Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio clearly has a level of disdain for quarterback Drew Lock, and he’s letting it show in the words he speaks.
It feels like the end is drawing near for Vic Fangio with the Denver Broncos. Maybe in a couple of weeks it actually will be, maybe it won’t. One thing is for certain, though — Drew Lock is not Vic Fangio’s cup of tea.
The Broncos traded up to take Drew Lock in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft, an idea that was clearly John Elway’s at the time and something Fangio likely wanted no part of.
A couple of months after Lock was drafted as the Broncos were in the middle of training camp, Fangio said that Lock was, “not a quarterback yet” and that he was more like a “hard-throwing pitcher that doesn’t know how to pitch yet.”
Fangio has never been one to beat around the bush with the way he is thinking, even when it comes to certain players, but it’s clear from the way he’s spoken about Lock for the last three years compared to the way he talks about 2021 starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and the way he talked — at the time — about Joe Flacco, who was absolutely terrible as an investment for the Broncos.
This is not to say that literally everything Fangio has said about Lock has been bad or critical. He has said some nice things about Lock, but there is some clear and obvious hypocrisy in the way he talks about the Broncos’ two different quarterbacks this season, in particular.
The Broncos just lost their fourth-straight game against the Raiders, and Drew Lock frankly played a pretty good game and made some throws we haven’t seen Teddy Bridgewater even come close to all season. He wasn’t perfect, by any means, but his receivers didn’t help him as much throughout the game and some dropped passes could have been the difference in this game going in the Broncos’ favor.
Not that Pro Football Focus grades are the end-all, but this particular grade is worth noting because PFF has historically been incredibly harsh towards Drew Lock.
As was pointed out by Predominantly Orange’s own Steven Kriz, the differences between how Fangio defends his quarterbacks is staggering.
That quote from Fangio came specifically after being asked about Drew Lock’s performance. He went on to defend the receivers, who were hit in the hands on a variety of occasions and didn’t reel in some of Lock’s better passes in the game.
As previously stated, this is a repeated pattern that may not be as obvious at times, but you can clearly look through three seasons worth of comments from Vic Fangio about Drew Lock and see that he’s got no personal attachment to the former second-round pick.
You can look at his comments, and you can also look at his actions, because those speak pretty loud as well.
After one season of Rich Scangarello as the Broncos’ offensive coordinator, Fangio decided to fire him and hire veteran play-caller Pat Shurmur. That move was obviously a horrible one in hindsight but even at the time, what sense did it really make to fire the guy who had been hired to run an offense that would be favorable for Lock, specifically?
The Broncos went 5-1 and had some really nice bursts of offensive success with the combination of Scangarello and Lock, and while Scangarello was not perfect as a play-caller, we’ll never know what his offense could have looked like with a full offseason to work with Lock as the presumptive starter.
This is not to excuse some of Drew Lock’s decision-making as a quarterback. He has been very poor in that regard over 19 NFL starts and deserves criticism for throwing interceptions and being careless with the football.
With that being said, I think any reasonable fan, analyst, or pundit will tell you that Pat Shurmur’s offense has done Drew Lock zero favors.
And while Fangio has no problem throwing Lock under the bus and saying he has very little good to say about the offense, he has no problem saying this about Pat Shurmur after the offense put up 23 points in two games that were basically playoff games:
Shurmur’s long history of success in the NFL has come to a screeching halt in Denver, where the Broncos are one of the worst teams in the NFL at incorporating their offensive talent over the last two seasons and certainly among the worst at getting off to strong starts.
It’s not wrong for Fangio to be positive, what’s wrong is the fact that he is so quick to hold Drew Lock accountable to the general public but won’t do the same for everyone else who has contributed to the blunder that is this 2021 season.
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Fangio’s apparent detachment from Drew Lock will be one of the things I remember least fondly about his time in Denver if and when it comes to an end.