ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- In an NFL coaching career that is now in its fourth decade, Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio has coached against the Canton-enshrined likes of Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Steve Young, Troy Aikman, Jim Kelly, Brett Favre, John Elway and Kurt Warner, so he has some experience at evaluating what top-shelf quarterbacks can do to defenses.
And Thursday night in Denver, Fangio will get his first game-day look at Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. So far this season, Mahomes has thrown 14 touchdown passes to go with just one interception, as he leads the league in passing yards after six games (2,104).
Fangio, who began his coaching career in the NFL as the New Orleans Saints' linebackers coach in 1986, was asked Monday if Mahomes reminded him of any quarterback he had faced through the years and what makes Mahomes unique.
"I think he's like John Elway was in the '80s and '90s, he's that guy,'' Fangio said. "Like Aaron Rodgers has been for the last 12, 14 years -- however many years he's been starting. He's kind of that guy. He's the great passer, the great improviser. He plays with a lot of athletic arrogance, which is a compliment. He's very confident in his ability. He's very poised, he doesn't get rattled and he's got an arm that is really, really good. He can make all the throws they are asking him to make and some that they are not even asking him to make that just show up in his improvisations. He's good in the pocket, has good pocket feel. You can tell he's a gamer. They guy is really, really special.''
Also asked about the biggest challenge in trying to form a defensive game plan against Mahomes, Fangio added:
"With a guy like this, you have to defend two plays: the one they've called and then the one he might create. That makes it tough.''
The Broncos, coming off their first shutout win in almost two years, have won two consecutive games after an 0-4 start while the Chiefs have lost two consecutive games after a 4-0 start.