Former Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was one of the few head-coaching candidates last offseason whose reputation in the league was based on defense. With most teams looking for the next young offensive guru, Fangio's stature as a veteran defensive coach made the Denver Broncos' decision to name him their head coach a pretty bold move.
After a 3-6 start and a change from Joe Flacco to Brandon Allen at quarterback, Denver's lacking offense has sparked internal frustration, according to CBS Sports' Jason LaCanfora.
The real source of the difficulty, however, appears to be Fangio.
Fangio has had issues with offensive assistants, the sources said, and at one point top receiver Emmanuel Sanders in essence walked out on the team, leading to his eventual trade. Lines of communication have been strained, and Fangio has been quick to dispute play calls and come across as overbearing on the headsets, sources said, which has created issues in-game and otherwise.
Fangio's time in Chicago was highlighted by the dominant performance of the Bears' defense in 2018, one that led the team to an NFC North championship and its first playoff berth since 2010.
But he was never able to establish himself as the kind of coach who could handle the media or other responsibilities that come along with being atop the coaching food chain. His to-the-point and sometimes brutally honest style worked well for a grizzled defensive coordinator, but head coaches are held to a different standard.
It would be unfair to expect Fangio to change who he is at this point in his coaching career, which began with the New Orleans Saints 33 seasons ago.
Maybe we're just starting to see why it took so long for him to actually land a head coaching position.
The Chicago Bears avoided the dreaded 0-2 start by defeating the Denver Broncos last Sunday in what's become something of an instant classic for Bears fans. Eddy Pineiro's 53-yard game-winner injected life into an otherwise lifeless start to the season, and while it was incredible to watch unfold live, NFL Films' recap of the final minute is goosebump-inducing.
"We need one second and the ball," Matt Nagy said in the Bears locker room after the win. "And that's a credit to you guys for never giving up. I dont care about stats, we got the dub!"
The Nagy-booms that followed were epic. Check it out:
Denver Broncos superstar pass-rusher Von Miller is one of the most feared defenders in the NFL. He can single-handedly destroy an offense's gameplan, and in Sunday's Week 2 matchup against the Chicago Bears, it was up to Charles Leno and Bobby Massie to make sure he didn't make a game-changing sack of Mitch Trubisky.
The Bears' offensive line wasn't perfect in Denver, but they checked one of the biggest boxes of the week by keeping Miller away from Trubisky all afternoon. According to Pro Football Focus, Miller made no impact -- literally none -- as a pass rusher.
Miller entered the 2019 season with five-straight seasons of double-digit sacks, including 14.5 in 2018. His rare talent, combined with the defensive genius of Vic Fangio, appeared like a mission-impossible in Week 2. But Leno and Massie answered the call in dominant fashion. They both finished the game with top-10 grades on Chicago's offense, per PFF.
To be fair, Miller registered an elite grade against the run in Week 2, but his 49.3 pass-rush grade was the worst on the Broncos defense. You read that right; Miller was Denver's worst pass-rusher Sunday.
Kudos to Leno and Massie for a job well done.