The next head coach of the Broncos has to be the opposite of Vic Fangio
Lists of candidates are already starting to emerge. There is no shortage of names. There are a lot of options to replace Vic Fangio.
The choices will be debated in the coming days. As the Broncos begin the interview process, there will be a lot of discussion about who should be the franchise’s next head coach.
Opinions will vary. Who is on the top of someone’s wish list is dependent on their criteria.
Typically, there’s no right way or wrong way to set those benchmarks. A lot of different kinds of coaches have been successful in the NFL.
But the Broncos need to have a clear picture of what they are looking for before they begin the interview process. They need to have a vision of what their next head coach will look like before the start the search.
It should be really simple to define. They need the opposite of Vic Fangio.
That doesn’t mean the next head coach of the Broncos should be a young guy. It doesn’t mean he has to be an offensive-minded coach. And it doesn’t mean that he needs to have been a head coach before.
Instead, it’s all about the intangibles. The next head coach of the Broncos has to bring the things to the table that were painfully absent in Fangio.
That begins with leadership.
Good leaders take responsibility when things go poorly. And they pass along credit when they go well.
Fangio was the opposite. During his time in Denver, the former head coach was quick to point the finger of blame when the Broncos were losing and quick to praise himself when they were winning.
Nobody thrives in that type of environment. The Broncos need the opposite.
Good leaders also establish a high standard. They hold people accountable for reaching those levels of quality.
Fangio took the job in Denver and talked about “death by inches.” He knew that the little things were beating the Broncos. But he never did anything about them.
Bad special teams play never resulted in coaches being dismissed or demoted. They didn’t lead to players being benched or replaced. There were no consequences for repeated mistakes.
And that’s just one example. Over and over and over again, the Broncos beat themselves with silly mistakes. But they never corrected those problems.
That’s on the head coach. He needs to be the one who establishes an attention to detail, to reinforce on a daily basis that the little things matter.
Good leaders are able to inspire. They help people become better versions of themselves. They encourage them to reach new heights. They push those around them to new heights.
There are a lot of ways to accomplish those things. But typically speaking, there are a few common traits.
Inspirational people tend to have energy. They are typically positive. They are usually excited and passionate.
Fangio was none of those things.
When he pumped his fist after a fourth-down stop this season in Dallas, it was big news. Seeing some enthusiasm from the head coach was that rare.
Compliments were never the former head coach’s forte. He threw them around like manhole covers. Instead, he was constantly downplaying the accomplishments of his players.
Encouragement wasn’t Fangio’s strength, either. It’s hard to remember a moment during his three years in Denver where he gave a player a high-five, patted them on the back, wrapped his arms around them or offered any sort of positive reinforcement.
And good leaders tend to be well-rounded. They are intellectually curious. They are constantly seeking knowledge.
Fangio had no interest in anything other than his defense. He didn’t care about the Broncos offense. So long as that side of the ball wasn’t making mistakes and putting his defense in trouble, Fangio was hands off.
He also didn’t have any interest in adapting. He was going to play his style, using his system, no matter what. The result was a total lack of creativity.
Vic Fangio is a good football coach. From an X’s and O’s standpoint, he knows the game.
But being a head coach is about much more than schemes and systems. It’s about establishing a standard, taking responsibility, inspiring others and creating a positive culture. Fangio was dreadful on all of those fronts.
That’s why the next head coach of the Broncos has to be the opposite of the previous one.
It doesn’t matter if he’s young or old, experienced or green, offensive- or defensive-minded. It only matters that they’re a great leader.
That’s been missing in Denver. And the Broncos have to find it.