Andy Reid and I have one thing in common.
We both think Drew Lock plays “big.”
Reid, who gave that compliment during the weekly presser with opposing team’s coaches yesterday, believes the Missouri-native turns things up when the lights go on.
“Certain guys just play big,’’ Reid said. “He is big but he plays big in the pocket. He’s not flinchy at all. He’s got a nice touch. Seems like he has a very nice feel for what they’re asking him to do. And the beautiful thing is he’s getting better with time.’’
A big reason for this, in my humble opinion, is not only Lock’s unflinching self-confidence but his willingness to believe he still has work to do.
Case in point - one of Lock’s favorite parts of playing for the Broncos is the opportunity to meet with John Elway after games and go over his performance.
“It’s been huge for me,” he said. “I think it’s been one of my favorite parts of being able to come in after games and talk to him, kind of just hear what he has to say, what he felt I could’ve done better, what he thought I did well, and stuff to look forward and to do better going into the next week.”
But here is the best part of that.
Lock doesn’t just want some feedback from one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time because he happens to run the franchise he plays for.
He craves the education from Elway.
“Anytime you have a guy like that in your corner, it’s a huge help. And when I say after the game, it’s immediately after the game,” he said. “Me and him right after will talk. Emotions are high, it’s a very real moment for both of us, and it’s been nice to have that feedback and talk right after the game.”
Broncos’ most legendary QB-turned-GM is probably seen as “the boss” to most of the players. He gives them a job, signs their checks and has earned their respect for multiple reasons. But most of these 20- or 30-somethings probably don’t regularly chat him up about their game.
Yet this has been a trend we’ve seen from Lock before. He sought advice from Peyton Manning last season while on IR, even before he was the designated starter. We saw it again during the lockdown this spring when Lock asked Manning for advice on how to navigate leading the team when everyone is separated.
My point is...the kid plays big because he thinks big.
He knows he can improve his game. He believes he can lead the team to big wins. He thinks the Broncos have always been relevant, despite the first three tough losses.
After the Patriots game Sunday he told reporters that while they may have thought the Broncos were “returning to relevance” that was only because they hadn’t been in the building where everyone already believed that.
And Lock said as much again when told of Reid’s compliment on Wednesday.
Lock, whose father Andy played under Reid when he was the offensive line coach at the University of Missouri, has known of and about the Chiefs’ coach through his father his whole life.
So the compliment is meaningful.
But he disagrees with it slightly. He doesn’t see himself as playing bigger when the lights go on. He sees himself as trying to play big all the time.
“It takes a lot of focus in practice. The lights aren’t on and you’re not scoring touchdowns necessarily. But everything you do in practice will come into the light on Sunday and I feel like we practice hard enough and try to be disciplined enough in practice to where we can come out and try to make those big plays,” Lock said. “We’ve seen the looks, we know our plays, we know our scripts. We know everything to be able to go out there and play big and take the shots. We’re confident in the plays that are called and we’re confident in the guys that are around us to try and make those big plays.”
“They’re growing,” Reid added Wednesday about the Broncos’ offense under Lock. “They’re blessed to have good skill people and they’ve got a good quarterback and offensive line. Both John and Vic — they’re football lifers. So they know what it takes to put together a football team. And offensively they have one of my favorites there in Pat Shurmur. I can see his influence on things.”
Lock feels that influence too — and loves it. Shurmur has shown some confidence in the young gunslinger, allowing him to take a lot of shots downfield as Lock likes to do. He especially appreciated Shurmur letting him unload in his first drive of the Patriots game after being out three weeks.
“A lot of coaches will ask you how you want to get back into a game. I’ve been out for a little bit, but I dialed up a nine ball outside, a little alert outside and that was it that was going to be the first ball I threw,” Lock said. “That, in itself, really speaks to me about how much Coach Shurmur knows who I am as a player. A little check down is not going to make me feel warmed up and ready to go, but rearing one back and letting it fly kind of lets me feel out the game a little bit.”
Although no one at Dove Valley is more aware of the current losing streak to the Chiefs than Lock - who of course grew up a Chiefs fan and sees himself kind of like Darth Vader “going to the Dark Side” now - the quarterback is more interested in the Broncos winning a division game rather than worrying about some streak.
“The measuring stick is that it’s a division game. That’s big,” said Lock, adding that it’s always bigger for Broncos Country and possibly even bigger for him since it’s playing the Chiefs. “If you want to look at it from my heart, it might be pretty big too.”
But all those emotions can’t change the way he plays the game, Lock acknowledged.
“It’s just a regular game—go through my reads, try to push us down the field to score points. This is just another week this week. We’re going to come out and prepare the same way, extremely hard, and be ready to go Sunday like it’s any other Sunday.”
Of course it won’t be exactly like “any other Sunday” because division rival games are, as he said, BIG. And a fully healthy Broncos team would have a much better shot at beating the reigning world champs.
But those relevant rivalries are coming. And when they’re played, like Lock, they’ll be big.
In our alternate 2020 universe where all Broncos’ starters are healthy, do they beat this Chiefs team?
This poll is closed
At Mile High? Heck yeah.
Not yet...but it’s going to be a good rivalry soon
What do you mean alternate reality? They’re beating them Sunday! ;)