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Drew Lock could give the Broncos a real idea of what they have in Rich Scangarello

The Broncos resident QB whisperer will need to work magic to get the rookie ready.

NFL: Denver Broncos-Training Camp
Could the Broncos OC help the rookie QB flourish?
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Way back when the Broncos first traded for Joe Flacco, I spoke with QB Statistician Ryan Michael to gather gather his thoughts. Broncos Country found this a bit harsh in February:

In my opinion, Flacco has about a 25% chance of being somewhere between “pretty good” and “good” but he’s more likely to be average or worse.

Like casting John Travolta for the next straight to Redbox film. Would you expect a strong acting performance? Mmmaybe, but probably not.

Now we’re all nodding our heads. With Drew Lock watch clearly underway, I thought now was a good time to check in with Michael and gather his thoughts on Denver’s quarterback conundrum.

1st and 10

What have you thought of Joe Flacco’s play for the Broncos so far this season?

Ryan Michael: When you and I spoke in February, I felt that Flacco “may be more of a boom or bust addition, with a greater likelihood to be the latter,” so things have pretty much turned out as I expected they might.

What I see is a quarterback that is doing his imperfect offensive line few favors. This has been the bad version of Flacco - a conservative short-game passer who holds onto the ball too long and looks like a fumble waiting to happen.

It’s the kind of performance that an elite offensive line and turnover-savvy defense could help mask. Unfortunately, that hasn’t come together for the Broncos yet this season (Denver ranks 26th in the NFL with only six forced turnovers).

2nd and 7

How much of the Broncos issues on offense come from Flacco?

Ryan Michael: It’s too bad Elway didn’t draft Russell Wilson instead of Brock Osweiler because I believe Wilson is just the kind of quarterback that could get the most out of this offense.

A fair amount of the blame this season falls on Flacco, but we should recognize that this would be a tough situation for most NFL quarterbacks. He’s toward the top of the league’s bottom third, for whatever that’s worth.

This isn’t an offense that can afford molasses movement in the pocket. Rhythm is so important and it’s very difficult to develop when drives fizzle out; tough completions seem like pleasant surprises and touchdown passes are nowhere to be found. Outside of the loss to Jacksonville, Flacco has averaged 0.5 touchdown passes pergame, over sixgames.

3rd and 3

The last time we chatted, you had this to say about Drew Lock, the prospect:

Like the rest of us, I’ve seen Lock mocked to Denver. I’ve heard him referred to as a dollar store version of Patrick Mahomes. That may be too harsh. He has many of the measurable tools for his game to translate well at the NFL level.

Lock’s no lock to be the next big thing. But with only a fourth-round pick invested into a 34-year-old quarterback with recent injury issues, it’s worth consideration.

Given the way Flacco has looked and how the season is moving, would it make sense for the Broncos to turn to Drew Lock when he’s eligible to return?

Ryan Michael: If they don’t attempt a trade for Matt Ryan or Cam Newton? I’m kidding. You have to consider Lock’s health first and that’s not something I can answer. If or when he’s 100 percent, I wouldn’t have any issue with starting him though.

I wish I could tell you to expect great results, but I’m apprehensive. Not only is Lock inexperienced, not only did he present consistency issues pre-draft, not only did he play poorly in the preseason — but he hasn’t been healthy enough to get in the work that most backups would. That’s not a good combination, but I don’t know how much longer the Broncos can remain content with mediocrity.

At 2-5, the postseason is very unlikely. Rebuilding isn’t fun. Uncertainty isn’t reassuring. I get it. But I’d rather see the team think long-term (and lose more games during the second half of 2019) than I would a spirited 7-9 finish that leaves you with more questions than answers heading into 2020.

4th and 8

If the Broncos do move to Lock, what would you hope Scangarello does to give the rookie his best chance at success? What would you hope to see from him?

Ryan Michael: Fangio was pretty critical of Lock’s readiness this offseason, and the challenge of preparing him to be a consistent, reliable passer may be a blessing in disguise for Denver. Not only would it give them the opportunity to evaluate Lock, but it could also tell them a lot about what Scangarello brings to the table. Did his time under Kyle Shanahan help him to develop a little bit of creativity that a young quarterback with Lock’s upside could take advantage of?

Better blocking and more creative play designs could help this offense establish an identity. Scheme your receivers open to take advantage of Lock’s range. Tight windows will likely result in more interceptions, so play to his strengths.

A “poor man’s Patrick Mahomes” is something the Broncos could build around.

You’d be taking a risk with Lock, there’s no doubt about that. But I’ve seen enough out of Flacco in this offense to determine that swiping left may be their best long-term option in the near future.


Should the Broncos bench Flacco for Lock?

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  • 67%
    (2817 votes)
  • 13%
    (564 votes)
  • 19%
    I don’t even care who it is, just dump Joe Flacco.
    (800 votes)
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