Drew Lock: 3 things the young Broncos QB must stop doing
3. Stop giving defenses a reason to stack the box
Let’s be honest — all of these things are easier said than done.
Playing quarterback in the NFL is a brutally hard job, just ask Kendall Hinton. Reading the field, making throws, identifying coverages and blitz packages, and just generally operating an NFL offense is a glamorous job for a reason.
Over the course of the 2020 season, it appears as though the Broncos’ most consistently successful passing comes when Drew Lock is moved out of the pocket on play-action and he’s given a low-high progression to quickly work through.
When Lock sits in the pocket and does the same thing, the Broncos’ offense has not had nearly as much success.
It’s not clear how much autonomy Lock has with Pat Shurmur’s offense at this point, but it seems shocking that based on pre-snap coverage or blitz identification, Lock would not have more options to check to in terms of short passes.
The Broncos need to start scheming more quick throws to their playmakers to get them the ball in space, but also to get Lock in a rhythm and get his completion percentage up. Lock leads the NFL in intended air yards per pass attempt (9.4) which means he is throwing the ball downfield more than any other quarterback in the NFL on a per-pass basis.
Given the fact that he is not going through all of his progressions every single play, that is not a recipe for long-term, sustained success. It gives defenses every reason to believe that Lock is going to look to one side of the field and more likely than not, throw it that direction.
On a wide variety of plays in 2020, if Lock would trust his protection and hasten his process, he would find many receivers on the backside of the progression working open. When the bullets are flying in the game, it’s Lock’s second nature to try to use his arm talent to fit the ball to his first or second read.
As a result, Lock truly doesn’t take many sacks. He does not hold the ball too long and in 14 NFL games, he has taken just 16 sacks.
Lock’s pre-determined throws are not always the wrong decision. However, over the course of an entire game and over the course of the season, it leads to putting the ball in harm’s way too many times for anyone’s liking.
As Lock learns to trust his protection, he must also speed up his process and look to his backside reads. If he shows he’s able to do that and consistently hit those throws, making defenses pay for being over-aggressive, he will not face nearly as many stacked boxes which will benefit the entire Broncos offense.