Vic Fangio and his motto ‘death by inches’ have found a home in Denver.
The former Bears defensive coordinator spoke with the media Thursday and explained the mentality he’ll bring to the Broncos, who missed the playoffs for the third consecutive season.
“When you see a small misdemeanor crime, that’s an inch crime and you correct it,” Fangio said, via the team’s website. “Here’s what ‘death by inches’ means: If you’re running a meeting, whether it be a team meeting, offense or defense meeting, a position coach meeting and a player walks in, say 30 seconds late, 45 seconds late — that act in it of itself really has no impact on whether you’re going to win or lose that week.
“But if you let it slide, the next day there’s two or three guys late or it went from 30 seconds to two minutes. It causes an avalanche of problems. That’s ‘death by inches.’”
Fangio is taking over for Vance Joseph, who spent two years with the Broncos. Under Joseph, Denver won at most six games when it finished the 2018 season with a 6-10 record. It’s the first time the team has had back-to-back seasons below .500 since the early 1970s.
He even brought up his trusty motto in the interview with president of football operations and general manager John Elway. It impressed the former Bronco, and current players as well.
“Those inches add up, and when those inches add up, you’re in a losing program,” Elway said. “[Fangio] says, ‘I promise you, we will not kill ourselves by inches.’ And I thought that was the best thing that he said in the interview.”
Defensive end Derek Wolfe added: “He said, ‘This guy is going to bring a discipline that we’ve been lacking.'”
This will be Fangio’s first head coaching position. He got his start in the NFL in 1986 as a linebackers coach for the Saints. He spent time in Carolina, Indianapolis and Houston as the defensive coordinator and also held positions with the Ravens and 49ers.