Talk about having to rebound.
Sunday evening: Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio was in the Solider Field coach’s box as the Philadelphia Eagles scored a touchdown on fourth down and then partially blocked a field-goal attempt for a 16-15 playoff win.
Monday morning: Fangio was interviewed by the Broncos for their head-coaching job.
Eight days into the search to replace Vance Joseph, the Broncos have completed five interviews: Former Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano, Los Angeles Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line coach Mike Munchak, New England Patriots linebackers coach/play-caller Brian Flores and Fangio.
The Broncos have not been linked to any other candidates so it is conceivable they could have second interviews (if necessary) and a hiring made by the end of the week.
Fangio, 60, has not been a head coach at any level, but does have 32 years of NFL experience, including 19 as a defensive coordinator.
“Everybody in the league knows how great of a coach and a person Coach Vic is and they know what he brings to the table,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said last week. “I’m sure he’s top priority on a lot of people’s lists.”
Last week, the Broncos and Miami Dolphins requested permission to meet with Fangio, but NFL Network reported Monday that the Dolphins had not scheduled a meeting.
In the regular season, the Bears had the league’s top defense, leading in takeaways (36), interceptions (27), lowest passer rating (72.9), three-and-out percentage (26.8), fewest rushing touchdowns (five), fewest rushing yards per game (80.0) and scoring (17.7 points per game).
“He does a lot of things (with) the way he utilizes his personnel,” Eagles offensive coordinator Mike Groh said last week. “He mixes things up and does a good job week-to-week of not having tendencies. He’s as good as there is.”
The Bears went 12-4 to win the NFC North and host Philadelphia.
Leading 6-3 in the third quarter, the Bears allowed a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dallas Goedert. The Bears committed three penalties on the drive: Unnecessary roughness against Adrian Amos on third-and-6, a too many men on the field and a 33-yard pass interference on Amukamara.
And leading 15-10, the Bears allowed Philadelphia to move to the 2-yard line (including a third-and-9 conversion) to set up first-and-goal. The Eagles scored on Golden Tate’s two-yard touchdown catch with 56 seconds remaining.
As a coordinator, Fangio has worked for Jim Mora (Indianapolis), Dom Capers (Carolina/Houston), John Harbaugh (Baltimore), Jim Harbaugh (Stanford and San Francisco), John Fox (Chicago) and Matt Nagy (Chicago). With the Panthers and Texans, Fangio coordinated the defense for expansion teams.
Fangio’s defenses were twice in the top 10 of fewest points allowed with Carolina and were second, second, third and 10th with the 49ers. In Chicago, he inherited a unit that was 31st in points allowed and improved to finishes of 20th, 24th, ninth and first.
Nagy was hired by the Bears last January and one of his key decisions was convincing Fangio to remain as defensive coordinator after he was passed over for the head-coaching post.
“Every time I walk in this office, man, he’s grinding,” Nagy told reporters last week. “He’s got that remote (control) in there and he’s just writing stuff down and grinding with stuff for the game. I appreciate that.”
Fangio was asked about his head-coaching prospects throughout the Bears’ resurgent season.
In November, Fangio said: “It would be nice (to get a chance), but I’m not going to burn the house down if it doesn’t happen or think anything less or be unhappy with my coaching career.”
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