Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio commented about the importance of Drew Lock playing at some point in 2019, and his quote was interesting.
It’s high time we start reading the Denver Broncos’ comments regarding quarterback Drew Lock through a new lens.
Much of Broncos Country, including myself, is chomping at the bit to get the second-round pick onto the field for regular season action, especially as the losses pile up and the Broncos appear headed for their couches again come playoff time.
Why not get the rookie out there and let him earn his lumps?
I’m no football coach, so I don’t know all of the benefits to a player sitting out and learning from the sideline, but Broncos head coach Vic Fangio said that for Lock specifically, playing time in 2019 is not vitally important regarding the team’s evaluation beyond this year.
"“I don’t think it’s vitally important. I can remember back in the strike year (jokes about those who remember this time period)…Anyway, we played a young quarterback in New Orleans for about three games, and he did pretty damn good. And then Bobby Hebert held out the next year. He was part of that class-action lawsuit that the players won free agency with. Missed a whole season. We took the attitude — the franchise — that well, we got this guy that played pretty good for three games. Well, it didn’t work out that way. You know what I’m saying?So, I think with a young guy in limited reps, it can be good — you can get a false positive, you can get a false negative. You know? You need a whole body of work, and that body of work includes offseason, training camp, build-up…I’m not putting any limits on him if he does get in there, but I would be reluctant to make final conclusions.”Vic Fangio (via Broncos PR)"
In addition to what Fangio said here, he was asked whether or not Lock would need a week as Brandon Allen’s backup in order to be inserted into the starting lineup at quarterback. Fangio replied by saying, “Not necessarily, but it could work out that way.”
Although the Broncos have seemingly been vague about their desire to get Lock on the field, this quote appears to be a huge vote of confidence and support of Lock beyond 2019. The Broncos are currently in line for a top 10 selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, and are even slated to pick 7th if the season ended today. Because of their high standing in the 2020 NFL Draft order, one would think the Broncos would want to see their second-rounder on the field so they can make an educated decision of whether to build around him in the 2020 NFL Draft or to take a QB like LSU’s Joe Burrow, Oregon’s Justin Herbert, or Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa.
It doesn’t appear the Broncos are taking that route, at least that’s what this quote tells me.
What Fangio is saying here is that no matter what Lock shows on the field this year — if anything at all — the Broncos are not going to make ‘final conclusions’ about him one way or the other. That presumably leaves the door open for a quarterback in the 2020 NFL Draft, but also seems to indicate this team is comfortable building around Lock for 2020 without any sort of sample size from him this year at all.
Let’s not forget this team spent a second-rounder on Lock. They traded up to secure him. Lock also went from being a “hard-throwing pitcher that doesn’t know how to pitch” to being the Broncos’ backup quarterback in a matter of about four weeks before he hurt his thumb.
The Broncos have also implemented VR training into the young quarterback’s regimen, where Lock goes through a practice session through virtual reality technology in what John Elway has called the next best thing to actual practice.
The Broncos are developing Lock behind the scenes, but the fans are getting frustrated that we don’t have regular-season game samples to get excited about, and that’s understandable.
At this point, I think it’s obvious that Lock is going to play. Although the wait to see him has been tough, keep in mind that the Broncos had planned on an entire 16-game slate of Joe Flacco prior to the veteran’s neck injury, so getting Lock on the field in 2019 is going to be earlier than promised no matter what.
As the Broncos prepare for the Buffalo Bills with Brandon Allen as the starting quarterback, the logic to get Lock onto the field is simple, but for whatever the reasons, the Broncos want to give him more time to prepare in practice.
Because of what Fangio said regarding the team not making any final conclusions about Lock one way or the other, we can rest easy knowing the second-rounder out of Missouri is going to have a patient coaching staff and front office behind him.