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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — In hiring Vic Fangio, the Denver Broncos are returning to a formula they trust.

From the time Pat Bowlen hired Mike Shanahan in 1995, the Broncos have had five head coaches.

The three who won AFC West titles during their tenures — Shanahan, John Fox and Gary Kubiak — each had long NFL résumés, with two decades in coaching and Kubiak also having spent nine years as a player — before the Broncos hired them for the head-coaching job. And the two who did not — Josh McDaniels and Vance Joseph — were fired in two or fewer seasons, combining for three years of at least 10 losses of the four on the job.

Vic Fangio has been a defensive coordinator with four different NFL teams, but never a head coach. Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports
There are plenty of the next chapters coming, but when John Elway named Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio as the Broncos’ 17th head coach, he chose experience, the benefits of a long résumé and a track record in the NFL that is now into its fourth decade.

After a year as an assistant in the USFL, Fangio was hired as a linebackers coach for the New Orleans Saints in 1986, and he has been on an NFL staff every year since, save for 2010 when he was Stanford’s defensive coordinator.

After the last two seasons, it was clear Elway wanted the same profile in the new head coach that he had when he hired Fox to replace McDaniels in 2011. Elway liked Joseph and met with him almost daily to talk about the roster and where the team stood. The players played hard for Joseph through the struggles of the past two seasons, and many in the Broncos’ complex have repeatedly said they respected how Joseph conducted himself.

However, Elway kept hinting at the need for more leadership, hinting at a presence, of commanding a meeting room. It’s why, after Elway sifted through the injuries of the past season, including seven players who had started multiple games on offense who ended the season on injured reserve, the trades of Demaryius Thomas and Aqib Talib, and the close losses in eight games against teams that made this year’s playoffs, he still fired Joseph.

“The different voice, and we both decided to make the change,” Elway said. “Again, I hope that we can hire a guy that can be here for the next 10 years, 15 years. But it’s a tough league, and this league is about parity. It’s about creating that, and when you’re good at some point in time, it’s going to catch up to you and that’s the great challenge.”

There is also the matter of what so many in the league are chasing. Los Angeles Rams coach Sean McVay, San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and newly hired Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur represent the next-wave profile across the league.

And all three worked on Mike Shanahan’s staff, learning the offensive principles the Broncos already have with Gary Kubiak, who led the Broncos to their third Super Bowl win and will direct the offense for Fangio.

With Kubiak at Fangio’s side, the Broncos want to get back to the offenses that Shanahan and Kubiak ran while still trying to be innovative. With that goal in mind, they went with experience and more than a hint of toughness.

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Fangio has never been a head coach at any level. But the Broncos have had too much change in recent years, too many new offenses, too much turnover at the coordinator spots and too much uncertainty at quarterback for a franchise that had prided itself on churning out wins for so long. So they need the Fangio hire to work and Kubiak’s role in the offense to be productive, because the Broncos are in danger of losing much of the luster they’ve worked so hard to create.

“I think the right kind of guy wants to come into a situation like this because he knows what the expectations are and what our expectations have been for a long period of time,” Elway said. “Therefore, I think guys want that opportunity. They want to come into a spot where they know it’s about football and about winning games. Giving that opportunity, the resources behind him that we can give him, I think it’s a great job.”

Fangio certainly hopes so because he’s waited decades to be a head coach and show he can be exactly that guy.

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LAKE FOREST, Ill. – New Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy’s staff is taking shape.

The first-time head coach, who was introduced as the 16th head coach in Bears’ franchise history on Jan. 9, already has an offensive coordinator and special teams coordinator in place.

Here’s a look at Nagy’s staff as it stands now.
Former Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich is joining the Bears as offensive coordinator. Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire
Offense

Mark Helfrich: The former Oregon head coach will serve as Nagy’s offensive coordinator, although Nagy is expected to call his own plays. Helfrich held a similar role in Oregon under Chip Kelly from 2009-12. Helfrich went 37-16 as head coach of the Ducks before the school fired him at the end of the 2016 season. Helfrich spent the 2017 season working as a college football analyst.

Harry Hiestand: The veteran offensive line coach returns to Chicago after a six-year stint at the University of Notre Dame. Hiestand coached the Bears offensive line from 2005-09 where he was a member of a coaching staff that helped Chicago win back-to-back division titles and reach Super Bowl XLI. Hiestand also coached the Tennessee Volunteers’ offensive line from 2010-11.

Charles London: London coached running backs for the Houston Texans the last four seasons under head coach Bill O’Brien, whom London followed to Houston from Penn State (2012-13). London coached the Nittany Lions’ running backs and served as the football program’s recruiting coordinator. London spent three years (2007-09) on Lovie Smith’s staff in Chicago as an offensive quality control coach and assistant wide receivers coach.

Mike Furrey: Furrey, who played eight seasons in the NFL, officially joins Nagy’s staff as wide receivers coach. Furrey recently completed his second season as the head coach at Limestone College in South Carolina. Furrey and Nagy were teammates in the Arena Football League on the New York Dragons.

 

Kevin Gilbride: The son of former New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, Gilbride spent the last eight seasons with the Giants and the last four as their tight ends coach. Gilbride also coached the Giants wide receivers in 2012-13. One of Gilbride’s main objectives will be to further develop former second round pick tight end Adam Shaheen, who posted only modest numbers as a rookie.

Defense

Vic Fangio: Nagy successfully retained Fangio, the Bears defensive coordinator the past three seasons under John Fox, by offering the respected defensive coordinator a new three-year deal — a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Fangio’s return is huge for the sake of continuity. The Bears defense finished in the top-10 in points allowed (9th), total yards (10th) and passing yards (7th) in 2017. Chicago ranked 11th in rushing defense.

Special teams

Chris Tabor: The veteran special teams coordinator returns to Chicago after a seven-year stint at Cleveland. Under Tabor, the Browns’ special teams ranked sixth in kickoff return average allowed, seventh in punt return average, ninth in total kickoff return yards and 10th in total return yards allowed since Tabor took over in 2011. Prior to his time in Cleveland, Tabor served as Dave Toub’s special teams assistant in Chicago from 2008-10.