There are no more Denver Broncos games in 2019, but in a season filled with ups-and-downs, there has been an awakening.
The awakening for the Denver Broncos in 2019 began with the insertion of new quarterback Drew Lock into the starting lineup.
He helped unlock a potential future that includes many other young playmakers on the team. While there have been other key young players that performed well during the season, the true awakening came when Lock was named the starter. Ever since he stepped in there has been an offensive uptick from nearly everyone involved.
Every person is different in how they have swagger and can inject life into a team. Lock has created confidence in players that needed it.
Let us first start with DaeSean Hamilton who had struggled close to the entire year until Lock became the quarterback. Hamilton is a talented wide receiver but dealt with unfortunate drops during the year. When Lock became a starter he relied on Hamilton for third downs and Hamilton proved to be the player he was drafted to be the last handful of games. It has created an awakening for Hamilton’s career.
Ever since Lock stepped foot on the football field there has been an aura or presence about him that truly gives life to those around the former Missouri quarterback. You could say it is like the “force.” Lock’s Jedi mind tricks worked wonders on his teammates even before the season started. Granted they are not tricks — it was all from the heart. Lock truly wants to earn the respect of his teammates, peers, and the rest of the NFL. At the beginning of Training Camp, players saw it.
Von Miller felt the awakening of Drew Lock even before he stepped onto the football field for his first start. Miller called him a rock star. Shelby Harris said Lock reminds him of Brett Favre, the Hall of Fame quarterback of the Green Bay Packers.
Tight end Jeff Heuerman also spoke glowingly about the quarterback. Wide receiver Courtland Sutton gravitated immediately to Lock’s presence on the field.
However, there is one player that saw before any of the other Broncos teammates and that is Dalton Risner. Lock and Risner have a tremendous bond that is close to a brotherhood. They played with each other at the Senior Bowl, were drafted in the same round, and were back-to-back picks. Risner knew about the potential of Lock before he became a Bronco. Now that they are on the same team, it makes it that much sweeter.
Speaking of the offensive line, this is where the greatest form of awakening happened under Drew Lock. Lock was sacked six times in five games compared to 28 times for Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen in the other 11 games. Lock’s ability to get the ball out quickly and move the pocket with his legs is a weapon.
This will not be the first time Denver will have a quarterback who can get the ball to receivers quickly. You cannot compare Lock and the legendary Peyton Manning, but you see a similar trait in how quick they can get passes out. This can greatly impact an offensive line. Even piggy-backing on the mobility, Lock has shown presence to step forward and not drift backward in the pocket. Lock’s willingness to do this is a breath of fresh air in Denver.
The best sign of Denver’s new awakening came in the month of December. As we said earlier, Lock elevated the play of everyone around him. This is the sign of a great quarterback making people around them better.
Lock was 4-1 in the month of December, closing out the season in tremendous fashion. He inserted himself into a conversation Denver has not had since Peyton Manning — a conversation involving the quarterback of the future.
In the new Star Wars trilogy, one of the scenes from The Force Awakens, Supreme Leader Snoke tells Kylo Ren that there has been an ‘awakening’. Snoke continues by asking if Kylo Ren has felt the awakening. Considering all the factors, the Broncos find themselves in the midst of awakening led by Drew Lock. The young Broncos quarterback has an arm that is like a lightsaber capable of cutting through the teeth of a defense.
Now we will see if this awakening sends ripple effects to the rest of the AFC and AFC West.