondering what the hell he’s thinking at times. (Like the clear catch last week, with Denver down too much, too late.)

So, what does Fangio have to do next year?

He has to figure out if Pat Shurmur will stay or go on the offensive side of the ball. Of course, that’s more likely a John Elway-led decision, but hopefully Fangio has some say as well. Shurmur’s offense may not mesh well with Lock’s play style, but is Lock the QB of the future? And if they hire a new coordinator, will that set the offense back again? It’s hard to know for sure.

On special teams, he should fire Tom McMahon and restart that unit from the ground up.

And on the big picture things — like challenges and timeouts — he must improve, whether that means having help from a staff member upstairs or any other creative solution the team may have.

But that’s the point; Fangio will have at least Year 3 to figure things out in the Mile High City.

Denver’s defense would likely be a top-10 unit this year if they weren’t on the field too often and defending a short field due to turnovers. Fangio’s excelled in that area, and he knows where the team must improve for him to earn a fourth year.

If the Broncos can’t markedly improve in 2021, then Fangio will be on the hot seat. But for now, he can rest easy knowing he won’t be fired, even if (when) Andy Reid’s Chiefs blow out Denver tonight on national television.