When the Denver Broncos kicked off the 2021 NFL season with a 3-0 start, many thought the pieces might finally be coming together for Vic Fangio in a prove-it year. But things have taken a turn and the coach who entered the season on the hot seat could be losing favor in Denver.
After consecutive victories over the New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets, Denver is plummeting down the NFL standings. Following Thursday night's loss to the Cleveland Browns, the Broncos are on a four-game skid and patience with Fangio is running thin.
According to Pro Football Network, there are rumblings from Denver that Fangio's message inside the locker room is becoming stale and he's at risk of losing many players, if he hasn't done so already.
- Vic Fangio record: 15-24
Once the architect behind some of the best defenses in the NFL, Fangio got his first opportunity to be a head coach in 2019. Things started rather promising with a 7-9 season, but the Broncos are 8-15 over the past two years.
Losing the support of players is often the final nail in the proverbial coffin before a head coach is fired. But there are other reasons to believe Fangio is in his final months with the Broncos.
Over the last four games, opponents outscored Denver 101-64. The offense is certainly struggling with the play-calling from offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur hurting the team. But Fangio was hired to reshape this defense and it isn't playing well right now.
Against the Broncos' defense in the past month, opponents are averaging a 108.3 passer rating and 9.1 yards per pass attempt. Meanwhile, running backs have accounted for 517 rushing yards, five touchdowns and are averaging 4.3 yards per carry.
The Broncos still face the Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Chargers (twice), Kansas City Chiefs (twice) and Cincinnati Bengals. With players seemingly beginning to tune Fangio out and this defense now performing just as poorly as the offense, it's likely only a matter of time until general manager George Paton makes a change.