At least the drama is over, right? For now at least. After yet another quarterback competition in Denver, many Broncos fans were left with an underwhelming result. Broncos head coach Vic Fangio assured us all throughout training camp that it was 50/50 between Drew Lock and Teddy Bridgewater and he “might have to flip a coin.” Apparently, he did, and it landed in Bridgewater’s favor. As most of Lock’s supporters do their best to come to grips with the fact Drew won’t be the starting QB, I’m still left asking the question; what’s the long term plan here?
Let’s say you win a few games, maybe even enough to sneak into the playoffs, then what? We aren’t thinking Denver is a contender this season, right? Teddy is a great guy, solid backup QB and a strong leader but is he THE guy? The Broncos haven’t been able to find THE guy since the Colts moved on from Peyton Manning and before that, since John Elway. Point being, if Teddy can’t go blow for blow with Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen and Justin Herbert (he can’t by the way) then what’s the end goal?
Before you curse me out under your breath know this; I’m not saying Lock is necessarily THE guy, but we don’t know 100% just yet. After 9 seasons in the league, I’m very comfortable saying Teddy is not a franchise QB. Lock had one full season, the season where media members, fans and even coaches like to slap one giant Asterisk on. Even Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur said that 2020 was an extension of Lock’s rookie year. So why not chalk it up to that while you can? I am not going to list the dozens of examples of great QB’s that struggled in years 1 and 2…. you can google just as easily as I can. But yea, it happens.
So, picture this; Denver makes the playoffs behind a top 5 defense, a solid run game led by Melvin Gordan and Rookie Javonte Williams and average QB play from Teddy. I say average because that has been the majority of his career. Again, google it. The Broncos would likely lose to a top seed in the first round to Buffalo, Baltimore or even Kansas City and your draft pick is the md 20’s. Chances of finding your franchise guy there are small. So, then what? Teddy part 2? Wait for Aaron Rodgers to do his whole jeopardy/hold out thing again? Wait for Deshaun Watson’s legal troubles to go away? None of those are even close to sure things.
So why not go with Drew Lock. He’s only approaching his 3rd year in the league and despite what some of his critics say, he DOES have upside….it’s called youth and a cannon of an arm. He looked just as good as Teddy in the preseason even though he stumbled a bit behind a shaky backup offensive line, and he has shown us in a regular season game that he can be explosive. Sure, that was 2 seasons ago but between his rookie season and the covid season, he didn’t have a traditional offseason, yet another offensive coordinator and, as I wrote a year ago, an overloaded offense both personnel and scheme wise. Basically, they gave Lock a jet when what he needed was a nice starter vehicle.
You know what you have in Teddy. Like it or not, we still don’t have the final word on Lock. I understand that Fangio is trying to save his job, but Broncos Country deserves better than going with the “safe” option at QB. They deserve better than a (at times) overwhelmed head coach making such a shortsighted decision. I am 75% certain that both Lock and Teddy are not the franchise guys much past this season. But I’d still like to know once and for all. If Lock is average after 3 games and you’re not satisfied, go with Teddy and try to salvage the season.
Broncos General Manager George Paton didn’t shell out a king’s ransom for Matthew Stafford, didn’t make a splash in free agency, Rodgers and Watson were never really on the table, passed on Justin Fields and Mac Jones all for what? Teddy Bridgewater? The 2021 off-season could come back to haunt Paton in many ways……I’d sure hate it if Drew Lock went on (somewhere else) to add to his and john Elway’s potential list of “the one(s) that got way”.