How the Broncos can set Drew Lock on the right course
1. Reign it in a little bit…
The first thing Drew Lock needs to do to get back on course? Reign it in.
What do I mean by that?
Statistics don’t often tell the full story, but in this case, they bring some valuable insight into why Lock has struggled in just over 100 pass attempts this season.
Among qualifying quarterbacks, Lock leads the NFL this season with an average of 10.3 intended air yards per pass attempt. This means that Lock is chucking the ball downfield more than any other QB in the NFL on a per pass attempt basis.
The Broncos’ offensive coaches have given him the freedom to do this, and Lock is taking advantage…a little too much.
It was Lock himself in 2019 who said, “You can’t go broke taking a profit.” That mindset earned Lock a lot of confidence from the front office as he averaged 6.8 air yards per attempt but had a higher touchdown percentage and a much lower interception percentage.
Downfield throws are crucial, but one of the problems I have taken note of with the Broncos’ offense all season — regardless of the quarterback — has been the number of low percentage passing plays attempted in crucial downs or situations.
Throwing the ball 20-plus yards downfield on 3rd-and-2 is probably not the best idea. There have been far too many instances this season where Lock is putting the ball deep downfield and hoping the receiver can come down with it, rather than taking the ‘profit’ of a higher percentage pass play with less of a chance to gain 20-plus yards.
Part of this falls on offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur as well. Shurmur has been dialing up these lower percentage plays and Lock is simply running the play as called.
What has been happening should not come as a huge shock. Drew Lock leads the NFL in air yards per pass attempt. The more air under the ball, typically you’re going to have less of a chance of completing the pass.
The first thing the Broncos need to do to get Drew Lock back on course is call higher percentage passing plays and Lock needs to be accurate on those throws.