ENGLEWOOD | John Elway interviewed Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio for the Denver Broncos’ head coaching vacancy Monday, one day after Chicago’s 16-15 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC wild-card playoffs.
At 60, Fangio is the oldest of the five candidates on Elway’s list as he looks for his fourth head coach in six years. Fangio was also set to interview for Miami’s head coaching vacancy, but the Dolphins didn’t schedule an interview with him.
Elway, who fired Vance Joseph a week ago, also interviewed former Colts coach Chuck Pagano and Steelers O-line coach Mike Munchak, who are both 58, Patriots defensive play-caller Brian Flores, 37, and Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, 35.
Unlike Munchak and Pagano, Fangio has no NFL head coaching experience, although he has been an assistant for 32 seasons in the NFL and 34 overall, beginning with the Philadelphia Stars of the old USFL in 1984.
He has 19 years of coordinating experience for the Panthers, Colts, Texans, 49ers and Bears. He’s built dominant defenses in different eras, successfully adapting to changes in personnel, philosophies and style. The 2018 season was his best as Chicago used a mix of youth and experience to lead the league in total defense and allow an NFL-low 17.7 points per game.
Elway said last week he values experience but also recognizes the need to modernize the Broncos’ offensive and defensive schemes to keep up with the run-pass option trend that has swept through the NFL and rendered traditional systems antiquated.
Elway also said personnel assistant and former Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak will move back into an offensive assistant coaching role in 2019, although he didn’t specify if that would necessarily be as Denver’s offensive coordinator.
Kubiak stepped aside over health concerns two years ago after going 24-11 in two seasons, including 15-4 in 2015 when the Broncos won the Super Bowl in Peyton Manning’s final game of his career.
Since then, the Broncos have won just 11 of 32 games, in large part because of a quarterback carousel that has included four starters in Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler, Paxton Lynch and Case Keenum, plus flameouts Mark Sanchez and Chad Kelly.
If cornerback Bradley Roby and linebacker Shane Ray leave via free agency this spring, as expected, Elway’s only remaining No. 1 draft picks on the roster will be pass rushers Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, the No. 5 overall pick a year ago, and left tackle Garett Bolles, who has been penalized an NFL-high 21 times for holding in his two NFL seasons.