Denver Broncos: Drew Lock should be the starting QB in 2021

Denver Broncos QB Drew Lock. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos QB Drew Lock. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

It’s almost time for Vic Fangio to name his starting quarterback for 2021. Will it be Teddy Bridgewater or Drew Lock against the Giants?

Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio has maintained to the media that the quarterback competition between Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock is close and that both guys have played well. He’s talked about how both quarterbacks have made his decision — which needs to be made soon — rather difficult. If that is actually the case and he’s not just pumping us all up with fluff, then his decision should be rather easy.

If it’s close at all, the choice has to be Drew Lock.

That kind of straightforward statement after Teddy Bridgewater just got done playing a really nice game against the Seattle Seahawks won’t sit well with everyone reading this.

Let it be known that there would be nothing wrong with Teddy Bridgewater winning the quarterback job. The unfortunate reality of the NFL is that sometimes, guys just don’t reach their full potential, at least with their original team. That could be the case with Drew Lock, we just don’t know yet.

Some would disagree and say that there has been plenty of evidence that Lock is not “the guy” for the Denver Broncos, but I think it’s extremely premature.

The Denver Broncos passed on top quarterback prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft, namely Justin Fields of Ohio State and Mac Jones of Alabama. Both Fields and Jones have looked good in preseason play for their respective teams, which ultimately means nothing but it’s what we have to go off of at this point.

After passing on the free agent market as well as the 2021 Draft class, bringing in only Teddy Bridgewater to upgrade the QB room, the pressure was obviously on Drew Lock as the younger guy with upside the team clearly thought — if even just on some level — could reach his potential.

According to 850 KOA Broncos Insider Benjamin Allbright, the coaching staff may have been leaning towards the more experienced Bridgewater from the jump.

Bridgewater could be named the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback at any moment, but that’s certainly not guaranteed. He has been painted as the “safer” option to Drew Lock and while that may be true on a number of levels, Lock also showed throughout training camp that he has made some necessary strides in his game to have earned another shot in 2021.

Lock, according to Allbright, threw fewer interceptions throughout training camp. That doesn’t necessarily mean everything but the coaching staff has to have taken notice that, when the games were played, Lock so far has the most impressive individual performance with a phenomenal outing against the Minnesota Vikings.

Bridgewater may have been better against the Seattle Seahawks, but on the whole, Lock completed 14-of-21 passes in two preseason outings (66.7 percent completion rate) for 271 yards, two touchdowns, and a rating of 116.4.

He wasn’t perfect, but neither was Bridgewater.

Although Bridgewater completed a higher percentage of his passes and also had two touchdowns, the coaching staff plowed through a couple of fourth downs against the Seattle Seahawks that they might not have in a regular season game with the threat of giving the ball over to Russell Wilson as a consequence of failing.

Bridgewater showed his combination of veteran poise and savvy as well as his lack of willingness to take risks in each of the two preseason games, a combination that a head coach like Vic Fangio may be more willing to roll with considering the Denver Broncos’ first three games are very “winnable” and they have to get off to a hot start.

Lock definitely showed some of the reasons why it might be hard to roll into the regular season with him against Seattle with a fumble (which he recovered) on a sack as well as a fumble after he was stepped on by Austin Schlottmann, a footwork issue for Lock that has to get cleaned up.

Even considering the issues Lock had against Seattle, he has proven through two games that he can make better decisions with the football and he completed 66.7 percent of his passes, which is obviously a huge upgrade over what we saw from him last season.

Sure, it was only two preseason games, but there is projection involved with starting either of these guys, and neither has gotten the chance to show what they can do with Courtland Sutton (or Tim Patrick) on the field during preseason action.

What the coaching staff saw throughout training camp and perhaps especially in the joint practices with the Minnesota Vikings could prove to be crucial in this competition.

Vic Fangio says the two quarterbacks have made this decision tough for him, and that statement has come multiple times since the joint practices and training camp competition ended.

If the competition is close, I’ve said this all along — the option is Drew Lock. You would have loved to see one guy absolutely blow the other out of the water so that it was a no-brainer in that way, but the fact that both guys have played well should give Vic Fangio confidence to enter the 2021 season with the higher upside option in Drew Lock.

Starting off with Teddy Bridgewater would seem to be the team waving the proverbial white flag with Drew Lock, at least on some level. It wouldn’t be the end of the line for Lock, by any means, but it would be disheartening given the improvements we’ve seen from him in preseason play.

Again, the decision has apparently been made difficult by both guys, which makes it an easy one.

Roll with Drew Lock in 2021.