Denver Broncos: 5 takeaways from ugly loss to Tom Brady’s Bucs

Denver Broncos, Jeff Driskel (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos, Jeff Driskel (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Denver Broncos, Jeff Driskel
Jeff Driskel, Denver Broncos (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

1. Jeff Driskel had a short leash

Jeff Driskel showed some heart in relief of Drew Lock against the Pittsburgh Steelers in week two.

Unfortunately, he also showed his pocket presence is not good, taking the bulk of 19 quarterback hits from the Steelers in that game.

Against the Buccaneers, Driskel again took the majority of the 10 QB hits allowed by the Broncos in this game, and while it’s fair to place some blame on the offensive line for a number of those hits, a lot is on the shoulders of Driskel, who wasn’t getting the ball out, wasn’t identifying blitzers, and was just generally not seeing the field well all game.

The same problems came up with Joe Flacco at quarterback in 2019. It was no shock that when Drew Lock came in, the protection seemed much better. He sees the field much better, has better pocket presence, and gets rid of the ball quicker.

Against the Steelers, Lock tried to roll out and make a play before he was tackled from behind, and he was only hit five times against the Titans in week one. The offensive line is probably not as bad as these last two games have made them out to be, though there are some clear areas of weakness, no question.

So, when Driskel was benched in the fourth quarter for Brett Rypien (who was just promoted off the practice squad this past week) it came as no surprise, and head coach Vic Fangio noted after the game that it was partly due to needing to get the ball out quicker that Rypien replaced Driskel.

Rypien started off hot in terms of completing passes, but then got strip-sacked and then intercepted to end an otherwise promising first NFL drive.

It’s clear now why the Broncos moved so quickly to sign Blake Bortles.