Honesty was always Vic Fangio’s calling card during his four years as a defensive coordinator with the Chicago Bears and things appear unchanged now that he’s the top dog in Denver.
Indeed, Fangio sprays to all fields in a wide-ranging sit-down exclusive with Woody Paige of the Colorado Springs Gazette, including notes on his flawless game plan against the Rams (that served as the Patriots blueprint to Super Bowl glory), how he’s evolved as a coach/coordinator as the game has changed, his humble beginnings as a strength coach, and much more. You’ll want to clear out some time and give Paige’s piece a full read for a better feel of your favorite ex-Bears defensive coordinator.
But among the parts that stuck out most was this particular snippet from Fangio, describing why the Bears were, well, as bad as they were before he arrived: “Here’s what happened to the Bears before I got there,” Fangio begins. “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.”
Ouch. If those words sting, it’s because we know – deep down – they’re true.
The mismanagement of the roster had caught up to the franchise by the end of Marc Trestman’s two-year stint in Chicago and it was most evident on what was the league’s worst defense over those two seasons. The Bears coughed up 920 points, 12,346 yards from scrimmage, and 93 touchdowns in 32 games in the two seasons before Fangio arrived in Chicago. In order to save you some time on the math, it comes out to 28.8 points and 385.8 yards per game. Through that lens, perhaps Fangio was taking it lightly on the group he inherited.
In this space, we have compared the Bears’ rebuild to a slow-turning semi-truck making its way around a city’s intersection. You know the truck is going to straighten itself out eventually, but how long it was going to take was to be determined. That analogy is apt for what happened with the Bears while Fangio was in town. Here’s hoping that Fangio’s new front office allows for the same leeway in Denver’s rebuild as it did in Chicago.