The decision to hire Vic Fangio has drawn mostly positive reviews in NFL circles as talking heads paint the picture of an elder statesman with a proven track record. His Miami unit ranked 10th in total defense while finishing with the third-most sacks in the league.
Add to the mix that Fangio is a Pennsylvania native who worked, albeit covertly, in the Philadelphia Eagles’ organization last year and it seems like a no-brainer. Fangio’s scheme was the one employed by the team’s two former defensive coordinators, Jonathan Gannon and Sean Desai, so there is a sort of mutual infatuation there.
You could say the Eagles have been pining after Fangio for years. Now, with a formal announcement expected in the coming days, he’ll report to 2 NovaCare Way and attempt to fix a broken Eagles’ defense.
“I really value the relationship that I was able to develop with Coach Fangio,” head coach Nick Sirianni told reporters last October. “He’s a great person, a great football mind, a huge Phillies fan. I value the friendship that we have and the time that we spent together last year.”
More importantly, Fangio brings a reputation as a strict coach and fierce disciplinarian. The 65-year-old is a football lifer, a term that tends to get thrown around lightly but not in this case. He has worked at every level and climbed each rung on the ladder, from linebackers coach at Dunmore High School to head coach of the Denver Broncos. Fangio is a leader of men and a guy not afraid to voice his opinion no matter the reaction. He will “force players to become more disciplined by holding them accountable every day,” according to one report.
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One question on the tip of everyone’s tongue is how will Vic Fangio’s authoritarian style mesh with the Eagles’ locker room. The defense has been turned over quickly and the impending exits of Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham means Fangio will inherit a younger roster, one filled with 20-somethings who might not be ready to take hard coaching. That seemed to be the case in Miami where several Dolphins players threw shade at Fangio upon learning of his dismissal.
For example, safety Jevon Holland posted a video of himself kicking rocks down the street. It was interpreted as his displeasure with Fangio since the term “kick rocks” is often used as an informal colloquial expression to tell someone to go away.
Then, cornerback Cam Smith posted the unopened lock emoji which seemed to vent frustration about Fangio not allowing him to play his brand of football. Smith appeared to be saying he could turn into a lockdown corner next year without his old defensive coordinator impeding his development.
Finally, super-agent Drew Rosenhaus provided clarity on the Fangio situation in Miami when he went on record claiming that “quite a few players” didn’t see eye to eye with the coach. Rosenhaus represents at least 10 players on the Miami roster, including superstar receiver Tyreek Hill.
“There were quite a few players on the team that didn’t necessarily get along with Fangio and so it wasn’t a great relationship with many of the players,” Rosenhaus said. “There were some guys that loved him but there was quite a few that didn’t. It definitely wasn’t a unanimous positive relationship.”
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