The Denver Broncos have been in preseason mode for a few weeks now. While the games may not really count, they certainly matter, and it’s all about Drew Lock and his development.
What we are witnessing in Broncos Country is a shift that we have been waiting for since Peyton Manning lifted the Lombardi Trophy and rode off into the sunset after Super Bowl 50. As Ian and I discussed on the MHR Radio Podcast, in beating the Detroit Lions Lock and the rest of the youth movement in Denver showed that the future is bright in Denver.
The biggest takeaway from the Broncos win was the maturity that the young group of offensive players showed. We have spent weeks raving about Courtland Sutton as the Broncos new No. 1 receiver, but his impact on this game was felt in a much different way.
With Darius Slay blanketing Sutton everywhere he went, it could have been disastrous. Many rookie QBs would struggle in a situation where their most reliable target was unavailable. Lock was able to adjust, follow the game plan, and create success.
A quick glance at Lock’s stat line might be unimpressive — 192 yards and one touchdown on 25 of 33 passes doesn’t exactly light the world on fire. However, it’s the nine different receivers that caught a pass that stands out. DaeSean Hamilton led the way with six catches for 65 yards and a TD on six targets.
Tim Patrick added five catches to go along with Sutton’s five. Six other players had receptions. Lock spread the ball around and took what the defense gave him. Sutton still led the team with 10 targets, but losing his usual production didn’t hurt the Broncos. It simply put on display the ability to adapt that is necessary to find success in the NFL.
Add to that Phillip Lindsay continuing to be the Broncos best offensive weapon, and you have the makings of an incredible group of young players. Lindsay runs with vision, he is precise in his movements, and he carries the load for this young team on offense every time they go out on the field.
Couple all this with a solid defense, and it’s impossible not to see big possibilities for the Broncos moving forward.
No, the Lions aren’t world beaters. In fact, the Broncos were supposed to win. After a tough loss to the Chiefs in the snow, and the season being essentially over, Week 16 against a lesser opponent could have resulted in disaster. And with Detroit jumping out to a 10-0 lead early, they could have rolled over and died.
Instead, the Broncos defense shut down a struggling Lions offense, while the young offensive core continued to show growth and maturity on the way to a win.