Drew Lock: 5 reasons Broncos fans should be keeping the faith

Denver Broncos QB #3 Drew Lock. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos QB #3 Drew Lock. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /
1 of 6
Drew Lock, Denver Broncos
Nov 8, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) leaves the field after the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

Should Denver Broncos fans be keeping faith in Drew Lock as the QB of the future?

Losing is frustrating. Waiting is hard. Finding a franchise QB is one of the toughest jobs in sports.

So is playing quarterback in the NFL.

As the Denver Broncos were almost willfully watching Justin Herbert pick them apart to the tune of 24-3 a couple of weeks ago, CBS color commentator Rich Gannon — a former Denver Broncos rival as a Raiders quarterback himself — was talking about how easy Justin Herbert was making it look, even though it wasn’t supposed to be that way.

He’s making it look easy — it’s not supposed to be easy!

It’s true, Herbert is one of a number of young quarterbacks transitioning a bit quicker to the NFL game than Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock has, but as Gannon pointed out — it’s not supposed to happen that way.

At the very least, it is rare to see what we’ve seen from Herbert. Actually, what Herbert is doing is unprecedented in NFL history.

The fact that Herbert is making NFL history is compounded by the fact that Patrick Mahomes looks like he might wind up becoming the best quarterback to ever play the game. Is that too much hyperbole?

At the very least, Mahomes is going to be a huge thorn in the Broncos’ side for the next decade or longer, barring injury. The game slowed down for Mahomes much slower than anyone thought it would when he came out of Texas Tech in 2017.

It’s also difficult for Broncos fans right now because Derek Carr, who has been somewhat average the past couple of seasons, seems to have taken his game to a new level in 2020 and is playing the best ball of his career, in my opinion.

In the past decade, the pro game has meshed quite a bit more with the college game, making the transition for some QBs a little more seamless than it was in the past. Look at a situation like Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury in Arizona for dramatic evidence in favor of that. The Cardinals bought into Kingsbury’s system and Murray was hand-picked to run it.

With that said, it’s not easy for young passers to just come into the NFL and dominate immediately. Some historic trends are still holding up, even though it’s not as tough for QBs to transition from college to the pros, at least schematically.

Over the past two weeks, the Denver Broncos have both won and lost in games that were very similar overall.

Through the first three quarters, the offense struggled to consistently move the ball or put up points. In the final quarter, they had an offensive explosion, led by quarterback Drew Lock.

Through six games with Lock at the helm, the Broncos are 2-4, though Lock only finished five of those games and threw five passes against the Steelers.

Dating back to the 2019 season, the Broncos are 6-4 when Lock starts and finishes a game, and in those 10 games, they have scored 27 or more points four times.

Coming out of Missouri, there were plenty of questions about Lock’s game and ability to play well consistently at the NFL level.

Would footwork continue to be an issue? Accuracy? Decision-making?

Could Lock break bad habits and establish good ones?

Frankly, writing and putting together this post has been difficult. It’s very easy to place faith in Lock on one hand from the optimistic perspective that the good he has shown will eventually become consistent. The tension is in the fact that right now, among 33 qualified quarterbacks, Lock is dead last in the NFL in completion percentage. He’s thrown at least one interception in each of the last four games.

The fact of the matter is if Lock plays exactly like he has been the last 2-4 weeks for every one of the Broncos’ eight remaining games, alternatives will likely be explored by John Elway and the front office via free agency, trade, or the 2021 NFL Draft.

There is also a chance, maybe even a good one, the Broncos will see the good from Lock this year and try to build on that for the future.

Here are the main reasons I’m keeping the faith in Lock for the future, and imploring Broncos Country to join me.