The Denver Broncos are giving their young quarterbacks a chance to prove themselves. Are they going about it the right way?
Now that Drew Lock has returned to Broncos practice, does the team have a ‘mapped out’ plan to get him into the starting lineup?
Not according to head coach Vic Fangio.
Fangio addressed the media on Monday and stated that Lock will be judged based on how he looks and what the coaches think of what they see, and even went so far as to say there’s no guarantee he will even be one of the players designated to come off of injured reserve.
Since Lock has been drafted, nothing has been handed to him, that’s for sure. He had earned the Broncos’ backup QB job before injuring his hand in a preseason game, and that injury is the only reason he’s not trying to lead the Broncos out of the depths of a 2-6 start behind Joe Flacco instead of Brandon Allen, who is now 1-0 as the team’s starting quarterback.
Fangio said the Broncos want to see ‘good quarterback play and that he belongs’ from Lock in his press conference, and what I think he means by the latter is that the coaching staff wants to see that the entire team is going to rally around Lock.
The Broncos aren’t just going to put the rookie out there and expect every other player on the roster to be okay with it.
Fangio also said that practices will ‘possibly’ be adjusted and catered to Lock and giving him a chance to show his progress.
It’s possible he’s activated as early as this week to be the backup to Brandon Allen, but based on what Fangio’s saying, that doesn’t seem likely.
It’s more likely the Broncos utilize at least a couple of weeks in practice to make sure Lock is ready to go physically, but it’s hard to understand why they are being so coy about just saying he’s coming back and coming out with it that they have a goal to get him reps.
The good news about things not being ‘mapped out’ for Lock is that he can impress the coaches enough that they bring him back sooner than many expect as well. Allen will have a chance to fend of Lock with his starting opportunities, however.
Fangio said that Allen’s performance in games will be one of the factors in determining whether or not Lock is activated off injured reserve. If Allen plays well enough, will the Broncos seriously keep Lock on ice the rest of this season?
It makes no sense to do that. At the very least, Lock needs to be activated as the backup quarterback so he can get as many practice reps as possible through the end of the season.
The Broncos have seven games remaining, and at the bare minimum, Lock should start the last two.
If the Broncos lose their next two games (@Minnesota, @Buffalo), we could see Lock as early as three weeks from now with their home game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
It’s hard to imagine the Broncos will completely forsake the opportunity to see Lock play this year. He was a second-round pick and could be the future of the franchise while Allen is a backup who is probably not going to be this team’s franchise QB.
If the team and coaching staff was capable of getting Allen ready to go out and start a regular-season game and play well, why can the same not be done for Lock? Obviously the two are at different stages of their NFL careers, and Allen has been practicing all year, but it’s not like Lock has just been on a vacation since he hurt his thumb.
He’s been getting mental reps, doing the VR training, and working at his craft.
I am not a huge fan of the Broncos letting these guys duke it out in practice. Unfair or not, I don’t think Allen should be getting the same type of opportunity as Lock, despite the fact that he played pretty well in his regular-season debut.
Allen was claimed off waivers. Lock was a second-round pick that the Broncos traded up for.
You have to make the draft choice a priority. This is what got the Broncos into some trouble with Paxton Lynch.
Lock needs to go out and win the competition with practice reps, and in the meantime, Allen is going to try and prove to the Broncos’ coaching staff that he can not only keep the team afloat but run the offense well enough to keep this team winning. He has a tough task this weekend in Minnesota.