Assessing the Broncos Coaching Staff for the 2021 NFL Season

By Dan Vasta in Sports
| August 23, 2021 5:19 am PDT

The Denver Broncos need to find a future quarterback that can lead them to victory. John Elway has stepped back from making decisions on players, but that hasn’t helped them decide who their future under center is.

They are desperate for their first playoff spot since winning Super Bowl 50 with Peyton Manning playing in his final NFL game. The recent offensive struggles are concerning, and it will be up to the coaching staff to put it all together.

The AFC West is a challenging division that has young stars emerging. Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert are two of the more productive players in the NFL. Las Vegas has a consistent performer in Derek Carr, but where does that leave the Broncos?

They have felt left out since Manning retired, and the losing seasons are piling up. Now is the time to step up or step aside.

The Denver Broncos have a challenging season ahead but enough talent to avoid the basement. But do they have the people on the sidelines to make it happen?

Here is Denver Broncos’ coaching staff analysis for the upcoming 2021 NFL season.

Vic Fangio – Head Coach

The Denver franchise has given Fangio some leeway thus far in his tenure. Entering his third season as the head coach, posting a winning season is mandatory. Keeping his job could be a struggle if they are not competitive and finish last without much of a fight.

Fangio has been in the NFL since 1986, and is a tremendous defensive coach.

His previous stops as a revered defensive coordinator registered top-10 scoring finishes eight times, and Denver cracked the top-10 with him calling the shots in 2019.

Unfortunately, there are two sides to the NFL.

The offensive side has crushed their hopes of getting back on track. Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock will battle into the season and throughout. Guessing who earns the most snaps under center to start the season is a challenge.

Fangio has the pressure to win, but the skill position players have talent. Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton are solid wide receivers, and Noah Fant is a capable tight end. Fangio ultimately is running out of time, and victories will indicate the grade for the Denver head ball coach.

Broncos Top Assistants

The amount of experience that Denver has is astonishing. There isn’t another team with more NFL experience in terms of years coached (54).

The hope is the two units will both make enough strides to have a more competitive ball club.

If Denver does become one of the sleepers to put together a winning season, we could see some of the coordinators take potential head coaching jobs.

Pat Shurmur – Offensive Coordinator

Shurmur has plenty of experience coaching Sunday football, but recent success has been lacking.

He was the head coach for the New York Giants for a few seasons, albeit going a combined 9-23. He also went 9-23 coaching the Browns.

Both teams had issues developing a productive quarterback during the seasons that were a struggle.

More of the same has occurred with the Broncos. Developing confidence with Drew Lock is crucial, and that will be a priority entering the season.

Ed Donatell – Defensive Coordinator

The defense has been talented enough to provide the offense with respectable field positions.

However, that only works for so long. The lack of offense has put too much pressure on the defense. The production was not there last season, and they must find more success.

Broncos Defense Rankings from 2020
Rush YPG Pass YPG Total YPG Total PPG
130.0 (No. 25) 237.9 (No. 16) 367.9 (No. 21) 27.9 (No. 25)

Donatell needs a stellar season from Von Miller, who missed all of last season due to a season-ending injury (ankle) before the year began.

The addition of Kyle Fuller should be crucial to their success since he played under Fangio during his stay with the Bears.

Other Broncos Assistants for 2021

  • Zach Azzanni: Wide Receivers
  • Chris Cook: Offensive Quality Control
  • Curtis Modkins: Running Backs
  • Chris Kuper: Assistant OL
  • Wade Harman: Tight Ends
  • Mike Munchak: OL
  • Justin Racati: Offensive Quality Control
  • Mike Shula: Quarterbacks
  • Chris Beake: Defensive Pass Game Specialist
  • Reggie Herring: Linebackers
  • John Pagano: Outside Linebackers
  • Bill Kollar: Defensive Line
  • Mike Hiestand: Assistant Def Line/Assistant to Head Coach
  • Christian Parker: Defensive Backs
  • Nathaniel Willingham: Defensive Quality Control
  • Tom McMahon: Special teams Coordinator
  • Chris Gould: Assistant Special Teams
  • Loren Landow: Head Strength & Conditioning
  • Korey Jones: Assistant Strength & Conditioning
  • Mark Loecher: Assistant Strength & Conditioning
  • Emily Zaler: Player Performance Assistant
  • Pierre Ngo: Assistant Strength & Conditioning

Mike Shula, Chris Beake, Bill Kollar, and John Pagano bring a boatload of experience.

They are all worthy of an opportunity as the next hot-shot coordinator. Combined, they have 20-plus years’ worth of experience.

Shula and Pagano are the most notable ones. Shula was previously the offensive coordinator for the Panthers and Giants before taking the quarterback job with Denver last season.

Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Season Outlook

The 2021 NFL season ahead for the Broncos is pivotal. Denver was disastrous in several games last season compared to their divisional foes. They even had a few nationally televised games where they struggled miserably (see Buffalo).

Finding a way to be more competitive on offense and earning victories would go a long way.

The pressure on this coaching staff must make it difficult to sleep at night.

Fangio is in the hot seat and winning will be the only thing to prevent him from getting tossed.

The quarterback production for this team matters as much or more, than any other roster.

The Broncos are waiting to flourish offensively like many other offensive squads in the AFC have. I forecast improvements with a young group of players, but it will be a challenge to become playoff threats.

The struggling seasons that Denver has endured over the years have led to a make-or-break type of season in 2021.

Now then you have a grasp of the Broncos coaching staff for 2021, check out some other NFL coaching staff breakdowns below.

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