Vic Fangio has been an NFL assistant coach for all but one season dating back to 1986. Nineteen of those seasons were as a defensive coordinator, including the last four years with the Bears, who finished the 2018 campaign as the league's most dominant unit.
The 60-year-old is now in his first year as an NFL head coach and he's hoping to jumpstart a Broncos organization that is coming off back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since the mid-1970s. With training camp opening this week, the focus is on the little things and that starts with the music -- or the lack of it. Specifically, Fangio has banned music once training camp practices get under way, and that starts with stretching.
"Anybody's who has been a position coach, or assistant coach, they don't like the music," Fangio said, via 9News.com's Mike Klis. "It makes it hard to talk to your guys. I don't see the benefit of having music out there. I was an assistant coach and I don't want to drum out the noise to talk to my players."
Under previous regimes, from Vance Joseph to Gay Kubiak to John Fox to Josh McDaniels to Mike Shanahan, music was permitted during camp practices. But no more.
"There's no music in games," Fangio continued. "I don't like it. I don't like to have to yell to communicate to a player that's standing as close as me and you are. That makes no sense."
There are exceptions, of course -- but only if it's football-related noise.
"When it goes to the point where we need to simulate crowd noise in practice, which we will do, it will be noise," the coach said. "It won't be music. It will be noise. That's what it is in the game. Noise by definition sounds annoying. Music sounds nice so if we have to deal with noise let's deal with noise."
Meanwhile, the Broncos have bigger issues than what's blaring over the loudspeaker. Chief among them: finding a starting quarterback. As it stands, Joe Flacco's job to lose. Denver acquired the veteran this offseason but also used a second-round pick on Drew Lock. After two training camp practices, Fangio didn't mince words about the rookie.
"He's not a QB yet," he said. "He's a hard-throwing pitcher who doesn't know how to pitch yet. ... His college offense had no carryover to pro offenses. He was under duress a lot ... I don't think he's as far along being an NFL-ready QB as he could have been."
Lock, who didn't sign his contract until last Thursday, the same day the Broncos held their first practice of camp, sounded relieved to get back to football even if he has a long way to go.
"I was anxious to get out on the field," Lock said, via the team's official website. "I knew from my side of the party, we were trying to get things worked out. The Broncos and my agency were working together, but I told my agency beforehand that if it got to the point where I was missing practice, then there was no chance we were going to go on with it. I was going to sign a deal and I was going to get here, because the most important thing to me was getting out here."
Denver's first preseason game is Thursday, Aug. 1 against the Falcons.