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Lock, Gordon have a lot to prove against Chargers

Drew Lock needs to bounce back from a poor showing against the Chiefs, and Melvin Gordon would probably like to run all over his former team.

Good morning, Broncos Country!

This week’s contest with another AFC West rival could be exactly what the doctor ordered to get the Broncos back on track.

The Chargers will be without Chris Harris Jr and Derwin James, and Melvin Ingram III has been limited, so if there’s ever a time to take advantage on offense, it is now.

But it will mean Drew Lock and Melvin Gordon III having turnover-free games against the depleted Chargers’ secondary and a not-so-hot run defense.

Gordon, who will be facing his former team, should have something to prove. Although he downplayed that aspect earlier this week, the running back with a reputation for losing the football will surely want to work harder at keeping it in his hands while scampering down field.

“I’m ready to win a game. Not because it’s the Chargers, but because it’s the next team on our schedule,” Gordon said. “We need to do whatever we can to try and rack up some W’s to get in position to get to the playoffs.”

Fine. If Gordon wants to pretend like this is just any other game to him, whatever. Do what works to keep your mind right. But with Phillip Lindsay just coming through concussion protocol, if there’s ever a game for Gordon to shine, this would be the one.

Plus, as Jess Place noted on our newest podcast, Gordon has something to prove to his Denver teammates and fans as well. His running game has been good - but after multiple fumbles in just the first seven games, a DUI, sitting out with strep throat and performing one of the worst flea flickers in the history of the flea flicker, Gordon should want to show Broncos Country that he can be relied upon on the field.

“The guy who fumbles feels the worst in the whole stadium and in the whole world at that point in time. That’s what happens when you try to go out there and make a play. I’m trying to make a play in a sense. I’m trying to help this team win, and I’ll do whatever it takes. I’m a competitor,” Gordon said, noting a lesson Drew Lock has also had to learn - sometimes making one last effort for another yard or another shot down field isn’t the best play because it leads to a costly mistake.

“Sometimes, when you have 3-4 guys on you, you have to be smart and go down. You can’t take on the whole team. I have to be aware of that, and I will,” Gordon said. “I get too caught up sometimes in trying to make the play to get us in a position to be successful, and you kind of lose focus on that. I just have to be aware of both.”

And even if the ground game starts clicking, Lock will need to show that he has both the poise and the smarts to make the right decision with the right play.

Following the blowout loss to the Chiefs in which the young QB threw two pick-sixes and no touchdowns, a lot has been said this week about Lock not always deferring to the risky throw and going through his progressions better.

Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur pointed out that it can take time with young quarterbacks to learn the efficacy of checking down.

“Everybody is fond of saying, ‘Throw the deep ball,’ but there are times when [the defenses] legislate against it and you check the ball down. That’s in all games. Everything is progression driven,” Shurmur said about the fundamentals he’s teaching Lock. “He’s still a very young quarterback, and he will be through this full season. He’s only played in [nine] games. People forget that. All those things are things that you work on through the length of a long career. It’s certainly what we do with him. You want to be aggressive and you want to take advantage of what the defense presents down the field. It’s also important that you get completions.”

No. 3 hinted a little that he’s still battling his natural tendency for the big play in order to do what has to be done to get those completions.

“My whole life I’ve just kind of been a run around, go make plays, kind of guy,” Lock said about his style of play. “When we play a defense like the Chiefs—they played big zones against us and forced me to check it down. ...There were a lot of factors that went into what was going on that game, but they were forcing me to check it down and I wasn’t doing it. I was running around and, in return, forcing balls down field a little bit. It ended up hurting our offense and it took us off the field—I can be a lot better than that and that’s a big goal of mine this week.”

The 2-4 Broncos will host the 2-4 Chargers for the battle of third place in the AFC West. It’s obviously not where either team would like to be right now, but with the Chargers playing hot on offense behind their rookie sensation Justin Herbert, the Broncos’ offense is going to have to prove it’s up to the task as well.

Herbert has thrown 1,542 yards, 12 touchdowns and just three interceptions in five starts and has a 108.1 quarterback rating that currently ranks seventh in the NFL.

Even as the Broncos’ defense can likely cause the rookie some fits, Lock is going to have to be on his game and keep the offense in scoring positions.

“They’re a really talented team. They’re going to fly around and we have to be careful with the ball,” Lock said. “Turnovers are a key point for us this week and we’ll do our best to limit those.”


My favorite poll question - is it going to come down more to Broncos’ offense or Broncos’ defense to get the W this week?

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    Lock and the offense, for sure
    (159 votes)
  • 48%
    It’s going to be the D that keeps Herbert limited and this game in reach
    (151 votes)
310 votes total Vote Now

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