Denver Broncos: Drew Lock could return sooner than expected

Drew Lock, Denver Broncos (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Drew Lock, Denver Broncos (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Despite the shoulder injury to Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock, there’s a chance he could return sooner than expected.

The Denver Broncos lost quarterback Drew Lock to an injury to his throwing shoulder against the Steelers on Sunday. The expectation is that he will miss between 2-6 weeks.

So, why not place Lock on injured reserve, forcing him to miss the next three games? That makes the most sense, right? Well, maybe not quite.

There is hope that Lock will return a lot sooner than expected. He could be back after missing just two games. If the Broncos placed Lock on injured reserve, it puts the possibility of him returning sooner than he potentially could to bed. They don’t want to do that.

While Lock is out, Jeff Driskel will hold down the fort. Driskel went 18-of-34, 256 yards, two touchdowns and an interception against the Steelers. That’s not too shabby.

Lock was seen at practice on Wednesday without the sling he had immediately after the Steelers game. That’s very, very good news.

Of course, the Broncos don’t want to rush Lock back. It would be a big problem if they got him back prematurely and he ended up getting hurt even more severely. As long as they are confident in Driskel, they should let Lock heal to where there is no doubt that he is healthy.

However, the longer Lock is out, the less time he will have to build chemistry and timing with his receivers. That’s a huge bummer with this situation.

The Broncos are about to face a stout defense in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who feature guys such as Devin White, Ndamukong Suh, Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul. That is likely to be yet another big test  for an offensive line that gave up seven sacks to the Steelers last week. While Lock is out, the Broncos now have Blake Bortles as the backup quarterback to Driskel.

There is no doubt that Lock will be the starting quarterback when healthy. It’s just a matter of when that will be.

In training camp, the Broncos tried all sorts of combinations. Sometimes they had Courtland Sutton as WR1, sometimes they had Jerry Jeudy take that role. Driskel has not been completely shutout from throwing to the team’s starters basically because of this strategy. That should pay off in the long-run.

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There were plenty of struggles on the offensive line in the last two weeks. Ja’Wuan James opted out of the 2020 season, forcing the Broncos to choose a replacement. They went with Elijah Wilkinson, who struggled in Pittsburgh.

Just like the Steelers, the Buccaneers are loaded on defense. Hopefully the entire offensive line can be better than last week, keeping Driskel on his feet, and continue to get better as Lock comes back.