Denver Broncos: QB decision has heavy implications for franchise’s future

Denver Broncos quarterbacks Drew Lock, Teddy Bridgewater. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos quarterbacks Drew Lock, Teddy Bridgewater. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

The Denver Broncos have announced that Teddy Bridgewater will be the starting QB. Could this decision prove to be the wrong one for the team’s future?

It’s official, the Denver Broncos will add yet another member to the quarterback carousel this upcoming season. The team announced on Monday that Teddy Bridgewater will be their starting quarterback.

Bridgewater is set to become Denver’s 11th starting quarterback in the past six years and the latest in the team’s six-year search for a franchise quarterback in the post-Peyton Manning era.

When asked about his decision in making Bridgewater the team’s starting quarterback, Fangio had the following to say:

"There wasn’t a lot of separation between the both of them, they both had great camps, they both had their moments. We just made this decision; we think it’s for the best for the team right now moving forward.– Vic Fangio via Broncos PR"

The words ‘right now’ may have been, perhaps, the biggest indication in Fangio’s reasoning to give Bridgewater the starting nod.

In each of the last two seasons, the Denver Broncos have failed to win a single game during the month of September. Fangio’s infamous slow starts in each of his two seasons as the Broncos head coach, have left the team in tough positions to make the playoffs.

After going 7-9 in his first season, and then following that up with a 5-11 record last year, there seems to be growing speculation that Fangio’s seat is starting to warm up. There’s no telling what might happen if the Broncos can’t clinch a playoff berth this year.

With the team starting off the season against some likely beatable teams like the Giants, Jets, and Jaguars, Fangio’s ‘safe’ choice in Bridgewater could help him get off to a much-needed fast start.

However, Fangio’s decision to go with Teddy Bridgewater now could prove to be a devastating one for the franchise later. Here’s why:

Denver Broncos’ Quarterback Search Continues

Teddy Bridgewater taking over as the starting quarterback unofficially marks the end of the Drew Lock era in Denver. This season would have been a chance for Lock to prove that he was the franchise quarterback this team longs for. But, after only 18 starts, it seems like Denver’s days of developing Lock have come to an end. Despite what seemed like vast improvement all around from Lock this offseason, it seems it was insufficient, according to Fangio’s final decision.

Now, the Denver Broncos will look to shift focus to finding their next quarterback. While Teddy Bridgewater is more than capable of operating Denver’s offense, he isn’t the team’s long-term answer at quarterback. Throughout his career, Bridgewater has struggled to put up the numbers needed to take on a potent AFC West division. He’s also had a concerning pattern of reoccurring injuries that prevent him from finishing out complete seasons.

With a healthy and talented roster like the Broncos, Teddy Bridgewater may be able to reach his highest ceiling yet. But don’t be fooled, even with some level of success, Denver’s quarterback search is far from over. Teddy Bridgewater is a bridge quarterback. Although he remains a safe and serviceable quarterback, there’s a reason he’s become quite the journeyman in the NFL.

It won’t be long before Denver decides to make their next attempt at finding their franchise quarterback.

Missed Opportunities

The move to announce Teddy Bridgewater as the starter over Drew Lock could be one of the most controversial ones in recent years. If it works out, it should be enough to keep critics at bay for at least another season. However, it cannot be understated how many great quarterbacks were available to the Broncos this offseason and how little the team entertained the idea of attaining them.

This offseason, Drew Lock was the center of many rumored trade offers, yet Paton decided to keep him stashed away in his back pocket. Now that Lock is not the starting quarterback, it is puzzling to see why Paton had such a hard time letting him go.

But perhaps the largest missed opportunity of the offseason, and possibly of Paton’s short tenure with the Broncos, is the decision to pass up Justin Fields. It’s obvious the team has moved on from Drew Lock, but when else will they get the chance to draft such a highly regarded quarterback prospect again without giving up major draft capital?

Drafting Fields under Bridgewater could have been the team’s opportunity to secure the franchise’s future, while also ensuring the team’s success today.

Coaching Reset, Again?

As stated earlier, Fangio’s coaching job among others seems to be at stake this season. It’s hard to see Fangio and the Broncos parting ways if they find do find a way to make the playoffs. However, if Fangio’s decision to stick with Bridgewater fails him and the Broncos falls short, we could see Paton hit the reset button on the entire coaching staff.

Starting off clean once again would mark the beginning of a new brand of Broncos football. Unfortunately, until the team can find a consistent coaching staff and quarterback to stay on the same page, it will likely mean a few more seasons in quarterback purgatory.