The Broncos have had two straight losing seasons for the first time since the early ’70s. If there’s a third, major changes could be made to the football operation.
So the latest major change to the football operation — new coach Vic Fangio — knows that he’ll need to succeed soon. And also that he’ll need to succeed later. Which makes for a not-so-easy balance when it comes to whether Fangio will be patient.
“That’s a difficult question,” Fangio recently told Woody Paige of the Colorado Springs Gazette. “If I say I’m not going to be patient, you and everybody else will think I’m going to make some knee-jerk short-term decisions that won’t have long-term benefits. What we’ve got to do, I believe, is let’s go out there and evaluate this team, find out where we need help. Make some good choices for the future, not just for today, if I’m making sense. I’m not looking to go 4-12 or 5-11, thinking that we’re rebuilding. But we must realize that two years from now, three years, that what we did in the 2019 season was why we are at that point.”
What needs to be done, then?
“We have to establish a work ethic in the players here and work very hard in the acquisitions of players,” Fangio said. “Here’s what happened to the Bears before I got there. What they were doing was putting Band-Aids on every little problem, hoping they would be a good team the next year. By the time we got there, they sucked. They were old, no young talent, no nothing. I’ve coached on two expansions teams in Carolina and with the Texans, and our roster on defense when I was hired was worse than those expansion team defenses.
“We can’t let that happen here. We can’t do everything to just get to 8-8 now and be 3-13 in 2021. Does that mean that we won’t get a veteran in free agency that will help us for a year or two? We can do that. But we can’t go and throw a bunch of [stuff] against the wall and hope it sticks.”
It sounds like Fangio will hope to build through the draft, and to supplement the roster with free agents, ideally those who are available at discount rates after the first wave of the spending process. Ultimately, however, what Fangio wants won’t matter; John Elway runs the team, and he knows that time is running out.
Thus, while Fangio may be preaching patience, Elway may be swinging for the fences. Or, at a minimum, hoping to hit a ground-rule double.