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INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 27: Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio before the (2-5) Denver Broncos take on the (4-2) Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana on October 27, 2019. (Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post)
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Who’s to blame for the fishy story about Vic Fangio?

(Photo by Joe Amon/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

I spent a decent amount of time reading over Jason LaCanfora’ article about Vic Fangio on CBSSPorts.com. In case you missed it, here’s a quick summary:

LaCanfora had a source tell him that, essentially, Fangio is a terrible communicator and an overbearing head coach.

Now, I’ve never been a huge fan of LaCanfora’s work, but I have to believe he wouldn’t just make up his claims. That said, something about the article seems a little fishy to me.

For starters, in all the Broncos games and practices I’ve personally seen this year, not once did Vic Fangio yell and scream or seem to be interacting with his players inappropriately. In fact, one of the biggest criticisms I’ve had of the Broncos coach is that, especially on the offensive side of the ball, he hasn’t seemed the slightest bit interested in what’s going on at times.

That runs completely counter to LaCanfora’s source’s claims. To be honest, I find it hard to believe that we wouldn’t have seen at least one of these alleged outbursts in the 10 games so far this season.

It also boggles my mind that a coach whose team clearly hasn’t quit, even after a 3-7 record, could truly be treating everyone “like crap” as the source claims. Fangio clearly won’t be in the running for Mr. Congeniality and he might be a little quirky, but the claims made in the article just don’t add up from what we’ve seen.

Again, I’m not saying LaCanfora did a poor job of reporting. I just think it’s interesting that these claims would be made now. To me, it sounds like someone at Dove Valley isn’t happy with their perception in Broncos Country and they decided to try and deflect by throwing the first year head coach under the bus. A bold move, but one that’s just crazy enough to work.

Now who would do that?

I think there are three legitimate candidates: Rich Scangarello, Joe Flacco and John Elway.

Of the three, I think Scangarello is the least likely. Sure, there’s been plenty of fingers pointing his direction for the failures of the Broncos offense, but he doesn’t really have anything to gain by running Fangio out of Denver. If the head coach goes, he’s likely to follow, as a full staff rebuild would surely be the team’s direction and Mike Munchak is likely in charge in the interim. It just doesn’t make sense that Scangarello would be the source.

On the surface, Elway probably makes the most sense. Whether his job is truly on the line or not, he’s clearly become public enemy No. 1 for another disappointing season in the eyes of the fanbase. It was his decision to bring on Fangio and his staff, his decision to trade for Flacco and his fingerprints are all over this team as he’s put himself in charge of personnel decisions for the organization.

In the LaCanfora article, Elway escapes relatively unscathed, usually a pretty clear sign of where the information originated from. However, Elway clearly has the most to lose in all of this. Firing Fangio would mean admitting another failed coaching hire, his second in three seasons. Plus, if anyone ever caught wind that Elway put this information out there, the organization would surely become the laughingstock of the league (if it isn’t getting to that point already). Would Elway really risk his reputation just to save a little face in the short term?

The wild card in all of this is Flacco. Before a neck injury ended his season, he was clearly frustrated with the team’s offensive direction. The majority of Broncos fans and media assumed he was referring to Scangarello when he called out the lack of aggressiveness in play calling, but what if the real problem was Fangio shooting down the offensive coordinators decisions?

Flacco was a key part of the game-planning and in game-day decision making, plus he spent the Cleveland game listening to the coaching conversations with a headset of his own. Maybe he heard something, or maybe he stretched the truth a little to cover up what was a miserable season for the aging veteran. If someone else was to blame for his struggles, maybe he’d be looked at differently when he likely hits the streets looking for a new team next season?

One other interesting piece to the puzzle: Jason LaCanfora has plenty of connection to… you guessed it… Baltimore. Maybe that’s just a coincidence, but maybe it isn’t.

It’s impossible to know for sure who tried to throw Vic Fangio under the bus this past weekend, but whoever it was risked a lot for what will likely be little reward. There’s a good chance that at least one of the names I mentioned won’t be back in Denver next season anyways.

What I do know is this story is just another black mark on another frustrating Broncos season. This team has plenty of issues to deal with and the more problems that pop up the less hopeful I am they’ll be fixed anytime soon.