Vic Fangio is getting his first shot to be a head coach in the Mile High City. He’s walked at least that far to get there.
The Denver Broncos are expected to hire the longtime defensive coordinator, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday, per sources informed of the situation. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero added Fangio is getting a four-year deal with a fifth-year option.
The 60-year-old Fangio has spent more than half his life coaching in the NFL, including five stops and 19 seasons as a defensive coordinator. His four-year stint with the Chicago Bears culminated in the league’s top scoring defense in 2018.
He faces an interesting rebuild in Denver, particularly on defense. Three years removed from their Super Bowl title, the Broncos are at a crossroads with All-Pro linebacker Von Miller. The eighth-year veteran is coming off another stellar season, but general manager John Elway recently noted that he could have played better and would be open to dealing his best player. Pro Bowl cornerback Chris Harris is reportedly another prime candidate to be shipped out.
Either way, Elway is entrusting Fangio. The Broncos‘ lead decision-maker was seeking a coach that demonstrated dominance on one side of the ball and Fangio fits the bill. His gruff personality was perceived as the primary impediment to him becoming a head coach sooner. His production made him hard to pass up this time around.
Eight of Fangio’s defenses have finished in the top 10 and five have been in the top five — the latter feats all occurring this decade with the Bears and San Francisco 49ers. It was just two years ago that Denver was in the same class. But after four seasons in the top five, the Broncos finished 22nd in total defense in 2018 en route to a 6-10 mark under Vance Joseph, their third playoff-less campaign in a row.
Denver’s offense figures to be revamped as well. Former head coach Gary Kubiak, who led Denver to Super Bowl 50 glory, is expected to be named offensive coordinator, NFL Network’s James Palmer reports. Kubiak went 21-11 in two seasons as Broncos head coach, but he retired following a 9-7 campaign in 2016.
Rapoport reported in November that Kubiak could potentially return to the sidelines in a coordinator role in 2019. Kubiak has served for the past two years as a senior personnel adviser with the Broncos.
Fangio beat out Mike Munchak, who will remain with the Pittsburgh Steelers as offensive line coach, according to NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala.