When anyone talks about the Denver Broncos this season, two things always seem to be associated with each other: the blame game and Drew Lock. Lock has been getting A LOT of criticism this season, and rightfully so. He has fully regressed after a hot 4-1 finish to the season last year.
As a matter of fact, the Broncos problems go deeper than their issues at QB. People forget that Drew Lock has not even started 20 games in his career, and that he has not had a full offseason to prepare for the grind that is being a starting QB in the NFL. People should cut him a break, and look at the real problem in Denver: coaching across the ENTIRE staff.
Vic Fangio, the head coach of the Denver Broncos, is a defensive mastermind. Denver’s defense does not have a lot of big names outside from Justin Simmons, Von Miller, and Bradley Chubb. Fangio has kept them playing at a high level.
However, Fangio has a lot of flaws in his coaching methods. Take the Chiefs game for example. In the first half, instead of opting to punt, and pin the Chiefs deep right before halftime, Fangio opted to kick a 58 yard field goal into the windy Kansas City air. Kicker Brandon McManus missed it wide right, and the Chiefs got the ball around midfield, and were able to score three points before halftime. Instead of being up 10-6 at halftime, Denver was only up 10-9. Now, in the fourth quarter, Denver was facing a fourth and three with about 5 minutes left in the ball game. They were just inside Chiefs territory, and they were trailing 19-16. Fangio opted to punt, instead of being aggressive, and trying to upset the best team in the league. He was playing as if he had something to lose.
WHEN YOU ARE 4-7 YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE. Go for the game! The Chiefs were able to put together a clock eating drive, and Fangio used all of his timeouts before the two minute warning. I get it, you trust your defense there, but you have to be aggressive against Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid. As the head coach, Fangio has failed to do his job to the best of his ability, however it is not all his fault.
Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has been HORRENDOUS at calling plays this season. Instead of utilizing this team’s biggest strength, which is running the football with Melvin Gordon, and Phillip Lindsay, he is making Lock throw it 40 plus times a game. Granted, these last two games, the Broncos have shifted towards a more run heavy attack, however Shurmur has hurt Lock’s development, and is one of the main reasons this offense has been stagnant all season.
To me, I think the Broncos should fire Fangio. It is that simple. This team needs a young offensive mind to lead this team. In order for this team to evolve, they need to become better on offense. So when you look at Denver, do not just point the finger at Drew Lock. Blame the coaching staff for failing this team. Denver has not taken the big step many expected, with a young roster.
Yes, injuries have killed this team, but the coaching staff has shown multiple times that they cannot work through it. Shurmur has just switched his style with four games left in the season, and has done no favors for Lock schematically. Fangio’s clock management issues have hurt this team as well. Fangio and Shurmur have to go. Otherwise, it will be hard for the Broncos to move forward. So the next time you try to put all of the Broncos struggles on Drew Lock, just remember that it is not all on him. Coaching matters.
Photo: Don Wright/AP