QB or not QB? It’s a question as Bridgewater and Lock enter into OTA competition


ENGLEWOOD, Colo .– On Monday, the quarterback competition between Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock began. The Broncos sheepishly boast 10 starters since Peyton Manning’s retirement, coinciding with zero playoff berths and four consecutive seasons losing for the first time since 1963-72.

In fact, the race for this job started months ago in basements, on dimly lit phone screens, and on Zoom calls that always end.

For Lock, it all caught up with him this offseason – the enormity of playing quarterback for the Broncos and the reality of keeping his starting job. Lock turned inward, analyzing his strengths, but especially his flaws, then turned to solitary gymnastics to stimulate improvement. He spoke with Hall of Famer Manning about the nuances of the game, how to read defenses, how to change his footwork, admitting, “I’ll be forever grateful for the time he spent with me. have it in my corner. ”

Lock adopted a new routine after equalizing for the league lead in interceptions (16) and posting the worst winning percentage (57.3). He threw in the morning, came home for the movie and footwork in his basement, attended Zooms, dropped in again, and worked. It was groundhog day in a good way. He left Lock with the laser focused on his improvement, not worrying about Aaron Rodgers (you know the rumor that won’t go away).

“No matter what happened, if I stayed, if I left or if I had to be the guy, my state of mind hasn’t changed,” said Lock, who is 8-10 in his career with 23 touchdowns and 18 picks. “I want this team to be good. I want to be good. I want to help this team get back to the playoffs. It has been a tough year because of COVID. I put everything in this offseason plan to ignite a bit of fire . in this city and this team. “

While Lock, 24, has lost interest in social media for the past five months – perfect timing given the business speculation surrounding Matthew Stafford, Deshaun Watson and Rodgers – he has not lost his advantage or the support of his teammates. They appreciate his pride, self-confidence and work ethic. It is a question of proving it.

“I can’t wait to go back,” Lock said, “and I have read everything that is badly written on me.”

Bridgewater, 28, remains a diplomat and opportunist. He researched the Broncos for several weeks before the trade. Once it became apparent he was alone in Carolina – he declined to speak negatively of the Panthers on Monday – Bridgewater began to watch the landing spots. The Broncos’ winning story and the city of Denver drew him in.

Bridgewater first trained with the Broncos on Monday, showing off both his gloves – they were orange in case you were wondering – and his precision. I asked him about the QB depth fight, which honestly doesn’t start, coach Fangio conceded, ahead of 11-on-11 drills later this month and seriously at training camp.

Bridgewater has acknowledged that nothing resolves in gym shorts. Or won by worrying about a possible trade for Rodgers, the league’s reigning MVP.

“Honestly, man, I keep my head down and control what I control. These days are a chance for me to improve as a teammate and as a person. It’s a business. I understand. the nature of it, ”said Bridgewater, who is 26-23 in his career with 54 touchdowns and 36 interceptions. “Every day that I wake up I consider myself to be competing for my job. My mindset is competition.”

Fangio continues to deliver the message that Lock and Bridgewater – or is it Bridgewater and Lock? – will divide the representatives. The reality is that few teams win with long QB battles. This can divide dressing rooms, even in private, and lead the Starter to run out of practice time for the season.

The Broncos are in a better position with Lock and Bridgewater than a year ago. Both have won games and could serve as a safety net or relief if the starter falters. Radical improvement is needed, however. With clarity. And it remains months in this derby QB or not QB.

“I hope we find one soon,” left tackle Garett Bolles said, while offering support from Lock and Bridgewater. “We have so many deadly players on offense, all we have to do is put the ball in their hands. If we do that the NFL better watch out.”

Left guard Dalton Risner missed Monday’s training after contracting COVID-19 between his vaccinations. “I’m leaving on day 7. I’ll be back soon, don’t worry,” Risner told Denver7. “Don’t let anyone think I’m not here by choice. I feel good.” …

Outisde linebacker Bradley Chubb will not be training until training camp after removing bone spurs from an ankle that began to act in the offseason. There was some concern, Fangio admitted, that Chubb would be sidelined until mid-August. But the coach said on Monday he believed the Pro Bowler would be ready for training camp. …

Only about nine players did not attend OTAs as the Broncos’ decision to boycott training camp is no longer one thing. The NFLPA advised players to stay on the sidelines in April, citing concerns over COVID first and then acknowledging the move was designed to shorten off-season practice with the addition of a 17th game. Among those who weren’t there by choice were veteran running back Melvin Gordon – he prefers to train alone – and cornerback Kyle Fuller. Gordon is expected to attend the mandatory minicamp next month.

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