Drew Lock, Vic Fangio talk about importance of continuity

Drew Lock, Denver Broncos quarterback. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Drew Lock, Denver Broncos quarterback. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

Drew Lock, Vic Fangio talk about the importance of continuity.

Continuity would be a nice change of pace for Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock.

It’s well documented that Broncos offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is Lock’s sixth different offensive coordinator in the last seven years, but what kind of a difference does continuity actually make?

Isn’t insanity doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result?

In football, it’s a bit different of a story.

The NFL has always been a what have you done for me lately kind of league. Coaches can be fired after just a year on the job. Legendary quarterbacks can be replaced at the drop of a hat. The league has developed to the point that if a player doesn’t show you something right away, he’s in danger of getting replaced potentially before the time is appropriate.

The Denver Broncos have had one winning season since Super Bowl 50 (2016) so it’s understandable that fans would be impatient with the team developing a young quarterback like Drew Lock, especially considering the offense leads the league in turnovers.

Broncos fans want to win and win now. Who doesn’t?

The Broncos right now are playing a long game. Patrick Mahomes has been so good in his first three seasons as the Kansas City Chiefs’ starting quarterback that there is no sense in rushing from one player to the next at quarterback unless you have a shot at a generational talent.

Last time I checked, the Broncos aren’t catching the New York Jets for Trevor Lawrence.

Short of a complete tank job for Lawrence, the Broncos’ best option has always been true progress from Drew Lock, and that is of course in the hands of no. 3 himself.

In the 14 games Lock has both started and finished, the team is 8-6. You can make of that what you will, but even with his “rookie” moments, Lock has been a catalyst for the Denver Broncos and has led them to their best 14-game stretch from a starting quarterback since 2016.

Lock has not been the sole reason the Broncos have won eight of those 14 games, but it’s no coincidence that the team’s record is better when he’s on the field.

Despite some of his mechanical flaws or bad habits, there is plenty of reason to believe that the best option for Lock and the Broncos is to “run it back” in 2021 and hope that a full offseason working with Pat Shurmur, coming back in 2021 and knowing this offense as a first language, and having all of the rest of the offensive starters back will be a formula for success.

Lock talked about the idea with the press on Wednesday.

Lock said it would be his “most comforting feeling since sophomore year of college” to be able to have the combination of OC Pat Shurmur and quarterbacks coach Mike Shula return to Denver next year.

That was, obviously, the last time Lock had a coordinator in back-to-back years (Josh Heupel) and talked about how it can really benefit everybody in the offense to have the same play caller.

It wasn’t just Lock who talked about continuity as a positive, either. Head coach Vic Fangio made note of a number of the best quarterbacks to ever do it who had or who continue to have continuity.

A prime example of this is coming to Denver on Saturday afternoon.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen had statistically been one of the league’s worst, most inefficient passers in his first two NFL seasons. Finding his way as a passer while contributing to a lot of Buffalo Bills victories, Allen has continually worked at his craft and become an MVP candidate on a really good Buffalo team in 2020.

It was noted during the Bills’ Sunday night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers how hard Allen has been working with former NFL quarterback Jordan Palmer on his mechanics, and not only eliminating bad habits but creating new, good ones.

The hope is obviously that it wouldn’t take three years for every quarterback to figure that out, but there are certain guys who are worth investing that time in. Lock truly appears to be one of those types of guys.

Of course, continuity is something everyone also agreed would be good after the 2019 season. The Denver Broncos had hired young offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello away from the 49ers in hopes of establishing that kind of Shanahan-Kubiak offense that could beat just about any defensive scheme if run correctly.

Pat Shurmur became available upon being fired from the Giants, and the Broncos agreed that the combination of Shurmur and Shula as the offensive/quarterback brain trust was too good to keep continuity with what they previously had.

Now that the Broncos have gone through some bad speed bumps, it appears the offense as a whole has turned a corner and is playing much better in their last three contests (omitting, of course, the Saints game).

Against Miami, Kansas City, and Carolina, the three-and-out possessions were minimal. Turnovers have decreased, red zone production has improved, and most notably — Drew Lock has clearly gotten better and better.

Considering the alternatives realistically available to the Broncos in 2021, there should be no rush for the team to move on from Lock, Shurmur, or Shula. As a matter of fact, the front office should double down on their strategy in the first place — build the best possible team around Lock and see if the team as a whole can show the progress necessary to compete for one of seven AFC playoff spots.