Vic Fangio on Broncos' Weakness in AFC West: The Other 3 Teams Have 'Top-Shelf' QBs

Adam WellsJanuary 9, 2022

Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio before an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

After what may have been his final game as Denver Broncos head coach, Vic Fangio opened up about what has been holding the team back in the AFC West. 

Speaking to reporters after Saturday's 28-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Fangio said the other three teams in the division "have top-shelf quarterbacks, which is obvious to everybody."

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"Those other three teams have top-shelf quarterbacks, which is obvious to everybody."<br><br>Vic Fangio on what's separating the Broncos from the rest of the AFC West.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BroncosCountry?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BroncosCountry</a> <a href="https://t.co/KZHfInHmFe">pic.twitter.com/KZHfInHmFe</a>

Amid all of the speculation about Aaron Rodgers last offseason, the Broncos were often mentioned as a potential landing spot. 

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported after the first round of the 2021 NFL draft that the Broncos were "one of" Rodgers' preferred destinations if the Green Bay Packers traded him.

The Packers ultimately kept Rodgers, while the Broncos acquired Teddy Bridgewater in a trade with the Carolina Panthers in April. 

Playing in the same division where the opposing quarterbacks are Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs), Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers) and Derek Carr (Las Vegas Raiders) makes it difficult to go into a season with an average player at the position. 

Bridgewater did play decently in 14 starts for Denver this season. The 29-year-old threw for 3,052 yards, 18 touchdowns and completed 66.9 percent of his attempts, but his season came to an end after suffering a concussion in Week 15. The Broncos went 7-7 in his starts but 0-3 with Drew Lock under center.   

The Broncos had a defense good enough to win many games in 2021, allowing 18.4 points per game entering Saturday, third in the NFL. However, the offense ranked 23nd in scoring (19.4 points per game), and their quarterbacks only had 20 touchdown passes.

The Chargers and Chiefs rank in the top four in the NFL in passing DVOA, per Football Outsiders. Herbert, Carr and Mahomes are all in the top six in passing yards. Mahomes and Herbert are tied for third in the league with 35 touchdown passes. 

Denver finished the season with a 7-10 record and in last place in the AFC West for the second consecutive season.