Game one for the Broncos will forever be known as the “Fangio Flop”
This was not how the John Elway apologists drew it up. All offseason we heard it.
“The last two years were Vance Joseph’s fault!”
“All we need is better coaching and this is a 10-win team!”
“Vic Fangio and Mike Munchak will be worth three wins all by themselves!”
Well, after game one, what do you have to say now? The first game of the Fangio era was a disaster. It will forever be known as the Fangio Flop.
I’m more in the camp that it’s about the players than the coaches and even I was blown away by how inept the coaching was on Monday night in Oakland. It was that bad.
Let’s not kid ourselves. This game was lost before they even kicked off.
Coach Sweatpants made the decision to take it easy during the preseason. He chose not to play his starters much. He chose to go a whopping three weeks between giving his first-string offense game reps.
What’s the old saying? “It doesn’t matter, until it matters.”
Not playing your starters didn’t matter until that offense went out there and looked unprepared, discombobulated and rusty. Then the preseason “strategy” mattered.
Rich Scangarello called plays like someone who has never called plays at a meaningful level. You know how sometimes teams will hold a contest where they let a fan call the first play in a preseason game? It ends up being some wild trick play like the ones you would draw up with your buddies when you’re playing in the backyard? That was Scangarello. All of a sudden, it was his chance and before you know it, he’s calling a jet sweep with a tight end and running the ‘ol swinging gate when it is first-and-goal from the five. Nuts.
Even Fangio was not exempt. He was badly out-coached by Jon Gruden.
He made no adjustments to how Oakland was neutralizing Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. He had no creative blitz packages designed to throw Derek Carr out of rhythm.
Carr went 22-of-26 and was not hit once. Not once! That’s unbelievable.
Fangio had no plans to help out an obviously overmatched Issac Yiadom. Maybe there is something to the idea that Fangio is a defensive fish out of water being forced to be a head coach on the sidelines instead of mastermind up in the booth. Heck, if that is indeed a “thing,” then let him be a head coach upstairs.
As for Munchak, I guess it’s a positive step forward that we didn’t hear Garett Bolles name throughout the broadcast. But overall, the offensive line was “meh.”
Then, there were special teams. All night, Brandon McManus was kicking the ball into the end zone on kickoffs, until the Broncos got cute and decided trying to contain a return would be a good idea? Did they not watch the kickoff coverage during the preseason? Was anyone surprised the Raiders returned it 72 yards? If we weren’t shocked, then what the heck were the coaches thinking?
Look, I don’t think this coaching staff is as bad as they looked in game one. All this loss proved was what I thought all along: Any talk of this being a nine- or 10-win team is fantasy. I never bought the idea the last two years was all about bad coaching. It’s about a lack of talent.
I’m of the belief that this team can win only seven or eight games and it can still be considered a good year. In the end, a season in which we feel like the arrow is trending up and Broncos are on the right track would be a success.
But the Raiders game was proof that there is a steep learning curve ahead for Fangio and his staff. I don’t care how long Coach Vic has been around. It still is a huge adjustment. The Oakland loss confirms this.
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