Denver Broncos: Young cub Drew Lock will get lion’s share of reps vs. Seattle

CANTON, OH - AUGUST 01: Drew Lock #3 of the Denver Broncos tries to avoid pressure in the first half of a preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons at Tom Benson Hall Of Fame Stadium on August 1, 2019 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CANTON, OH - AUGUST 01: Drew Lock #3 of the Denver Broncos tries to avoid pressure in the first half of a preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons at Tom Benson Hall Of Fame Stadium on August 1, 2019 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Drew Lock has been prepping all week to take the lion’s share of reps in the preseason game against Seattle.

One day, the Denver Broncos will attempt to usher in the Drew Lock era. We don’t know, at this point, when that day will come, but right now this team is Joe Flacco’s.

Eventually, though, it’s going to be Drew Lock’s team. In the meantime, Lock needs reps. He needs to learn the ropes calling plays from a huddle, taking snaps under center, and operating an NFL offense with authority.

Right now, he’s just a cub. He needs to learn how to be a king.

I’ve just seen Disney’s The Lion King with my six-year-old daughter, so permit me to be corny with the comparisons between the Broncos’ quarterback situation and the beloved Disney film.

"A king’s time as ruler rises and falls like the sun. One day, Simba, the sun will set on my time here, and will rise with you as the new king. Mufasa (The Lion King)"

Of course, we know Joe Flacco is in no hurry for the circle of life to bring the sun to a setting point on his NFL career. As a matter of fact, Flacco is hoping for one last hoo-rah before the sun sets on his time in the NFL and the team believes he can help them win some games.

The Broncos’ preseason game against Seattle will be Flacco’s preseason debut. I talked about my (totally reasonable) expectations for Flacco in that game here. I joked on Twitter that I don’t think a methodical 99-yard drive with a touchdown pass, 100 percent completion percentage, and Flacco throwing for a two-point conversion while walking off the field perfectly healthy is too much to ask.

Although expectations seem pretty moderate for Flacco, they are apparently quite high for Drew Lock, a rookie who has yet to really cut his teeth whatsoever in the league.

It’s certainly not uncommon for players to struggle their first time on the professional field, even their first few times. Some detractors of Lock’s have taken Vic Fangio’s comments from earlier this offseason about how he’s ‘not an NFL quarterback yet’ way too far, making it seem like Fangio meant he will never be an NFL quarterback.

That wasn’t what he said at all.

If you watched Fangio say what he said live, you would know that what he meant — and what he has really reiterated time and time again — is that Lock has tools and traits, but he has yet to put it all together the way successful NFL quarterbacks do.

This week’s game against Seattle will be Lock’s latest opportunity to show what he can do against better players and with better players around him.

Lock is an ambitious, confident gunslinger with the athleticism to get out and make plays, but like Simba going out into the elephant graveyard, he quickly found out that his natural ability and willingness to take risks are simply not enough to get him by.

Head coach Vic Fangio said that Joe Flacco would play ‘a little’ in this game against the Seahawks, Kevin Hogan will play ‘a little’, and Lock will play ‘a lot’.

He’ll get the lion’s share of reps. Please don’t hate me for that.

The tension in this game will be palpable. Broncos fans are eager — whether that energy is optimistic or not — to see what Joe Flacco can do.

Everyone is also eager and hopeful that Drew Lock can bounce back.

Everyone’s also interested in the fact that on the other sideline is former first-round pick Paxton Lynch. Lynch, of course, now plays for the Seattle Seahawks.

Hear me out: If Flacco is Mufasa, Drew Lock is Simba, then Lynch is Scar in this Lion King analogy. He is the guy who was supposed to be next in line to be king of the Mile High Prideland. He was supposed to be the next heir to the Denver quarterback throne.

Not even three years into his time with the team, the Broncos cut bait. Lynch was let go and spent all of 2018 out of football. He’s expected to play a lot in this game against the Broncos so the Denver defense will have an opportunity to go up against him in live-action for the very first time.

Okay, enough with The Lion King puns.

The point is, we’re going to get to see a lot in a relatively meaningless preseason game. We get to see:

  • Joe Flacco’s first live reps as Broncos QB against another team
  • Drew Lock take a lion’s share of snaps
  • Paxton Lynch playing for another team for the first time

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That’s a lot to take in. We will certainly have no shortage of things to talk about after the game. Which QB is going to make the loudest statement?

We’ll see how hard Drew Lock has been working on his roar.